Jeep-Trains Research Archives

Willys Jeep trains and trams were used all over the United States to pull visitors and tour groups through parks and cities. CJ-2As, CJ-3As, CJ-5s and CJ-3Bs

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Postcard of Wisconsin Deer Park on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Here’s another example of a Wisconsin Dells Jeep Train, probably from the mid-1960s.

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“3-1/2 x 5-1/2 (Standard Size) postcard.”

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Originally Posted April of 2017: Seth spotted this postcard depicting a jeep pulling visitor trams at the Wisconsin Deer Park at the Wisconsin Dells. Opened in the 1950s (see history here), the park still operates, but there’s no evidence that the trams are still used, The closest thing to a jeep tram is a kids train.

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1960s(?) Postcard Pete’s Cave “Shepherd of the Hills Farm” on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards • TAGS: .

I don’t think I’ve run across this Jeep-Tram setup. I don’t know much about Shepherd of the Hills Farm, but I did learn that it was a book from 1907 by Harold Bell Wright that became a tourist destination that then played some role in the rise of Branson, Missouri, as a tourist destination.

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“Vintage Postcard of the Farm Tour pulled by an old Army Jeep at Pete’s Cave in Shepherd of the Hills in Branson MO
Size Standard 3 1/2 by 5 1/2
Circa 1960s”

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Chimpanzees and Battery Powered Jeeps

UPDATE: A newspaper article from May 20, 1950, published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, provides more information about the jeep-driving circus chimp.

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Originally Posted January of 2013: This 1950 postcard shows some chimpanzees driving a battery powered jeep.  They were part of a Chimpanzee show at the St. Louis zoo started in 1925. Chimps were taught to ride bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, ponies, a Great Dane, and more. You can learn more about them in the January 8, 1951, issue of Life Magazine.

“VINTAGE POSTCARD – CONDITION: VG. DATE/ERA: 1950s-60s. Standard Size 3.5×5.5.”

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You can view some additional pictures at Jalopy Journal (scroll part way down the page). The quality seems good enough that they may be from Life Magazine, but I tried, but failed to locate their original source. Here is one of the images.


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January 1950 Popular Mechanics Article on Tinkertown

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles, Unusual • TAGS: , , .

UPDATE: Jerry contacted me about a locomotive jeep he would like to restored (see near bottom). He noted that it was used at Tinkertown and found this older post while hoping to learn more. So, this post is a complete redo of an early post that focused just on photos in a January 1950 issue of Popular Mechanics.

It is probably no surprise that the Los Angeles metroplitan area was a hotbed of theme parks and carnivals following World War II. In particular, there was Beverly Park, which is claimed to be the park that stimulated Disney’s interests in theme parks.

One of those carnivals was a traveling kiddie carnival called Tinkertown. Articles show it existed at least from 1950 through 1952, operating in Monrovia, Wilmington, Los Angeles, and other LA area towns.


December 06, 1951, Wilmington Daily Press, Wilmington, California. Tinkertown Kiddie Carnival announcement.

Tinkertown appears to have owned, at one time or another, at least four unusual jeeps. One was a fire jeep made from a CJ-2A, shown below in red.

A second jeep appeared to have been a stretched (probably surplus) WWII jeep made into some kind of fire jeep used to tow a small Ferris wheel.

The article above refers to the jeep as a “fire engine”; perhaps it was modified during WWII? Here’s a better image:


A third jeep-related setup was a train possibly made from a jeep (or jeep-engine-powered at the very least). It is pictured here:


The fourth known jeep was a jeep turned into a locomotive. It’s the one Jerry now owns (along with two of the tram cars), one he’d like to restore. It’s in surprisingly complete condition. He’s hoping to learn more about the manufacturer and/or Tinkertown. Here’s a photo of his train:


Here’s how it looked in 1950:

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Fairchild Gardens Jeep Train Postcard on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Still available.

(05/20/2019) This jeep-train carried visitors through Fairchild Gardens.

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“Postcard Florida CJ-5 Rambler Jeep Fairchild Tropical Garden”

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Jeeps in the Detroit Salt Mines

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles • TAGS: .

I saw a reference to jeeps in Detroit’s salt mines on Facebook. After a some research, I found a few more images. The salt is used exclusively as road de-icer.

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Daytona Beach Trains & Jeeps

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Thanks to Roger Martin for pointing out these series of jeep pics from 1950s Daytona Beach. These were all posted to the Greetings from Daytona Beach Facebook page.

  1. These 1959 photos show Charlie Fogg’s Beach train, which ran a four mile round trip pulling one or more trams. You can see it’s a jeep under that train facade. That might even be a CJ-3B.
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  2. This one looks to be a second version of Mr. Fogg’s beach train:
  3. CJ-3B sporting a dog racing sign:
  4. This ice cream vendor might be a CJ-3A:
  5. Mr. George Tetter, the Ice Cream Man, at Daytona Beach with his CJ-5:
  6. Two 1946 photos of an early jeep (MB/GPW) tram at Daytona Beach:
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Highland Hammock State Park Jeep Trains, Sebring, FL

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

UPDATE: There’s another Hammock State Park postcard on eBay. The original post is from 2013.

“This is a very cool black/white postcard that shows a jeep “Conducted Tour – Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring Florida” It is unused, but has a hand written date of 1955 on the back. It is in excellent condition.”

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Original Post from 2013:
Highlands Hammock State Park ran tour trains from at least 1948 – 1962.  As the first photo shows, they started with a CJ-2A.  It looks like a set of benches on a platform with wheels.  By 1962, the park shifted to CJ-5s.  It also appears they added sides.  I images that was safer.  These are all from the State Archives of Florida.





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More Tour Jeep — Jeep Train Photos

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

Derek Redmond shared some more jeep-train and tour jeep photos he’s uncovered on various sites. Cool stuff!
La Roche-en-Ardenne  Belgium 1980 Spa Belgium


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Postcard from Fantastic Caverns on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: Another postcard with this image is back on eBay.

(08/01/2015) You can learn more about Fantastic Caverns here:

“Springfield Missouri~Jeep & Tram Thru Fantastic Caverns~1960s Postcard”

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Het Nationaal Modelspoor Museum

• CATEGORIES: Willys Wagons • TAGS: .

Netherland’s National Train Museum includes one of the oddest wagons I’ve seen. Thanks to Scott for sharing this photo from Facebook.


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Baraboo Circus Jeep Train Postcard on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: There’s another Baraboo Postcard on eBay.

(08/04/2014) This CJ-5 used to ferry visitors around Baraboo. I visited Barboo about two decades ago, but never saw it. It must have already been gone.

This jeep and tram toured through Baraboo, pointing out various circus sites, including final resting spots in Walnut Hill Cemetery.

This jeep and tram toured through Baraboo, pointing out various circus sites, including final resting spots in Walnut Hill Cemetery.

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Lewis and Clark Cavern Jeep Railway Postcards on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features, Old Images, Postcards • TAGS: .

UPDATE: This was last published in 2012. A couple of the postcards are back on eBay.

Originally published November 10, 2012: The Lewis and Clark Cavern was Montana’s first State Park and is located here. You can read about the history of the caves here.  In 1947 the Montana Standard published an article about the cavern accompanied by the photo and caption below. You can view the entire article in this PDF file.

Here are three postcards related to this Jeep Railway.

1. View all the information on eBay

2. I haven’t seen this one on eBay in a while …

3. View all the information on eBay

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Conch Jeep Train Key West, Florida

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Mark shared this closeup photo of the Jeep Train ‘Engine’.


Original Post — Jan 19, 2013: Here’s a jeep train out of Key West, the ‘world famous ‘Conch Tour Train‘.  You can still find the Conch Tour Trains wandering Key West.  Here’s a picture of one.  It looks to be a CJ-5.  Here’s an article about them.


Vintage Conch Tour Train Pics:  Check out all those shrimp boats in the background. you can just make out the jeep trapped under the shell of the train body.

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,  Picture taken by Barron, Charles.


State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,  Picture taken by Barron, Charles.


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1943 Photo of Jeep Hauling Cargo Car on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

One of the better jeep train photos.

“1943 Press Photo Pvt. Ward directs the jeep carrying cargo and three others. This is an original press photo. 6 –The jee takes on cargo at the loading platform in an air depot. The jeep has only one small trailer. In jeep is Sgt. D. Kelly. of Betava, N.Y. Pvt. Ed. L. Ward, of Kenton, Ohio, directs from the platform, while Pvt. Henry Martion. of Great Falls, Mont, is in the truck on platform. Sgt. M. J. Bacciarina, from Merced, Calif., stands at rear of trailer.Photo measures 9 x 7.25 inches. Photo is dated 08-20-1943.”

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St. Augustine Jeep Train

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards • TAGS: .

Another example of a Jeep Train. This one is from St. Augustine.

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1943 Photo of Jeep Riding the Rails

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old News Articles • TAGS: .

This photo and caption was published in the Toledo Blade, August 13, 1943.


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Postcard of DJ-3A Surrey Pulling a Matching Trailer

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, DJ-3A, Features, Postcards • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay.

This Winter Park Surrey postcard doesn’t pop on eBay very often. It shows a DJ-3A Surrey pulling a matching trailer in Winter Park, Florida.

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Here’s another view of the same combo:


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Arboretum Jeep Train Postcard

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay. Here’s another one of these rare Arcadia Jeep Train postcards.

This postcard depicts how tram visitors used to tour the former Santa Anita ranch of “Lucky Baldwin”, who made millions in silver.  According to the website, “Occupying the heart of the historic Rancho Santa Anita, The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is a unique 127 acre botanical garden and historical site jointly operated by the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and located in the city of Arcadia.”

The park is located here.

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Swiss Inspection Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Willys Trucks • TAGS: , .

Paul spotted this unique Inspection Willys Jeep Truck at Just a Car Guy’s blog. I would guess this was sold as a truck with no bed. What’s odd is the extra cab thing on the top. Looks like it was part of another vehicle.


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1964 Photo of the Last Chancer on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

I’ve got more information about this jeep train called the Last Chancer from Helena, Montana, here.

“Original Vintage Snapshot Photo Jeep Powered The Last Chancer Tourist Steam Train Helena Montana dated 1964. Size is 3.5×5 inches.”

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Train / Allis Chalmers M7 Hickman, NE **Status Unknown*

• CATEGORIES: Features, Unusual • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Was $8500. **Status Unknown**

JAAP correctly noted this was built from an Allis-Chambers M7 Snowcat platform. Here’s  a restoration of a M7 for comparison:

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Here is your opportunity to get a great piece of American ingenuity and history. This is a one of a kind train built back in the 1950’s by hand. I do not know anything of the man that built it but believe he must have had some railroad experience or a great understanding of how a train operates on the tracks. The train is built with front suspension that allows it to turn with the tracks along with allowing it to float into the turns with the spring suspension. The rear of the train is designed with the same setup. The drivetrain is built of a war time 1944 Willys Jeep. It has the L-head 134.2 cubic inch inline 4 cylinder Go Devil Engine. Followed up with a T-84 3 speed transmission. The transmission has what looks to be a custom transmission brake on it for slowing the train. The transmission is followed up by a shortened drive shaft to a narrowed rear-end to which came from the same jeep. 
The motor spins free and everything looks to be in place as well as the transmission shifting. I have not tried to start it. Last time it was reported to be ran is when it was parked about 20 years ago. The rest of the train is built with a stout frame and a beautifully done engine cover hand formed from numerous sheets of skins to give it a period correct look of its time. The head light is from a 1941 Chevrolet car. 

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1945 Ethyl Corporation Ad on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: This is back on eBay

“Original 1945 Vintage Ad Ethyl Corporation Gasoline Curtiss Commando Plane,Jeep,Navy Boat.
In very good condition, measuring approximately 8″ x 10.5″ and is ready for framing.
Comes in a protective plastic covering with a backing board to protect from bending.”

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1966 Jeep Train Postcard on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Features, Postcards • TAGS: .

Looks like a CJ-5 is underneath the train-looking body. The photo is from Manhattan, Kansas. The train is a Deibler Trackless Train.

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1962 Shelburne Museum Map Jeep Train Brochure on eBay

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

You might remember that Ann and I visited the Shelburne Museum in June of 2013. According to this brochure, they used to have a jeep-train (which they called the museum barge). I’ll do some searches for more photos.

One here: Shelburne Museum Map on eBay
A second map here: Shelburne Museum Map on eBay


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