Monday, August 04, 2008

Disneyland in focus: The Viewliner

Today’s focus is 100% Viewliner—a few recycled photos and a few new ones. First shot shows the concept art by Sam McKim from 1957; stylistically, it is easy to see that this train of the future paved the way for the Monorail, right down to the color scheme. Billed as the fastest miniature train, the Viewliner was modeled after General Motors’ Aerotrain. Neither the Viewliner or the Aerotrain lasted long; the Viewliner was retired within a year of its debut on June 26, 1957 and the Aerotrain (which provided a fairly uncomfortable ride) after a decade. Today, the Aerotrain has found a new generation of fans through model trains. But I digress...shot #2 shows a proud Walt at the controls and a lucky Mouse-eared guest.

There were 2 Viewliners: Tomorrowland (Red) & Fantasyland (Blue). Here are 2 shots of the Tomorrowland Viewliner Station:

Over in Fantasyland, the Viewliner Station was situated near the Junior & Midget Autopia:

OK, I said 100%, but hopefully Viewliner fans won’t mind if I sneak in these 2 extra detail shots showing both Midget & Junior Autopia areas:

This shot shows the Fantasyland Viewliner cruising through Tomorrowland:

The Viewliner actually ran alongside the Disneyland Railroad at certain points in the journey, as can be seen in this image:

Here are a few more Viewliner shots to round out today’s post:

...and a detail shot:

The Viewliner made its figure-8 trip around the park in September 1958 to make way for the Monorail. See more vintage Viewliner photos at my regular website.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

WOW, I am loving this post! Your "in focus" posts are like a chapter from a great book! Thanks Dave! That concept art is SUPER!

Major Pepperidge said...

Man, those are some wonderful, rare shots! And that is probably one of the best photos of the Fantasyland Viewliner Station that I have seen. I like how it is a combination of salmon and blue, just like the two trains.

Unknown said...


Fantastic post!

I do wonder how long the Viewliner might have lasted if there had been no monorail (the horrors!).

It is interesting to see how many early Tomorrowland and Fantasyland attractions were duplicated since they were so popular. Especially the Autopia rides.

Daveland said...

George: Autopia was almost as popular as POTC! Who knew?!? And the Viewliner probably would have lasted at least another 5-7 years had the Monorail not been spotted by Walt on one of his overseas trips. He was definitely an agent of change.

Thufer said...

wow. no; more like WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
that is amazing and please feel free to do that at anytime. just a pleasure to look at.

pixiegirltink said...

I bet that kid still remembers that moment with Walt Disney. What a lucky boy!

Great post as usual Dave. Thanks!!

The Viewliner Limited said...

Great Viewliner Pics Dave.

Heidi Ann said...

I was so excited to find this post, and I can't wait to show it to my husband when he comes home! I just recently watched "An Adventure In The Magic Kingdom", (which I had recorded back when the Disney Channel still had good stuff on), and I was thrilled to see a fair little amount of footage of this train during the program! I am loving reading all of this vintage Disneyland stuff, and all of your great pictures!

Daveland said...

Heidi Ann - Welcome to my blog - glad you enjoyed it! I also enjoyed checking out all the retro images on yours!