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A Music Express is an amusement ride based on the original Caterpillar rides of Germany. Several near-identical ride designs are also produced by other companies; Musik Express by Italian company Bertazzon and US Majestic Rides, Himalaya by American company Wisdom Rides, German company Mack, and French company Reverchon, and Silver Streak by Wisdom Rides. This ride is a modern adaption of the famous Harry Traver Caterpillar rides.
Design and operation
The ride features twenty 3-passenger cars connected in a circle. These cars rotate on a track with alternating sloped and flat sections. Rotation is possible in both a backward and forward direction, as the ride is manually operated. The ride is powered by 4 DC motors, and can reach a maximum speed of 12 revolutions per minute. (Certain older models have a hydraulic tire/rim drive and they have a tendency to go faster).
The riders in each car are restrained by a single solid lap bar that is locked across the body of the car, making the ride unsuitable for young children or people of short stature. The bar must be manually locked or unlocked, and only locks in one position. Lights and music are also controlled by the operator, which (as the name suggests) contribute heavily to the ride experience. After a certain amount of rotations or minutes, the ride operator will be alerted by the control box that the speed is going to increase, usually by a light on the box. At that time the operator will speak on a microphone asking the riders if they would like to go faster. Sometimes the ride operator can do this earlier than the alert light to built suspense. After a minute or two of faster speed, the ride will then slow down, and the operator can then ask the riders if they would like to go backwards. The speed up element is then repeated again only done in reverse. The Most parks and carnivals require all riders to be at least 42 inches or even taller, depending on circumstances and ride design.
Most Musik Expresses are built with a backdrop dividing the rear third of the ride from the front two-thirds. This backdrop, normally covered in artwork and lights, and providing a mild headchopper-like effect as the riders enter and exit the rear section. As this blocks lines of sight, additional staff are required to safely supervise this ride in operation.
More common in Europe than the US, some Music Express rides have a canopy that the operator can cover the ride while in operation, very much like the old caterpillar rides.
At Kennywood Park's and Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom's Musik Express, written above are the words "Mit Musik Geht Alles Besser", which translated from German reads, "With Music Everything Goes Better."
The variant used in fairs across Hawaii feature Murals of several famous artists, such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, the logo of The Rolling Stones, and several other musicians.
- Bertazzon Musik Express
- No major variations from Mack Rides version.
- Majestic Manufacturing Musik Express
- 14 cars, hydraulic locking system, increased top RPM.
- Wisdom Rides Himalaya
- 22 cars.
- Mack Rides Himalaya
- Music Express, Diskothek
- Reverchon Himalaya
- Original Himalaya ride design, only can go up to 12rpms in the U.S. More about the Reverchon Himalaya at: .
- Wisdom Rides Silver Streak
- 16 cars, smaller height difference, multiple lapbar positions.
- SDC Amor Express
- Billed as "The Love Machine", circa late 70s, with hydraulic drive and has canopy very much like the original caterpillar rides. Not many found in US anymore but they still can be found in European fair circuits and parks.
- The letter following the operating park or show, indicates the manufacturer and model of the ride:
- Himalaya at Parque de la Ciudad (R)
- Australia – Tango Train at Luna Park Sydney, Raupen Bahn Love Express owned by TPA shows and a Love Express owned by O'Neill's Shows. In the early days of its appearance at Luna Park (early 1980s) the riders were covered with a material canopy which was then briskly removed mid-ride.
- "Musik Express", Playland Vancouver, B.C. (Ma)
- "Musik Express", World's Finest Shows, Ontario (M)
- Musik Express, Campbell Amusements, Ontario (M)
- "Silver Streak", Conklin Super Shows, Ontario (W)
- "Polar Express" formerly Heartbreak Express (Super Himalaya), Carter Shows Ltd.(Ma)
- Italy – Mirabilandia
- United Kingdom – Gulliver's Land Braintree fair Superbob (a snow themed music express)
- United States
- Himalaya at Adventureland, Altoona, IA
- Music Express at Jenkinson's South Amusement Park Point Pleasant,NJ (Ma)
- Himalaya at Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville, Kentucky (R)
- Musik Express at Hersheypark (Doesn't go backwards),
- "Musik Express" at Indiana Beach (Ma)
- "Musik Express" at Conneaut Lake Park Conneaut Lake, PA (M)
- "Musik Express" at Morey's Piers (B),
- "Musik Express" at Gillians Wonderland Pier Ocean City, NJ (B)
- "Musik Express" at Kennywood Park (Ma),
- "Musik Express" at Six Flags Great Adventure,
- "Musik Express" at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom,
- "Musik Express" at Adventureland (New York)
- Music Express with Rock-n-Roll theme at Seabreeze Amusement Park, Rochester, NY. (B)
- Music Express with Rock-n-Roll theme (Ma) at Quassy Amusement Park, Middlebury, Connecticut.
- Musik Express at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, New Orleans, LA.
- Musik Express at Six Flags Great Adventure No longer in use as of 2008, scrap for parts(Ma)
- Super Cat at Valleyfair (ST)
- Musik Express at James E Strates Midways,
- Atom Smasher at Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Rock & Roll at Bowcraft Amusement Park
- Music Express with Rock-n-Roll theme owned by Gillette Shows (B)
- Musik Express at Casino Pier Destroyed by hurricane Sandy (B)
- "Musik Express" at Cliff's Amusement Park (Ma)
- Hip-Hop Himalaya, Coney Island, independently operated. (B).
- Cannonball Express, The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom (B).
- Trade Winds, Busch Gardens Williamsburg (R).
- 2 Super Himalaya's owned by Wade Shows (R) & (W)
- "HitIn2000" owned by Wade Shows (Ma).
- "Himalaya" owned by Oscars Amusements (R)
- "Super Himalaya" at Cedar Point Sandusky, OH (Ma)
- "Himalaya" owned by North American Midway Entertainment otherwise known as N.A.M.E..
- "Musik Express" with Hurricane theme at Jolly Roger at the Pier Ocean City, MD. (B)
- "Himalaya" at Trimper's Amusement Park, Ocean City, MD. (R)
- "Thunderbolt" at Funtown Splashtown USA (C)
- "Swiss Bobs" themed Matterhorn at Palace Playland
- "Matterhorn" themed Safari Stampede Jungle Jack's Landing (B)
- "Musik Express" at Waldameer Park, Erie,PA (B)
- "Musik Express" owned by Reithoffer Shows (M)
- Media related to Music Express at Wikimedia Commons