Picnic Train

Picnic Train in the parking lot. Photo: Deseret News

The Picnic Train was a trackless tram originally used for transportation at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Greyhound operated a large fleet of the trams, known as the Glide-A-Ride, in addition to their smaller Escorter vehicles, which could be rented individually by the hour. The Glide-A-Ride trains were made by Clark Equipment Company, a manufacturer that specialized in forklifts, tractors and other machinery for industrial or construction use. The tram also had a sound system used for “lectured tours” of the attractions located along some routes. The vehicles served a great need for transporting visitors around the large fairgrounds. They often appear in photos of the fair and model toys of the trains became popular souvenirs of the fair. After the fair ended in 1965, Greyhound sold them all off for $5,000 each. An article in Time Magazine states that 62 trains were sold to 29 different buyers. One example is the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York where Glide-A-Rides were used until 2001.

Lagoon bought a Glide-A-Ride train and put it to use the following season to help guests carrying their meals and picnic supplies between the parking lot and the picnic terraces. This was just a year after the park opened its first Wild Mouse, a coaster from the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. There was no admission fee to Lagoon at the time and rides on the Picnic Train were free of charge. Lagoon had built a handful of new picnic terraces in 1965 and ’66, but there were far less then there are today. I don’t know how long it was in use, but an exhaustive list of attractions in a 1971 brochure does not list the Picnic Train. I have yet come across anything to show what paths it traveled or what became of it.

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