RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

 

Todd's Railfan Guide to Miniature Trains
DEPARTMENT STORE, BOARDWALK, and OTHER TRAINS
 

In General
Asbury Park NJ
Atlanta GA
Grand Rapids MI
Kemah TX
Newark NJ
Philadelphia PA
Point Pleasant Beach NJ
Rochester NY
Santa Cruz CA
Syracuse NY

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In General

This page covers the numerous Park Like Trains around the U.S., which could be found on boardwalks, in department stores, or even at places like the ranch owned by the owner of Taco Bell, who has his own miniature railroad!  If we make an attempt to include all of the park trains of yesteryear, this page may never be complete!  If you have any additional information, please check out my contact page here.

  A Louden Monorail

About the Louden Monorails.... this info comes by way of Darrel Babuk and the Babuk Report.  The Louden Machinery Company of Fairfield, Iowa was a late 19th century leader in the invention and manufacture of farm equipment.  A hay bale stacking machine was one of the company’s first patents; one can still find plan books that describe standard “Louden” barn configurations.  One of their inventions was for a sliding barn door assembly.  Looking at this particular invention in abstract terms: it allowed a heavy object to be suspended off of rollers that glided on a rail… use a bit of imagination, a couple machinery parts and something capable of accommodating people and voila! – one has a type of overhead monorail system that can convey passengers.

After the Second World War, the Louden Company put all of these together and started manufacturing a child sized “kiddie monorail” that was snapped up by large, urban department stores to be a prominent feature in their toy department.  Kind of like a toy train one could ride.  Apparently, there were more than two dozen kiddie monorails installed.  Aside from the installation at Sears in Chicago, I know of others at the Kresge store in Newark NJ, at Wanamaker's in Philadelphia PA, Herpolsheimer's in Grand Rapids MI, at the Midtown Plaza in Rochester NY, and at the Meier and Frank Store in Portland OR.  This latter example being the last installation to operate.  They must have been absolutely thrilling!

I guess we don't do anything like this anymore because of lawyers and our great American system of liability and suing.  :-(

Acknowledgements:
Denver Todd
Darrel Babuk   http://babuk.com/?p=483

Websites and other additional information sources of interest:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpolsheimer%27s
http://woodtv.com/2014/12/09/downtown-gr-christmas-decorations-invoke-nostalgia/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1upr8ML7psw&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD8FDl4UOxs

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1EODB_enUS584&biw=1366&bih=637&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=0IhXWvzBOM3YzwKK0qjQAQ&q=Herpolsheimer%27s+Department+store+Christmas+Train&oq=Herpolsheimer%27s+Department+store+Christmas+Train&gs_l=psy-ab.12...574492.584161.0.590765.15.15.0.0.0.0.236.2098.1j13j1.15.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.ogDcaHOx9Fs


Asbury Park NJ - Boardwalk Train





Atlanta GA - Department Store Train













Grand Rapids MI - Herpolsheimer's Department Store



A kid sized monorail that ran around the ceiling of the bottom floor of Herpolsheimer's Department store in Grand Rapids.  The train was repainted a number of times after it's installation.  The train is now saved in the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Denver Todd remembers riding this train around 1950!  As cool as growing up in New York City was, we never had anything quite like this, as long as you don't count riding the subway system for 15 cents!









Kemah TX - Kemah Boardwalk Train

More pictures at: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/41495455
http://www.kemahboardwalk.com/

  2012, photo by Yogi

2012, photo by Scott & Carol



Philadelphia PA - Wanamaker Department Store







Point Pleasant Beach NJ - "Boardwalk Train"

Dated May 31, 2009: There was once a little railway in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, called the Beach Train.  The two-foot gauge track was laid in the sand, parallel to the boardwalk.  The railway opened in 1949. It served both as a gentle amusement ride and as transportation between the two Jenkinson's units. Both round trip and one-way tickets were sold.  The trains took riders the half mile from Jenkinson's Pavilion to Manasquan Inlet.  I rode it when I was a kid.  I remember being puzzled at the three-rail main line, and I remember the fun of riding a little train along the beach.  Years later I rode it again with my own little kid.  The Beach Train was down to a single track two-rail main, and a tenth of a mile had been cut from the north end after housing was constructed at the inlet.  But it still had the same trains, now in their last years.

Track plans are not available, but the basic plan was a main line parallel to the boardwalk with a loop at each end. The Inlet station was on the north loop. The Pavilion station however was located on a single track extending past the south loop. Trains had to back out a short distance past the siding switch, and then run forward into the south loop to turn.

The Beach Train's last run was on Saturday, August 31, 1996.  After that, the train was sold and it ended up in private hands. J R May wrote late in 2008 in The Two Footers, a periodical for narrow gauge enthusiasts: I have now joined the ranks of two-foot gauge ownership with my recent purchase of the "remains" of the Jenkinson's Beach Train which ran on the beach here in Point Pleasant, NJ for nearly 50 years. I rode many times as a kid and even collected tickets on it and ran it back in the 1977 summer season. The more complete of the two locomotives is here in my garage in Wall, NJ, and the four cars and second locomotive are down in South Jersey with my 3' gauge Porter.

Most of this came from: http://warofyesterday.blogspot.com/2009/05/beach-train.html, an excellent accounting of the railroad!



 

 







Rochester NY - Midtown Plaza's Christmas Monorail

  from The Monorail Society



Santa Cruz CA - Boardwalk Train





Syracuse NY - E.W. Edwards Department Store





Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, myindexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Please be NICE!!!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

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NEW 01/11/2018
Last Modified 12-Jan-2018