All Aboard the Mine Train!
The Big Thunder Mining Company’s main building lies on the riverbank right across from Big Thunder Island. To enter, we pass over a small wooden bridge, past a water tower and dormant wooden wagons. At the edge of the building, an old water wheel creaks as it makes its rounds.
After walking around an old horse winch, we follow the hoof-prints into the building. We have plenty of time to admire the rusty steam-powered machinery that appears to be await getting back into service at any moment. In the flickering light we can see a number of tools hanging on the wooden walls. Signs warn us of the use of fire-arms or explain the proper use of mining signals.
We walk past the cluttered Assay Office where ore samples await examination among heaps of instruments and reference literature. Through the open windows we can catch a good glimpse of the mountain which we’ll soon get to explore by train. On the other side of the building we can admire a huge array of iron tools and machinery. A display case of wanted posters issued by the sheriff of Thunder Mesa warns of local law-breakers.
Eventually we walk down the narrow staircase to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad station. One platform lies next to a series of ore chutes while the other, built into the red rock formations, offers another view of the river and Big Thunder Isle on the other side. A miner shows us to our seats.
“Hey les amis ! Gardez bien les mains et les bras à l’intérieur du wagonnet et restez toujours assis ! Et accrochez-vous à votre chapeau et à vos lunettes, car cette randonnée promet d’être la plus dingue dans l’ouest !”
“Howdy folks! Please keep your hands and arms inside the train and remain seated at all times! Now then… hang on to them hats and glasses, ‘cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”
At these words, the train starts to move and accelerate and with a haunting whistle we’re racing down into the dark old tunnel that will hopefully carry us safely over to the island…