Kennywood offers sneak peek at Thomas Town
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.
Meet Gordon, James, Emily and Percy! pic.twitter.com/Riia4Roxi5— Kennywood Park (@Kenny_Kangaroo) June 19, 2018
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.
Harold from Sodor's rescue team will take guests for a whirly ride in the skies! pic.twitter.com/4If3jLuuaB— Kennywood Park (@Kenny_Kangaroo) June 19, 2018
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.
These tracks wil house the devious diesel engines, where they'll take guests for a spin! pic.twitter.com/xi27krvoCa— Kennywood Park (@Kenny_Kangaroo) June 19, 2018
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 email@example.com and on Twitter at @bc_trib.