Trains at Louisville Zoo expected to reopen by next spring - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Trains at Louisville Zoo expected to reopen by next spring

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By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A popular attraction at the Louisville Zoo is expected to reopen by next spring.

Zoo officials anticipate reopening the train rides by 2012. The park has three trains. In 2009, one of them derailed, injuring 22 people. The other two have not been used, since then. A state report by investigators discovered the train was going too fast, it was in poor condition, and the driver did not have enough training.

"You don't expect something like that to happen on a small ride," Randy Micell said. Micell has been going to the zoo for 25 years.

Louisville Zoo Director, John Walczak, said they plan to buy three new trains from the same company. Walczak said they will sell the two trains that were not part of the accident to help pay for the new ones. He said it will cost more than $900,000 for three new trains. On top of that, authorities said it will cost thousands more to repair part of the train track.

"The community has talked to us and they've spoken to us and said they miss the train," Walczak said.

When the ride is reopened, Walczak said there will be a big difference. "The new train will have two operators. There will be an engineer on the front and the conductor in the back of the train. The conductor in the back will also have a break button," he said.

Walczak said they want to make sure visitor's know they put people's safety first.

"We want to do everything we can to make sure the train is {a} very fun ride and has every possible safety consideration implemented," he said.

Lawsuits against the city, the zoo, and the manufacturer of the train have been consolidated into one. According to Bill Patteson, Public Information Officer with the Jefferson County Attorney's office, said a hearing date has not been set.

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