Silvermine remnants at Bobbejaanland removed after 20 years

The Silvermine completely gutted
The emptied Silvermine tunnel (© Hoogmartens Wegenbouw)

Bobbejaanland was the home to a semi-dark ride train ride called Texas Train. The train stopped operating in 2000, leaving most of the ride standing, but not operating. This included the two-part decorated tunnel: the Silvermine and Time Tunnel. The dark ride scenes had been sitting unused backstage at Bobbejaanland for over 20 years. The park has decided to clear out the building and remove the still left intact dark ride sections. Photos on the Facebook page of Belgium contracting company Hoogmartens Wegenbouw show the former pebble floor has been asphalted, so that the building can now be used for general storage purposes.

Preparation for the asphalting (© Hoogmartens Wegenbouw)

When the Texas Train opened back in 1976, it was one of the park’s first rides. It did not yet include any dark ride sections but did ride past Western inspired decors featuring static characters and featured two stations across the park. In 1982, the park wanted to construct a shelter for the trains, but could not create a sheltered side track. They decided to build a tunnel on the backside of the track’s loop and add scenery that would serve as a dark ride part: the “Silvermine”. It served as an expansion to the outdoor theming and consisted of animatronic mine workers and Native Americans, supplied by the German company Heimotion. Part of the mine featured fluorescent lighting.

The decor of the Silvermine (© Harrie Mangels via Bobbejaanland Nostalgie)

Later in 1985, the building was expanded and made roughly twice the size. This new portion was be decorated in an entirely different sci-fi theme and received the name “Time Tunnel”. Mirrors, disco balls and strange, faceless static figures, supplied by the little-known company Line Lite Intern could be viewed here.

In 1991, the outdoor Western decor would make space for Indiana River and sadly by 1995 a large portion including one station of the Texas Train route had been removed. Finally in 2000, the ride was put out of commission, leaving the Silvermine, Time Tunnel and one train inside. Once in a while, a character or two would be taken out of the building and re-used elsewhere in the park, proving the decor was kept intact.

The entrance to the Time Tunnel closed off backstage (© Dark Ride Database)

The track of the train, that run in a loop around the Indiana River, was kept until the 2020 season. The landscape around Indiana River was revamped, which prompted the removal of most of the track, ensuring the Texas Train would never ride again. A sign of thing to come, as now the Silvermine and Time Tunnel, which had been standing abandoned for a longer amount of time than they were part of the Texas Train for, are part of history as well.