Fast Chat with Jacob Wiens

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If you ride Disneyland’s narrow gauge railroad with Engine Number 1 or Engine Number 4 at the lead, take a good look at the paint job on that recently refurbished steam locomotive. Jacob Wiens from Reedley (Calif.) MB Church is the painter on a team that did the restoration. Twenty-three-year-old Jacob wiped the paint and solvent off his hands and picked up the phone for a Fast Chat interview with Kathy Heinrichs Wiest.

 

What is it like to work for Disney?

They want everything to look perfect—a complete restoration from the ground up. Most steam trains are greasy and dirty, but Disney's are show pieces. When we deliver it we stay at the Disneyland Hotel and there's a little handing-over ceremony.

How do you do a restoration?

Eight or nine of us work together. We'll tear the engine down and label everything with its own part number. We take pictures of it from every angle so it goes right back where it was. I do all the body work. Every part is evaluated to see how worn out it is, and I have to make it smooth like plastic.

Where does Disneyland get their trains?

Some had a life before they came to Disneyland, like a logger or something. The last train we did was one Walt built himself for Disneyland. He was a huge train lover.

Is there something Christians could learn from the train-loving community?

The older guys are always ready to help you learn. They want to pass down the knowledge to the next generation. And people like my boss always refer back to what the previous generation have passed down to him.

What is your current project?

We're building locomotives and cars for a pirate-themed train for a resort. When it's done we'll all go down to Trinidad and lay the 1,500 feet of track.

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This article is part of the CL Archives. Articles published between August 2017 and July 2008 were posted on a previous website and are archived here for your convenience. We have also posted occasional articles published prior to 2008 as part of the archive. To report a problem with the archived article, please contact the CL editor at editor@usmb.org.

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