Novelty Monorails - Santa's Village's Bumble Bee
by David B. Simons Jr.
Originally appeared in the Winter 1996 issue of MONORAIL Newsletter...
High in the San Bernadino Mountains of California, in the tiny
town of Skyforest (what better name for a town with a monorail?)
is a children's amusement park named Santa's Village. Winding
among the thirteen themed rides at Santa's Village is the Bumble
Bee Monorail. While this small suspended system is essentially
unremarkable from a technical standpoint, historically it is a
wellspring of interest.
Support lines matched those of surrounding trees.
Constructed in 1962 by American Crane & Hoist, this system
was the test-bed for the larger-scale suspended monorail at the
1964-655 New York World's Fair. While the World Fair system's
seven two-car trains could easily accommodate far more passengers
on one train than could be carried on all six of Santa's cars,
the AMF-built system loses in the "visually interesting"
category to the 'Bee, which easily earns a place in this column.
Author Dave takes his final ride on the Bumble Bee.
Santa's Village has four-passenger monorail cars happily swinging
from their roughly one thousand feet of overhead track. Far more
interesting is that the cars are designed and painted to look
like bumble bees, complete with black and yellow stripes and bulging
eyes. Unfortunately, the slowly flapping wings were ditched long
ago because of poor reliability, not to mention clearance problems
from the maturing trees along the right-of-way. For the $27,000
invested, this family owned amusement park has easily gotten its
value out of this thirty three year old monorail.
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