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Kennywood offers sneak peek at Thomas Town

| Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 2:33 p.m.
Thomas the Tank Engine's friends Percy (from right), Emily, James and Gordon rest in a maintenance area awaiting their move to the new Thomas Town addition at Kennywood Park on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The engines will be part of a live action show called 'Steel City Adventures' at Tidmouth Sheds.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Thomas the Tank Engine's friends Percy (from right), Emily, James and Gordon rest in a maintenance area awaiting their move to the new Thomas Town addition at Kennywood Park on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The engines will be part of a live action show called 'Steel City Adventures' at Tidmouth Sheds.
Marie Ruby, director of ride operations, talks about the new Thomas Town area in Kennywood Park  during a media tour Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Kennywood officials did not offer an opening date for the new addition, but said it is scheduled for sometime this summer.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Marie Ruby, director of ride operations, talks about the new Thomas Town area in Kennywood Park during a media tour Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Kennywood officials did not offer an opening date for the new addition, but said it is scheduled for sometime this summer.
Marie Ruby, director of ride operations, talks about a new ride—Harold's Helicopter Tour—in what will be the new Thomas Town area in Kennywood Park  during a media tour Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Kennywood officials did not offer an opening date for the new addition, but said it is scheduled for sometime this summer.
Marie Ruby, director of ride operations, talks about a new ride—Harold's Helicopter Tour—in what will be the new Thomas Town area in Kennywood Park during a media tour Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Kennywood officials did not offer an opening date for the new addition, but said it is scheduled for sometime this summer.
Chris Salerno, director of sales and marketing, talks about the new Thomas Town addition to Kennywood Park during a media tour Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Kennywood officials could not offer an opening date, but said the addition is expected to open this summer.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Chris Salerno, director of sales and marketing, talks about the new Thomas Town addition to Kennywood Park during a media tour Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Kennywood officials could not offer an opening date, but said the addition is expected to open this summer.
Harold’s Helicopter Tour, pictured from the Edaville Family Theme Park near Boston, is one of four new rides to be added to Kennywood Park's Thomas Town area for the 2018 season. This Dumbo-style ride features helicopters that move on their own. The rides are the same as those at the country’s only other Thomas Town inside the Edaville Family Theme Park, but will be “unique to Kennywood,” Paradise said.
Kennywood Park
Harold’s Helicopter Tour, pictured from the Edaville Family Theme Park near Boston, is one of four new rides to be added to Kennywood Park's Thomas Town area for the 2018 season. This Dumbo-style ride features helicopters that move on their own. The rides are the same as those at the country’s only other Thomas Town inside the Edaville Family Theme Park, but will be “unique to Kennywood,” Paradise said.
Diesel Drivers, pictured from the Edaville Family Theme Park near Boston, is one of four new rides to be added to Kennywood Park's Thomas Town area for the 2018 season. Passengers can ride aboard Diesel, Iron Bert and other Diesel engines on a track ride. The rides are the same as those at the country’s only other Thomas Town inside the Edaville Family Theme Park, but will be “unique to Kennywood,” Paradise said.
Diesel Drivers, pictured from the Edaville Family Theme Park near Boston, is one of four new rides to be added to Kennywood Park's Thomas Town area for the 2018 season. Passengers can ride aboard Diesel, Iron Bert and other Diesel engines on a track ride. The rides are the same as those at the country’s only other Thomas Town inside the Edaville Family Theme Park, but will be “unique to Kennywood,” Paradise said.
Thomas Town at Kennywood Park will feature a live-action show — 'Steel City Adventures' — at the Island of Sodor's Tidmouth Sheds, which will look like the one pictured from the Edaville Family Theme Park near Boston. The show will include Thomas' friends Gordon, James, Emily, Percy and Sir Topham Hatt as they take spectators on a journey explaining how Thomas and friends arrived in Pittsburgh. The staging area is the same as that at the country’s only other Thomas Town inside the Edaville Family Theme Park; the show will be unique to Kennywood Paradise said.
Kennywood Park
Thomas Town at Kennywood Park will feature a live-action show — 'Steel City Adventures' — at the Island of Sodor's Tidmouth Sheds, which will look like the one pictured from the Edaville Family Theme Park near Boston. The show will include Thomas' friends Gordon, James, Emily, Percy and Sir Topham Hatt as they take spectators on a journey explaining how Thomas and friends arrived in Pittsburgh. The staging area is the same as that at the country’s only other Thomas Town inside the Edaville Family Theme Park; the show will be unique to Kennywood Paradise said.

It's beginning to look a lot like the Island of Sodor at Kennywood Park.

Officials with the West Mifflin amusement park on Tuesday offered a hard hat tour of construction taking place at the $8.5 million addition dubbed Thomas Town.

Thomas the Tank Engine and his railroad pals will join Kennywood this summer — as the park celebrates its 120th anniversary.

Park officials say they couldn't offer an opening date of the addition that is nestled between Raging Rapids and Auto Race.

"Soon," says Chris Salerno, the park's director of sales and marketing. Park leaders initially hoped for a June opening.

The addition includes four new themed rides and a revamped train ride.

Salerno adds Thomas Town is "one of the largest capital improvements in recent years" to the park. Kennywood added swinging ride Black Widow in 2012 and the Sky Rocket roller coaster in 2010.

The park has yet to officially announce what will replace Log Jammer, which closed at the end of the 2017 season.

Inside Thomas Town, guests can ride Cranky's Drop Tower, Harold's Helicopter Tour, Flynn's Fire Training and Diesel Drivers.

The themed area also will include a birthday party center, indoor soft-play and activity area that will offer a jungle gym-like experience, and will feature an area for kids to tinker with train and track pieces and watch clips from "Thomas & Friends."

The seven-minute train ride will weave stories and songs from the popular children's show and eventually include themed display pieces.

Since its 1945 debut, the train has undergone multiple theme changes, and for the past 10 years it celebrated the storied history of Kennywood, which dates to 1898 as a trolley park. Some of the signs depicting Kennywood's history will be placed throughout the park.

The park's two 1939 Gimbels Flyer engines will remain and be outfitted with character designs. Train cars will be painted to match.

A live-action show titled "Steel City Adventures" will feature Tidmouth Sheds and four of Thomas' friends: Percy, James, Gordon and Emily, along with Sir Topham Hatt, who serves as the controller of the railway in the show.

Guests will enter the show and train ride from inside a train yard, says Marie Ruby, the director of ride operations.

Salerno says the new area "marks another milestone in our rich history" that began as a trolley park in the late 1800s.

Bobby Cherry is a Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at rcherry@tribweb.com and on Twitter at @bc_trib.

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