Houston, formerly known as "The Black Train", was originally built as a coal fired locomotive for the short lived Busch Gardens Houston in 1971. Houston is modeled after the early english locomotives widely used in Asia during the 19th century and is the only custom themed 24" gauge locomotive Crown ever produced. Houston was delivered with 4 custom themed Crown Metal products "Fancy" coaches constructed of steel.
Houston's themeing actually conceals a typical looking Crown Locomotive like Merriweather and The Green Train, but with the styling added over it. Busch Gardens Houston officially closed in 1973 but the grounds and birds remained open through the mid 1970s. Unlike Merriweather and the Green Train, Houston did not receive a rebuilt tender, but only the addition of a propane fuel tank and conversion to burn propane.
The exact date and year Houston was sold to Lagoon and placed into service on The Wild Kingdom Train is unknown, but it is believed to be around 1975. It is also unknown why when Houston was repainted in 1979 he was given the No. 3 on the Cab.
Paint Schemes of Houston
Unknown - Unknown: Yellow and red with blue and purple coaches.
Unknown - Unknown: Blue with blue and yellow coaches.
1979 - 2005: Black and gold with orange, red, and white coaches.
2006 - Present: Blue, red, and gold with blue, red, and gold coaches.