Picnic Train

AKA World’s Fair Picnic Train
Opened: 9 April 1966
Closed: Pre-1971
Manufactured By: Clark Equipment Company – Battle Creek, Michigan
Ride Capacity: 60 (3 cars of 20 riders each)
Cost: $5,000

Picnic Train in the parking lot in April 1966. Photo courtesy of 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 at the fair, known as the Glide-A-Ride. This was 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.

Advertisement for Greyhound’s transportation options at the World’s Fair, May 1964.

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.

Example of a Greyhound Glide-A-Ride tractor and coach car from nywf64.com.
Example of a Greyhound Glide-A-Ride tractor and coach car from nywf64.com.

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LINKS

Lagoon And The Fair, Part III: The World’s Fair

Pictures of the Greyhound Pavilion, Glide-A-Rides and Escorters

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SOURCES

Bargains – The Great Souvenir Sale. Time, 8 Oct 1965.

Lagoon ad. Deseret News, 24 May 1966.

Fun Way To Picnic. Deseret News, 6 Apr 1966.

Glide-A-Rides. New York World’s Fair 1964/1965, accessed 30 Jul 2013.

Greyhound Escorter. The World’s Fair Community, accessed 30 Jul 2013.

Glide-a-Rides and Tours. New York World’s Fair 1964/1965, accessed 21 Aug 2013.

Erie County Fair. Forgotten Buffalo, accessed 21 Aug 2013.

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