I posted an article a couple of weeks ago (here) that showed the Metro Monorail being removed from Six Flags Magic Mountain after sitting idle for ten years. Each train was hoisted from the guideway, secured onto a flatbed truck, and then hauled away into the night. Nobody really knew where they were going. Some diehard monorail fans were still holding out hope that they were being sent out to be rebuilt and that Six Flags was going to put them back into service one day. Others speculated they were being sold as parts to another company who had the same monorail, and others figured they may have been sold for scrap. Fortunately, the mystery has now been solved.
After a very long journey, through some very adverse weather, the former Metro Monorail has arrived safe and sound at its new home at Hersheypark, in Hershey, Pennsylvania:
Hersheypark has an identical, or at least very similar, monorail built in 1969 by the same manufacturer, Universal Mobility. Since that company went out of business long ago, I suspect that parts are few and far between. And when it comes to adding a new train, forget about it. Unless, of course, you can find some used ones that can be picked up dirt cheap. That’s where Six Flags Magic Mountain comes in.
Hersheypark sent a team out to California last year to see what Magic Mountain had. After some negotiating, they struck a deal with Six Flags to take almost everything. For under $100,000, they got all three trains, all the spare parts, the fiberglass molds, the roller storage tracks, the small work car, and one section of track – the rotary switch. That price also included shipping, which ended up being more than they paid for everything else. The rotary switch will actually stay in place until Magic Mountain removes the rest of the guideway, but there is no ETA on that yet. Hersheypark had wanted to buy the entire guideway as well, but a cost analysis pegged that at around $1M by the time they cut it all out and shipped it back east. They figure it will be cheaper to simply build their own.
Hersheypark’s monorail only has two stations, but one of them is no longer used. The second station was a stop at their chocolate factory for the tours, but they started using a simulated tour in 1973 and the monorail station was no longer needed. Today, their monorail is purely used as a ride, taking guests on a loop through the park and returning to the exact same place they started. Over the next couple of years, two of the former Six Flags trains will be completely refurbished and put into regular use. I’m guessing the third train will be used for parts. Hersheypark has been contemplating expanding their monorail and using it to move guests around the park, but there are no solid plans as of yet. I’m sure once they double their capacity with four working trains, they may take a more serious look at expanding their system.
As sad as it may be, I hope this information once and for all puts to rest the speculation of the monorail ever returning to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Now then, what can Six Flags Magic Mountain install to help people get around the park easier…