Saturday, August 22, 2015

Arrow Trams!

While writing Building Disney's Dream I came a cross a handful of references to Arrow having done the parking lot trams for Disneyland and Walt Disney World as well as propane powered trams for Yosemite National Park. Since that time several more references and images have surfaced;

About 1973 Arrow published a four page supplement to Amusement Business magazine that contained this image of one of their trams.

This image was taken during tracking tests. While testing a 5 tram train, the last unit tracked within 5 inches of the first unit with *no* adjustments to the steering setup.
Chassis Development

With this larger view it's not difficult to tell where these images were taken; Arrow's facility at 1555 Plymouth which also shared an address at 520 Huff.
Loading for Shipment
 Here we see a whole fleet of trams getting ready to leave for Orlando.

Ready to Roll

This shot illustrates the similarities to the more recent WDW trams;

WDW Trams

and we'll close with a close-up at the double wishbone suspension of Arrow's chassis;

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rainbow Express at CrayolaLand?

Sometimes its fun to speculate on what might have been.

Here is an image from an Arrow Dynamics brochure illustrating a roller coaster vehicle concept for what we can only speculate may have been for a Children's Coaster at somewhere called CrayolaLand.

Arrow Dynamics Rainbow Express

Saturday, August 15, 2015

1986 Arrow History and Ride List

As Arrow was emerging from the bankruptcy reorganization in 1986 they published a list of attractions they had "gone around in." This was probably intended to reassure the public and former business partners that Arrow was still alive and kicking.

14 Standard Corkscrews, 7 Launched Loops, 12 Custom Coasters, 6 Standard Loop Coasters, 2 Suspended Coasters, 2 Steeplechases, 12 Runaway Trains, 2 Special Coasters, 52 Flume Rides, 2 Shoot-the-Chutes, 8 Merry-Go-Rounds, 5 Space Whirls, 4 Rub-a-Dubs, 8 Dark Rides, 2 Magic Rooms, 47 Special Systems, 53 Antique Cars and 25 Sports Car attractions.

Over 260 ride systems in America, Europe, Japan and China.
The story and list was impressive then and still is today. 
Look closely, and you'll find some surprises.

Many Thanks to Shane Huish for sharing his archive of Arrow documents and materials.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

1959 was a Very Good Year for Arrow

By late 1959, Arrow's star was definitely on the rise. The November 30th Issue of Billboard Magazine featured two ads and a story that give significant clues as to just how well things were going, with at least half a million dollars in orders; All told, there were;

4 - Dark Rides
2 - Electronically guided trackless trains (Danny the Dragon)
9 - 19th Century Mine Trains
40 - Freeway Cars
30 - Cadillac 1911 Cars
4 - Ford Cars
4 - Maxwell Cars
68 - Tramway Ride Buckets

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF - Arrow Development Company will deliver approximately $500,000 worth of original theme rides to Freedomland, Inc., New York, by the first of the year, Walter B. Schulze, Arrow Secretary-Treasurer said.

The company has purchased three and one-half acres for a new plant that will centralize operations and speed the production on orders for spring delivery for nearly every important park in the nation.

Arrow is now making four dark rides, one of which will be two-story; two electronically guided trackless trains, two 19th Century Mine Trains, 40 streamlined freeway cars, 30 Cadillac 1911 cars, 68 tramway ride buckets, one 72-passenger circular turntable spinning top ride and other devices still in the planning stage.

Schulze said that the steel strike had been anticipated and construction of the rides was started late in the summer. A majority of the dark car rides, Cadillacs and trains for Freedomland will be delivered late this year in anticipation of the July 1 opening.

Other rides on order include a 19th Century Electric Mine Train with 10 ore cars, gags and sound effects for the Santa Cruz Seaside Company, Santa Cruz, Calif. four Ford and Maxwell antique cars and a 19th Century Mine Train with excursion type coaches for Adventure Land Atlanta, and five electric trains with a mine type theme for Knotts Berry Farm, Buena Park Calif.

Also on the work schedule are modernization of dark rides by Arrow for Riverview Park, Chicago and Coney Island, Cincinnati.

Ads in Billboard touted Gas Light Village as having grossed $24,000 in 56 days with 8 Arrow Antique gasoline cars and 850,000 riders in the last two seasons at Knott’s Berry Farm, using the "original contact shoes.”on the electric tracked auto ride.

Another add stated; 

New rides now building for Freedomland, N.Y. Additionally, Arrow is pleased to announce that mechanical devices developed by Arrow for Disneyland; Turntable ride, 2-story dark ride, etc., are now available to Arrow customers for the use with completely new ride themes.