350 and counting
Chance Morgan has been making CP Huntington trains for almost 50 years. The Wichita, Kansas, ride manufacturer turns out between five and 10 of the people-movers every year, and this summer it put the finishing touches to number 350. Park World toasts a stalwart park attraction.
“The Memphis Zoo received the 350th CP Huntingon” discloses Chance Morgan CEO, Dick Chance. “CP Huntingtons numbers 351 and 352 will be delivered to Herman Park, a city park in Houston, Texas.”
Chance Morgan’s most popular product ever was first built by the company’s predecessor, Chance Manufacturing Co, in 1960. “Number one was delivered to Joyland right here in Wichita,” recalls Chance. “Harold Chance, my dad, once said ‘If I can do 10 CP Huntingtons I’ll be happy.’ In 1962 the St Louis Zoo decided they wanted a train to attract more people and increase their revenue. They bought five CP Huntingtons, the biggest order we ever had. That put us on the map for zoo business and now almost every major zoo in North America has one, and also many overseas.”
The original CP Huntington steam locomotive was built for the Central Pacific Railroad in 1863 by Danforth, Cooke & Company of Paterson, New Jersey, and named in honour of Collis P Huntington, the third president of the Southern Pacific Company. Used on the construction of the transcontinental railroad, it ended its career as a weed burner, clearing the track, but was remembered fondly. From 1894 on the CP Huntington became a symbol of Southern Pacific and was widely known from its many appearances in station openings and other railroad-related celebrations. Chance’s model is a smaller but fairly accurate replica of this historic locomotive.
“Trains have great longevity and timeless appeal,” muses Dick Chance. “We are now at number 350 and counting. My dad built them through his career, I built them through my career, and hopefully my son Michael will continue to build them through his career.”
Also in the people-moving category, five Tramstar low floor trams were due to be completed recently for delivery to the San Diego Wild Animal Park in California, a new amusement park in Aquascalientes, Mexico, and the State Fair of Texas.
Elsewhere in the vast Chance Morgan factory workers were busy this summer bending part of the 2,800 feet of track required for a Mine Train coaster destined for the Hard Rock Park, opening in 2008. The Mine Train and a Junior Coaster are two rides being manufactured by Chance Morgan under license from Vekoma for the park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Chance Morgan’s carousel business is spinning, too. This year it also already delivered a 36ft carousel to ill-fated Wild West World in nearby Park City, Kansas. On the factory floor when Park World visited and ready for shipping to SeaWorld Orlando were many of the 65 marine life figures for the park’s new 50ft custom themed Aquatic Carousel. The finished carousel includes exotic fish, otters, sharks, dolphins and sea lions, all topped by a 45ft-wide pink octopus. By the end of the year, Chance Morgan will have delivered a total of 10 carousels to venues across America, and also Mexico.