Friday, August 28, 2015

Viewliner and Station, 1957

I love the humble and lovable little Disneyland and Santa Fe Viewliner - the fastest miniature train in the world! There were two of them running on a single track; the salmon-colored train that used a station in Tomorrowland, and the icy blue train seen in this photo, which is sitting at the station in Fantasyland. 

The Junior Autopia is below us (along with a roadway that circled Holiday Hill - no Matterhorn yet). If you look carefully you can see some motor boats to the right, along with its load area to the left (notice the life preserver on the front of the building). It's always fun to be able to see the land beyond the berm... I'd wager that Disney owns that empty land that stretches all the way to those houses in the distance.

You don't see photos of the Fantasyland Viewliner station very often, so I zoomed in for a better look; it is pretty minimal as structures go, but it gets the job done. I love the color scheme. There are entrance and exit ramps for strollers and wheelchairs, which is unusual for its day. 

Is that a phone booth next to that fence? If Clark Kent happened to be there that day, it's nice to know that he had a place to change into his Superman "disguise".

Our photographer pivoted to the right a bit for a better look at the Autopia. I thought I might be able to merge the first picture with this one for a nice panorama, but it didn't work at all! Not even close.


K. Martinez said...

Nice clean view of the Fantasyland Viewliner boarding in its station. The Viewliner signage reminds me of the "land" banner labels on the old Disneyland maps.

The Junior Autopia sure didn't look that big or complex a layout. None of the other Disney auto rides ever beat the intertwined cloverleaf design of the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland Autopias of 1959 in my opinion. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


Love the Santa Ana Freeway with the Harbor Boulevard overpass so prominently displayed in this first view. And, yes, that is an "unthemed" pay station. So, as you say, Clark Kent can perform his presto-chango maneuver.

And in the last image, there appears to be a guy watering something (well, let's hope so) just beyond the Viewliner tracks.

Great images of a very young Disneyland. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I always marvel at just how barren Tomorrowland's landscaping was even two years into its history. Of course, it makes sense that vegetation would be stunted in 1986 due to the fallout from all of the atomic wars. Just ask Doc Brown.

Tom said...

Viewliner! Great views, great content, great timing! So much promise and potential there in all of that barren, sparsely-used space. Love seeing any pics involving the Viewliner because of the scarcity, if not for the coolness of the train itself.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, it is true, the Tomorrowland Autopia has always had the best layout. It’s funny, whenever I drive past the famous “stack”, where four freeways cross each other (four levels high) in Los Angeles, I think of the Autopia.

Nanook, seeing Anaheim the way it was in the 50’s is pretty amazing. It’s not much of a city at that point! Even the freeway looks small.

Chuck, I am also amazed at how undeveloped some of the areas outside the berm remained for up to a decade. You’ll still see empty fields into the 1960’s, which seems incredible.

Tom, just wait, I have even better photos of the Viewliner coming up! I just composed the post last night.

Matthew said...

Holy smokes Major these are wonderful shots! Let's take a closer look at the last one. I love that you can see the "rapids" of the motor boat cruise to the far left and who knew it had so many wonderful little islands? Now looking down the Viewliner track we can see what appears to be a "Gardner/Maintenance" Cast Member watering near the hill. You can also see two more Cast Members (one near the retaining wall below him and the other near the Viewliner bridge). There is another Cast Member who appears to be sitting on a box near the red car making that right turn on the curve. Finally, what also caught my attention was at how little there was to see on the Motor Boat Cruise. There could have been lots of potential but there appears to be nothing. Now, with that said, I did notice something below the tree on the far right. I cannot tell if that is a wagon or just shade. Major, do you have any idea? OH and one last thing... I see a yellow fire hydrant in the lower right hand corner. Good to know that the future is safe in case of nuclear attack. This also helps contribute to Matterhorn's post on August 25, and perhaps his new series, the fire hydrants of Disneyland. (Here is where good ol' #6 is located

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Major Pepperidge said...

Matthew, all of those details you mentioned are part of the reason that I thought that these photos were so neat. Never mind the Viewliner! It is fun to see all of the cast members doing their thing. That guy is definitely spritzing some plants with a hose. As for the Motor Boat Cruise, don’t forget that it was brand new in 1957, and like much of the early park, the landscaping had not had time to mature. I don’t think that there is a wagon by that tree, but even at a higher resolution it is hard to tell. The yellow fire hydrant seems to be unusual, as all the others I have ever seen have been red. I’m glad you liked these!

Matthew said...

Thanks Major for following up on my post and checking out what might be below that tree. Don't grow weary of well doing... which includes sharing really cool pictures on your blog.

Matt, AKA Amazon Belle

Anonymous said...

I've always been confused by the Viewliner. Two trains, two stations, one track. You said each train stops only at it's own station? So, did they just run through the other station without stopping? Sounds weird. It is/was a cool little train, but not a patch on the monorail.

Anyway, I missed all of this by not being born sooner. All my fault, clearly.

At this early stage in Disneyland, having maintenance going on during open hours seems to be ok. It seems like now, the only staff activity we see is related to running the show or 'constant contact' stuff like trash sweeping.

There was a blogger with the handle "Viewliner" who wrote about trains, not just Disneyland. He hasn't posted for a long time. Does anyone know if he is ok? Hope he isn't ill or worse, maybe just bored or out of material.


Major Pepperidge said...

Matthew, it was no problem at all! When readers notice little details like that, I enjoy checking them out myself. I'm always amazed at how much I would miss otherwise.

JG, I do believe that the red/pink train only stopped in Tomorrowland, and the blue train only stopped in Fantasyland, but can't say for sure. They definitely ran both trains at once, because I have several photos showing them both running. Including one or two from this same lot. And I am always amazed at how often you can see maintenance going on in old photos, since I'd been led to believe that Walt would consider this "bad show". I certainly remember the blogger named "Viewliner", and have not heard from him in a long time. I might still have his email address, and if I do, I am definitely going to send him a message and hope he replies.