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The Niagra View Mobile
Powered by a 1959 Ford 611 Tractor
by Mark Massey

6 view mobile trailers in red with white stripes and striped sun canopies pulled by a tractor modified to look like a 1950s strealined train engine

In 1959 the Niagara Frontier Transit Inc. of Buffalo, New York designed and built six Viewmobiles for the Niagara Frontier Sightseeing Inc. for use as a sightseeing ride at the Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York.

interior of a manufacturing plant showing 3 men assembling two of the viewmobile trailers, in the back ground is an old style streetcar

The Viewmobile was designed to look like a diesel locomotive train. The locomotive façade was an aluminum shell riveted over a rigid angle iron frame with a fiberglass upper nose.

two men moving a train engined shaped frame in place to have a skin placed over it which would be used to surround a Ford 611 tractor with a train-like body

The power plant for the locomotive façade was a 1959 Ford Select-O-Shift (automatic transmission) tractor. The 1959 Ford model 611 was a stripped down utility model tractor which came standard with the Select-O-Shift transmission and a fixed drawbar. The industrial front end of this tractor had a solid front axle rather than the usual 3 piece adjustable width axle. The running gear of the 1959 Ford Model 611 was also modified to pull the train passenger cars.

interior of a manufacturing plant showing 3 men assembling two of the viewmobile trailers, in the back ground is an old style streetcar, duplicate photo

Each train was capable of carrying 54 adults at approximately ten miles per hour. Each passenger car was equipped with an air suspension and air over a hydraulic brake system actuated by a single train line. The passenger cars were hand built with seats covered in leather over sponge rubber, with a red and white striped canvas canopy for passenger comfort.

3 viewmobile trailers being pulled by the tractor modified to look like a train engine, Niagra falls is in the background

The viewmobile locomotive and passenger cars were painted in a red and cream colored paint scheme; as were the colors of the N.F.T. bus fleet.

The entire viewmobile fabrication and assembly was completed by N.F.T. employees at the NFT Bus Shops located at 1581 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, New York.

The NFT was incorporated in 1950 and was the private predecessor to the current public Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which was formed in 1974 to provide public bus transportation service to both Erie and Niagara Counties, and Light Rail Transit Service on Main Street in Buffalo, New York.

two men moving a train engined shaped frame in place to have a skin placed over it which would be used to surround a Ford 611 tractor with a train-like body, another duplicate photo

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