New train ready; other changes ahead at Bay Beach

Bay Beach train

GREEN BAY – Bay Beach Amusement Park opens for the season this weekend, and if you go, you’ll notice one big change.

The newly donated locomotive and train cars will be giving rides around the park.

“We had to widen the track out a quarter inch in the straight-a-ways and a half inch in the turns,” said Dan Emmel, a Bay Beach mechanic. “The turns are quite a bit bigger too to accommodate the bigger wheel base on these trains.”

The tracks also had to be moved to accommodate for a new west end train route. Construction will start in a few weeks. The traditional Bay Beach trains will ride the new route. The new donated trains will run the old route.

“A lot of work coming up,” said Emmel. “It's going to change the park quite a bit.”

The new train's capacity is six fewer riders compared to the old trains. It is also slower on the track.

“Little harder on the turns, looks a heck of a lot cooler and more nostalgia looking,” said Emmel.

Besides the work on the new train route, construction will also start in a few weeks on two new rides: The Tot Jumping Spring Ride and Rockin' Tug.

“We started the plans on that and started basic construction on it,” said Jason Arnoldi, the manager of Bay Beach. “The regular construction will start a little bit later in the summer.”

When that construction starts, it could mean a closure of the slide.

“When we start the main part of the construction, put in the two new rides and the west end train track, then we have to move the slide so at that point it may be down for a little bit, but here at the beginning of the summer it'll be up and running,” said Arnoldi.

It all makes for a mostly normal opening weekend, with summer construction in sight.

“We'd just like to hit the ground running and get a good crowd and get everybody back outside,” said Arnoldi.

There are more plans beyond this summer. The Falling Star ride, which will overlook the bay, is expected to be ready in 2016.