Imagination Station Kids On Track/Trackless Train For Children

Submitted to Community Café

Hello folks,
Imagination Station Kids On Track is a model railroad & train safety program based in Helena, Montana. This train program has been around for 33 years and over 6.7 million children have been through it in that time. We set up model railroad displays at children's homes, children's hospitals, schools, state agencies, churches, fairs and train shows.
We allow children to actually run the trains and accessories on our 30 to 100 foot layouts, not just watch the trains. We recently took on a project of building a trackless train for children to ride on. We didn't realize how expensive this project would be but we wanted something special for children to do after the pandemic was over. We intend to take the train across the west coast and northwest areas and allow children to ride it free of charge at some events. Some events would be charged to pay for the train, maintenance and upkeep, plus transportation, hotels, fuel and food. Kids who can't afford it always ride free.
The train was custom built and painted with Rust-Oleum Safety Colors. (Works on metal, plastics and wood)
Safety Red, Safety Blue, Safety Yellow, Safety White and Gloss Black. The purple car that you see in the photos was painted with a different manufacturers paint but it did not come out as well as we had hoped. The black and white on the purple car are still Rust-Oleum.
All the cars have vinyl seats, anti-tip devices x 2 per car, PA system, stereo system, seat belts, 2000 lb capacity per car, color changing interior lights, safety tape and rubber mats on the floors. Also there is a whistle and bell and triple headlights on the locomotive, plus a strobe light on the caboose and locomotive as well. The locomotive power is an ex-Dixon garden/lawn tractor with a 26 horsepower Kawasaki engine. The locomotive has been built with an extra alternator system, disc brakes, external fuse blocks, on/off power control switches, liftable body and many other features.
The train also has double safety chains between each car and the cars and the engine. The train is to be put into service for children this summer, if the pandemic allows it to run. If not, it will have to wait another year before operation. CDC allows children to ride but not for parents and the public to wait in line together.
Rust-Oleum paint was used on this train because of the brilliant shiny, bright colors that kids like to see, its smooth application and it's durability. We have already received a ton of compliments from the public on the shininess, durability and bright colors that we normally never get to see in today's world.
It really shows up well in the sunlight and we know the public will really enjoy the bright colors. I have personally been using Rust-Oleum paint in general my whole life to repaint train models, ships, airplanes, woodworking projects, doll houses, fences and now a real train ride. I have always been happy with the long lasting quality, durability and great look that Rust-Oleum paint offers. One thing I love about this company is the fact that they stand behind their products, if there is an issue.
Check out the train photos and I think you'll agree that they speak volumes by themselves.
This two-year project was worth every minute and dollar put into it and it will be a pleasure to see children riding on it in the future!
A lot of volunteers, kids and businesses contributed to its completion and as mentioned before, I keep getting a ton of compliments on the beauty of the paint.
Some folks are even saying that the train looks like metal but it's actually constructed of wood and metal but mostly wood.
Our design engineer made the comment that he couldn't believe how smooth and even the oil based paint went on without running, especially the black for the undercarriage and drawbars. The paint came in 1 gallon cans and application was very easy and even though dry time was a little longer than we would have liked with it being an oil based paint, it was worth it in the long run.
After talking to the corporate office, we figured we would post this information here for the public to see what Rust-Oleum Safety Colors actually look like. We also painted our white fence to keep kids away from the arriving and departing train with Rust-Oleum and it came out nice and shiny and durable as well.
After using this product on this train ride and the fence, I would never go to any other manufacturer's product.
These Safety Colors are available at both Home Depot and Lowe's as well as a few other places. They are fantastic oil based paint products and worth every dime you spend on them.
You will need a little extra patience for painting, clean up with mineral spirits & dry time but due to its longevity, durability and easy repair, it's worth it the end as it will last almost indefinitely, if cared for properly. It's one of the most beautiful paints I've ever used with a deep rich shine and believe me when I say, you will not be disappointed!
Ken
Imagination Station Kids On Track Model Railroad And Train Safety Program (TM)
Imagination Station Trackless Train Ride For Children