Built new in 2001 and fully rebuilt in 2011 by Texas Bells and Whistles, Sophie was designed to reflect the locomotives of the 1870s-1880s era when railroads were busy building our country across the wild frontier. Railroads then were regarded as magical and powerful and the locomotives they used projected opulence and power with graceful, gleaming architectural lines showcasing their mechanical motion. Ken's favorites such as the William Mason No. 25 (now in the B&O Railroad museum) and the Virgina and Truckee's Inyo (now in the Nevada State Railroad museum) served as the major inspiration for Sophie's look.
Sophie was originally built with a gasoline-hydraulic drive that Ken felt distracted from the graceful appeal of the steam locomotives she represented, so in 2011 the loud and smelly gas motor drive was completely removed and replaced with an entirely new lithium-iron-phosphate battery-electric drive that was smoother, stronger, more reliable, and most of all -- awesome. Now Sophie is high-tech, quiet, and clean and fools many into thinking she really does run on steam.
She's a fantastic little locomotive to watch and hear as she pulls loads of passengers around the park -- so come on out and see for yourself!
"There's no hot exhaust!"
"There's no smell!"
"I can't hear a motor!"
"Is this a real steam engine?"