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The horses were harnessed in two pairs, the driver 
being mounted on one of the rear pair. As far as can be 
seen from the red crayon drawing of the locomotive by 
J. H. Maronier, a copy of an illustration in Die Kinder- 
schuhe der neuen Verkehrsmittel by F. M. Feldhaus, 
the traces were attached to the railings which sur- 
rounded the treadmill. 

The locomotive, which had a metal frame, might be 
described as a 2-2-0. The driving wheels were large — 
something like 8 ft. in diameter — ^and the leading wheels 
smaller. Both axles had leaf-spring suspension. 

A second man was carried on a rear platform, and 
presumably worked the brakes, as the drawing shows an 
elaborate system of brake blocks and actuating mechan- 
ism. In the best traditions, the locomotive was named; 
the name chosen being Impulsoria. A machine of this 
type, probably Impulsoria itself, was shown in Berlin 
in 1853. 

The author has no further particulars of this machine, 
but the drawing suggests that the locomotive must have 
been very heavy, and it would seem that a good deal 
of the effort of the horses must have been expended in 
moving the machine itself. 

Now for the horse which built — or almost built — 
a railway. 

The inhabitants of Easingwold were offered the 
whole of the winnings, for one year, of a well-known 
racing mare, "Alice Hawthorn", in the year 1845. The 
offer was made by John Plummer, of New Parks, 
owner of the mare, and was subject to the promise of 
the inhabitants to build a railway from Easingwold to 
connect with the Great North of England Railway. 

It must be almost unknown for a horse, in effect, to 
have been responsible for the funds to build a railway 
— ^but in fact the short line concerned was not built 
until forty-six years later! 

How did the horses behave when steam engines, 

33 c 


professor Karl iieinrid? Rau 



JTlr. pbilo pai<on~ 

, or DcrnoiT 



Snowden of London, who, in 1824, took out a patent 
for a manually propelled railway car, later suggesting 
that the working of such cars would give "ample 
employment for all industrious labourers throughout 
the country". 

This same Mr. Snowden produced a design for a 
horse treiadmill car on a special track of its own. This 
enormous contraption was described in the Register of 
Arts for 14 January 1826. It combined a rack with the 
guide-rail system — ^from the "unusual'* point of view 
it thus had nearly everything. 

A track was to be laid with broad flat surfaces to take 
the wheels of a large carriage. Between the "rails" would 
be a trench, boarded over except for a central slot. On 
each side of the trench would be fixed a vertical rack 
rail, with the teeth on the inside edges, pointing towards 
the middle of the trench. Two vertical spindles passing 
through the slot from the front and rear of the carriage 
would have horizontal toothed wheels engaging in the 
rack, one on one side and one on the other, and so 
drive the carriage along. A reversing mechanism was 
included in the drive. Snowden proposed that the 
vertical spindles should be driven either by a steam 
engine or a horse treadmill. There would be a large 
circular platform on which two horses would walk 
round and round. Each horse would push against a 
yoke which, attached to the end of a bar, would turn a 
toothed wheel, 12 ft. in diameter, situated underneath 
the platform. This great wheel would engage two 3-ft. 
gear wheels, one on each of the vertical spindles driving 
the horizontal wheels below the track. 

The horse platform would have been at least 16 ft. in 
diameter, so the gauge of this railway would have been 
very wide. Above the horse platform would have been 
a fixed circular platform for passengers, reached by a 
curved staircase at one end of the vehicle. Luggage 
would be carried in the centre of the horse platform, as 



the horses would use only a strip round the perimeter. 
The carriage would have weighed between six and seven 
tons, and Snowden calculated that it could be moved 
at about 10 m.p.h. 

A remarkable feature was that the whole super- 
structure was to have been mounted on a cross-axle, 
and was designed to be tilted backwards and forwards 
by a screw mechanism to keep the platform level as 
the carriage went up and down hills. An attendant was 
to ride on the vehicle for the express purpose of work- 
ing the screw mechanism. It seems probable that this 
refinement was due to the need to keep the tread-mill 
platform level to get the best work from the horses 
rather than for the comfort of the passengers. 

As a tail-piece to the story of the horse on railways 
— and only a little of it has been told here — ^it is worth 
telling how a grey horse defeated a locomotive one 
August day in 1830, on the Baltimore and Ohio. 

The locomotive was an experimental one built by 
Peter Cooper, a New York ironmaster. It was the 
first American-built locomotive to be operated on a 
common-carrier railway in the United States, and was 
called the Tom Thumb. The engine made its first trip, 
from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills and back, on 25 Aug- 
ust 1830, drawing a car with about 30 passengers on 
board, including many of the directors of the line. A 
speed of 15 m.p.h. was kept up without slackening for 
the sharp curves, and there was no trouble on the 
gradients. Edward Hungerford relates that "some 
excited gentlemen of the party when the train was at 
its highest speed" — 18 m.p.h. — "pulled out their mem- 
orandum books and wrote some connected sentences 
just to show, apparently, that such a thing was humanly 

The appearance of Tom Thumb is well known. It had 
an upright tubular boiler feeding a single 3i-in. dia- 
meter cylinder. There were only four wheels, driven 






By the same author: 







A.M.Iiist.T., ASSOCLR.S.E. 






"Xransportatfon bound by the dorstel press ltd., harlow 




Cofiyrighi © i960 John R. Day 





























facing page 

Experimental horse locomotive, the Flying 

Dutchman 32 

Experimental sail car 32 

T. S. Brandreth's horse locomotive Cycloped . 32 
The race in 1830 between Tom Thumb and one of 

Stockton & Stokes's Horse-Cars ... 33 
Steinheil's four-horse locomotive Impulsoria . 33 
Reconstruction of a horse locomotive on the 

Baltimore & Ohio 48 

Reconstruction of a Baltimore & Ohio sailcar . 48 
The Enos Electric monorail system, about 1887 49 
The St. Paul experimental monorail in South 

Park (1887) 49 

Gibbs & Hill Inc. proposal for a split-rail sus- 
pended monorail system .... 64 
The experimental suspended monorail at Ueno, 

Tokyo 64 

The Monorail Inc. "Skyway" monorail line in 

Dallas 65 

Monorail Inc. experimental supported monorail 

car ....•••. OD 
The monorail train proposed by the St. Louis 

Car Company 80 

The Northrop "Gyro-Glide" monorail . . 80 
The Davino Suspended Rapid Transit System . 81 
Andraud's suspended atmospheric monorail in 

France (1846) 81 

Side view and cross-section of Meigs monorail 

car •••.•••. ji^o 
The Meigs monorail at East Cambridge in the 

1880s 96 



facing page 
Locomotive on the Feurs-Panissieres Lartigue 

monorail line, 1894 97 

The original locomotive on the Bradford & 

Foster Brook Railway .... 97 
Locomotive for the Bradford & Foster Brook 

Railway 97 

Artist's impression of a Lartigue line as it might 

have been 112 

The "Magnesium Monorail" in the Califomian 

desert 112 

Part of the beam track of the Alweg experimental 

Une at Cologne-Fiihlingen . . . .113 
Alweg supported monorail train on the trial track 113 
The Lockheed monorail line being built in Seattle 113 
A standard gearbox drive Mono-Rail industrial 

car crossing a Mono-Rail bridge . . .144 
Station on the "moving track" designed by Ing. 

Vittorio Immirzi 144 

Part of scale model of Carveyor system . . 144 
Car ascending the steepest section of the lower 

incline of the Great Orme Railway . . 145 
Cars passing on the Great Orme Railway . . 145 
Aerobus for the proposed Milan t^l^pherique . 160 
Articulated wheeled triangular frames used in 

eariy Talgo experiments . . . .160 
Rear view of American-built, Spanish-designed 

Talgo train 160 

End of a section of a Talgo train as used in Spain 160 
Rear view of the origmal Spanish-built Talgo 

train 161 

The "Fair-Field" railway steam carriage . . 161 
The "Jet-GUde" railway, running in ice channels 176 
The latest Hastings proposal for a standard- 
gauge Ughtweight railway system . . .176 
One of the Geoghegan narrow-gauge steam loco- 
motives at the Guinness Brewery, Dublin . 177 



facing page 
Narrow-gauge Geoghegan locomotive mounted 

in a "haulage wagon" for broad-gauge track . 177 
Brussels Post Office railway . . . .192 
Ice locomotive built by Nathaniel Grew for 

service on Russian lakes . . . .193 
The Snort track at Inyokem China Lake, Cali- 
fornia 193 


The Tunis overhead balanced monorail . . 101 
Alweg train, side elevation and plan . . 109 
The proposed Air-Rail route to London Airport 123 
Vehicle proposed for the Air-Rail monorail line 

to London Airport 125 

Cross-section of Air-Rail vehicle at wheelbox . 127 
Kuch "Guided-Road" system, showing track 

profile using rubber tyres on concrete "rails" 131 
Vehicles for the Kuch "Guided-Road" system 

(Leitschienenbahn) 133 

Carveyor system 145 

How the Talgo "chain of triangles" acts on a 

curve 171 

The arrangement of a double-deck car on the 

Hastings lightweight standard-gauge system . 195 



THE author acknowledges with grateful thanks the 
assistance with information or photographs given 
to him in gathering material for this book. His 
particular thanks are due to Mr. W. H. T. Holden 
of Pasadena, U.S.A., who has taken an interest in this 
book from its inception, as has Mr. Brian Reed, who 
put his extensive personal Ubrary of railway and 
engineering books at the author's disposal, and also 
Mr. B. G. Wilson, co-author of Unusual Railways. 

Others to whom thanks are due are: Mr. Robin 
Allen-Smith; Mr. V. Barron of Road Machines (Sales) 
Limited; Dr. F. F. de Bruijn, Director, Nederiands 
Spoorweg Museum; the City Engineer, Municipal 
Corporation of Haifa; Mr. B. K. Cooper; Mr. A. V. 
Cottam, EngUsh Electric Co. Ltd.; Mr. Al Davino of 
Los Angeles; the Directeur d' Administration des Postes, 
Brussels, Belgium; Mr. R. H. Dodds, Gibbs & Hill, 
Inc., New York; Miss Lois Fawcett, Minnesota 
Historical Society; Senor Jesus de la Fuente, Spanish 
National Railways; Miss Margaret Haford, Librarian, 
U.S. Information Service, London; Mr. Joseph Har- 
rington, New York City Transit Authority; Senator 
John A. Hastings; Mr. Toshio luchi. Transportation 
Bureau, Tokyo; Miss Thelma Jackson, Los Angeles 
Public Library; Mr. Charies E. Keevil, Equipment 
Engineer, Chicago Transit Authority; Mr. Warren W. 
Kenn, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation; Mr. Charies F. 
Klapper, Editor, Modern Transport; Miss Irene F. 
Knapton, Saint Paul Public Library, Minnesota; Mr. 
Charles H. Latham, Bradford, Pennsylvania; the Lenin 
Library, Moscow; Mr. Robert W. Little, Akron Public 
Library, Akron, Ohio; Mr. John G. Lowe, Air-Rail 



Limited; Mr. Leslie A. Luke, Arthur Guinness Son & 
Co. (Dublin) Ltd.; Mr. L. C. Mitchell, Jr., Monorail 
Inc., Houston, Texas; Mr. Jesse Mock, Electrical 
World, New York; Miss Cornelia Murphy, City of 
Cambridge Public Library, Massachusetts; Mr. Ralph 
H. Phelps, Director, Engineering Societies Library, 
New York; Mr. H. T. Pledge, Keeper, Science Museum 
Library; Captain Price, Richard SutclifFe Limited (for 
Stephens- Adamson Mfg. Co.); the PubUc Relations 
& Publicity Officer, Southern Region, British Railways; 
Mr. WiUiam H. Reinholz, Los Altos, California; Mr. 
Edward Rider, New York City Transit Authority; 
Mr. E. Rockwell; Mr. Lawrence W. Sagle, Baltimore & 
Ohio Raihoad Company; Monsieur J. Salin, Redacteur 
en Chef, La Vie du Rail; Mr. W. Smither, Otis Elevator 
Co., Ltd.; Mr. G. H. Sturtevant, American Potash & 
Chemical Corporation, Los Angeles; Mr. H. A. Val- 
lance; Mr. A. N. Wolstenholme; Mr. E. C. Wrausmann, 
St. Louis Car Company, St. Louis, Missouri; Mr. B. E. 
Young, Southern Railway System, Washington, D.C. 

The author's thanks are also due to his wife, who 
typed out notes and rough drafts and gave general 

Photographs and drawings are acknowledged in- 
dividually where they appear in the book* 



WHEN I was asked by Mr. J. C. Reynolds, of 
Frederick Muller Limited, to write a sequel to 
Unusual Railways I had grave doubts as to 
whether there were enough unusual railways about 
which information could be obtained. Mr. Wilson and 
I had dug deeply into the history of such schemes when 
we were writing the earlier book. 

More Unusual Railways has therefore bein a research 
project rather than just a book, but in these days when 
new transport methods are being advocated in con- 
siderable numbers, especially for urban transport, it is 
perhaps a good thing that it should have been done. 

Every endeavour has been made to achieve accuracy, 
and, where possible, contemporary accounts have been 
used. Where these accounts dijQfer, as they too often do, 
I have used my judgement as to which account seems 
the most probable. 

If some of the schemes in this book are a little re- 
moved from the general conception of railways, most 
of them have recognizable railway characteristics — and 
we are, after all, discussing unusual railways. 

Enfield John R. Day 

August 1959 




IN 1676, writing on a visit by Lord Guildford, his 
brother, to Newcastle, Roger North recorded: 
"When men have pieces of ground between the 
colliery and the river, tiiey sell leave to load coals over 
the ground, and so dear, that the owner of a rood of 
ground will expect £20 per annum for this leave. The 
manner of the carriage is by laying rails of timber from 
the colliery down to the river exactly straight and 
parallel, and bulky carts are made with four rowlets 
fitting tiiese rails, whereby the carriage is so easy, that 
one horse will draw four or five chaldrons of coals, and 
is of immense benefit to the coal merchants." 

With these two factors, the rail and the horse, the 
great days of railways began. From the day it was 
shown that the horse could pull several times as much 
on rails as it could on the road, the railways never 
looked back. From that point followed the early "steam- 
horse", destined to be improved practically beyond 
recognition and only today being pushed aside by other 
forms of motive power. 

At the Carmarthenshire slate quarries belongmg to 
Lord Penrhyn, where there was considerable traffic, 
the experiment of flattening the hitherto rounded 
"edge" rails, and of flattening the hitherto grooved 
treads of the wheels, seems to have been made in the 
late 18th century. The effect of this change is recorded 
as enabling two horses to draw a train weighing 
24 tons. 

On 21 May 1801, the Surrey Iron Railway was 

17 B 


One particular feature of this monorail system would 
be the automatic control under which the trains would 
nm. As with the Alweg system, when originally ex- 
pounded as a complete transport system, the trains 
would have no driver in the true sense, but only a train 
attendant located at the front of the train, whose duties 
would consist mainly of watching the area in front of the 
train to make sure that there were no collisions with 
objects of which the control system could have no 
cognizance, e.g. a crane jib temporarily obstructing the 
passage of the train. 

The automatic train control, based on a well-known 
coded cab signalling and train control system, would 
incorporate controls for stopping the train at stations, 
observing speed restrictions, slowing to a greater or 
lesser degree as required by the sharpness of curves, and 
generally applying the brakes or changing to the lower 
speed range as required. 

The train would stop automatically at stations, the 
control system taking account of the length of the train 
in selecting the exact stopping place of the front of the 
train in the platform. Once the train had stopped, the 
doors would open automatically, closing again after a 
predetermined interval. As soon as aU doors were 
closed, the train would continue on its journey. There is 
nothing very startling about the lack of a driver, for at 
least two conventional "rapid transit" organisations — 
New York and Leningrad — ^have something of the sort 
in mind and are making experiments. The main-line 
railways of the U.S.S.R. are also experimenting in this 

In each car of the trains described by Mr. Anson, there 
would be a push-button and microphone enabling 
passengers to communicate with the train attendant, 
who would be able to hear calls from the microphones 
through a loudspeaker. This apparatus would take the 
place of the familiar chains and handles used for alarm 



purposes on trains, but would not automatically initiate 
a brake application. As stops would not be more than 
two miles or so apart, the attendant's normal reaction 
would be to tell the train controller (or "dispatcher"), by 
means of the ultra-high-frequency radio Unk provided, 
of the situation so that the train could be stopped at the 
next station and examined. 

The dispatcher, by means of a selective code-dialling 
system, would be able to hold the train at the next 
station, over-riding the normal automatic controls. The 
description of the emergency given to the train attendant 
by the passenger would enable him to tell the dispatcher 
whether assistance, e.g. an ambulance, would be re- 

All this is straightforward enough. When the emer- 
gency has been dealt with, the train attendant can 
release the train manually. Once he has done this, the 
doors close and the train moves away, coming under 
automatic control again. 

Lay-by sidings and dep6ts for the cars are basically 
similar to those for normal railways. The overhead 
girders, however, are lowered so that the cars run just 
over the ground and can be entered and cleaned from 
ground level. The points leading to the dep6ts, and 
within them, are similar to those designed for most 
monorail systems, consisting of a traversable section of 
track. Similar points are found on some rack railways, 
such as that climbing Mount Pilatus in Switzerland. A 
section of girder supporting both the main line and the 
turn-out is moved sideways by hydrauUc power to 
bring the appropriate section of track into use. The 
movement will be made in only 3 seconds, and it will be 
possible for the whole cycle to be repeated in 90 
seconds — ^which is in fact none too rapid when the small 
headways of modem rapid transit lines are considered. 
No doubt the action will be speeded up in due course. 
The points can be worked by remote control, and will 



presumably be fitted with some type of detector to make 
certain that they are fully in the required position. 

The question of speed would depend on distance 
between stations, length of station stops, etc. 

The line discussed by Mr. Anson would have stations 
2-47 miles apart. For this situation the cars would have 
an overall average speed, including stop time at inter- 
mediate stations and reduced speed operation on 
severe curves, of 45 m.p.h. The rates of acceleration and 
braking deceleration, on which the scheduled speed also 
depends, would be the maximum consistent with 
available adhesion and the comfort of passengers. 

The balancing speed of the train would be 75 m.p.h. A 
higher speed would be of Uttle value, for, with the short 
distance between stations, the trains would hardly have 
time to reach it before starting to slow down again for 
the next stop. 

Although this account has been of a spht-rail system, 
Mr. Anson and his company have also studied pure 
monorail systems, i.e. with a single rail. There is prob- 
ably not a great deal to choose between the two, except 
that the enclosed rails of the spUt-rail type should allow 
of quieter operation, and there is no danger of sUpping 
wheels caused by wet rails. Also, the double rail enables 
the sway of trains to be controlled to a much greater 
extent than is possible with a single rail — ^though it may 
also entail super-elevation on curves, i.e. banking. 

A study carried out a few years ago in connection 
with applying "single-rail" monorail to part of Los 
Angeles, showed that a two-direction rapid transit 
system about 45 miles long could be built for something 
like $138,000,000. In this case some two miles of under- 
ground line were included in the route, putting up costs 
considerably. Even so, the cost was not much more than 
an average of $3,000,000 a mile, including everything 
necessary for operating the system, and 131 motored 
monorail cars. If the undergroimd section could have 



anchor bolts to concrete foundations resting on piles. 
The contractors used 266 hollow concrete piles and 245 
wooden piles. Because of the need for exact aUgnment, 
the pillars were erected temporarily and fixed by the 
anchor bolts. After adjustment, the running beams were 
winched up to their final positions. The permanent 
fastenings were then made good, including the use of 
ferro-concrete round the foundations. The running beam 
is faced with Ughtweight concrete to give a bearing 
surface, the concrete being laid in a trough formed in 
the upper surface of the beam. Asphalt was used as a 
contact surface between concrete and steel. The height of 
the track varies from 16 to 37 ft. according to the irre- 
gularities in the terrain crossed by the Une. The maxi- 
mum gradient is 1 in 25. 

Extensive loading tests have been carried out on the 
track and its various installations to detect strain and 
distortion. The results obtained were checked against 
the theoretical calculations, and confirmed the innate 
safety of the line. More than 400 gauges, as well as 
oscillographs and other instruments, were used in these 

The train has two coaches, each 30 ft. 6 in. long and 
with seats for 31 passengers. They weigh six tons each 
and are of monocoque construction. Extensive use is 
made of plastics and Ughtweight materials, the outer 
sheathing being of aluminium plate. 

The coaches are unUned, largely to save weight, but 
the floors are covered with vinyl sheeting. Apart from 
fixed seats at the ends, all the seats are reversible, so that 
the passengers can face the direction of travel. The seats 
are arranged in rows of three, two on one side of the 
gangway and one on the other, except that there is one 
seat only opposite the door, in order to give passengers 
more room to enter and leave the coach. 

The windows, of heat-resisting safety glass, run along 
both sides of the coach and round the driving end — ^there 



is no separate cab for the driver — ^and this gives pas- 
sengers a very good view of their surroundings. Exter- 
nally, the coaches are of smooth streamUne finish, with 
the outer ends rounded into an attractive curve. 
Beneath each coach is an emergency chute, normally 
folded into the under surface of the coach and unseen 
by passengers. Should the train be stopped in an 
emergency between stations, the chute can be lowered so 
that passengers can slide down to the ground below in 
perfect safety. The chutes are of substantial metal 
construction, and are hinged to the main body of the 
coaches at the driving ends. The provision of this 
safety device meets one of the objections frequently 
levelled at suspended railways — ^that there is no way for 
passengers to escape in case of fire, etc. 

Each coach is carried on two bogies. Curved "C"- 
shaped arms, attached to the centre of the bogies by 
four bolts with springs and rubber elements, support the 
coach below. The supports (or "hangers") are so 
arranged that the coach would continue to be supported 
even if all the bolts attaching the curved arms to the 
bogies failed. 

The bogies each consist of two large pneumatic-tyred 
wheels in tandem, mounted in a frame supporting the 
electric motor. Both bogies of the coach are motored 
with 30-kW. motors, taking current at 600 V., d.c. 
Short spring arms at each comer of the bogie frame 
carry horizontal guide wheels, also pneumatic-tyred, 
which run on the side surfaces of the box girder and keep 
the tandem running wheels on the track. The bogie 
wheelbase is 4 ft. 2 in., and the distance between bogie 
centres is 14 ft. 8 in. Small rubber-tyred wheels are 
mounted fore and aft of the main running wheels, and 
would appear to be designed to come into use should a 
main tyre be punctured, so enabling the train to continue 
at reduced speed. 

All apparatus is carried on the roof of the coaches, so 



that there is nothing to obstruct the floor space; and the 
whole length of the coach, except for the driver's posi- 
tion, can be used for passengers. The train is equipped 
with pubUc address apparatus for making announce- 
ments to passengers, full lighting and ventilation equip- 
ment, and a telephone enabUng the driver to speak with 
the controller. The telephone wires for this purpose are 
carried on the pillars supporting the track at a height 
convenient for the driver. There is indirect automatic 
emergency braking, as well as driver-controlled air brakes 
and an emergency braking device at the bogie centre. 

Traction current is picked up by an unusual design of 
pantograph, mounted on the roof of the coach, from 
double Ught tramway rails mounted on insulators, 
upside-down on the under surface of the running beam. 

There are two stations, Hon-en in the Main Zoo and 
Bun-en in the Aquatic Zoo. The Hon-en station is of one 
storey only, the cars coming down almost to ground 
level at this point. The structure is of lightweight steel, 
and extensive use is made of plastics in the outer walls. 
This station has been equipped with a hoist, and serves 
also as a car depot. 

The other station. Bun-en, is a two-storey building of 
reinforced concrete construction. The track is about 
15 ft. above ground level here, and passengers entrain 
and detrain at first floor level. The ground floor contains 
a booking ofiice, rest room, toilets, etc., as well as a 
waiting room. The outer walls are of concrete-block 

The track installations were manufactured by the 
Yawata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., erection on site being by 
Ishikawajima Heavy Industries Limited. The electrical 
equipment for the train is by Tokyo Shibaura Electric 
Co. Ltd., and the coach builders were Nippon Sharyo 
Co. Ltd. All contractors engaged worked to the direc- 
tions of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. 

In its first year of operation this line carried 1,100,000 



people, and the single two-car train ran 600 miles. A 
careful inspection was carried out at the end of the 
first year, as a result of which some modifications have 
been or are being made. 

These alterations include improvements to the venti- 
lating system, and the changing of the resistance covers 
on the coach roof to make them more easily removable 
for inspection purposes. Asphalt, which was tried at 
first as a running surface, has been replaced by concrete 
to eUminate changes due to temperature fluctuation. 
Various points in connection with the "C-shaped 
hangers have been improved in detail, and side supports 
have been provided to the hangers to reduce shocks. 
These cover more of the bogies, and therefore also do 
something to reduce noise. Some modification to the 
driving bevel gear ratio is also under consideration. 

The monorail Une, at Ueno, was intended primarily 
as a trial system to see whether monorail could solve the 
rapidly growing problem of trafiic congestion in Tokyo, 
and it should perhaps be stressed that it is an experi- 
mental Une on a somewhat reduced scale. In addition to 
giving experimental information, however, it is ob- 
viously popular with the public — ^probably mainly 
because it is a novelty. The 600 miles run in a year 
sounds very Uttle — ^less than a trip from London to 
Edinburgh and back — ^but it has been done on a very 
short track, with a great deal of acceleration and braking 
and loading and unloading of passengers. The latter has 
obviously subjected the train to a great deal of wear and 
tear — ^probably more than would be met with in 
ordinary service. Nevertheless, it is of interest to note 
that the Tokyo Transportation Bureau, responsible for 
Tokyo's public transport system and for the monorail, 
states that in any future monorail construction, careful 
consideration should be given to reducing maintenance 
costs. The total cost of the Une, including rolling stock 
and stations, was ¥211,000,000. 




AMONG the several proposals for monorails and 

ZA other rapid transit systems put forward in con- 
jL \.nection with the Century 21 Exposition at Seattle 
was a workmanlike suspended monorail system designed 
by the St. Louis Car Company. The St. Louis Car 
Company's proposals are particularly interesting in that 
they are based on over seventy years' experience of 
supplying material for rapid transit systems, and should 
therefore be a sound engineering proposition. 

As put forward for Seattle, the Une would have run 
about one mile along Fifth Avenue to the exhibition 
site. It would have handled up to 15,000 passengers an 
hour each way, with six double-car trains in service. In 
putting his company's scheme forward, Edwin B. 
Meissner, Jr., the president, said: "This type of equip- 
ment incorporates the latest components in the mass 
transportation field, as well as principles which have 
been tested and estabUshed in service. It would be the 
first monorail installation in America with real mass 
transportation capabilities." 

In this system the Ughtweight, streamlined aluminium 
cars would be powered by four 100-h.p. high-perfor- 
mance electric traction motors of the latest type, 
capable of high operating speeds and smooth, rapid 
starts and stops. The cars would be suspended from a 
single overhead rail, and take on and discharge pas- 
sengers from raised platforms. Inside, the cars would be 
provided with many features for passenger comfort, 
including ample head and leg room, fluorescent lighting, 


(Above) Gibbs & Hill Inc. proposal for a split-rail suspended monorail 
system. (Drawing: Gibbs & Hill Inc.) 

(Below) The experimental suspended monorail at Ueno, Tokyo, (Phoio: 
"^ Passenger Transport") 


with the apex of the triangle pointing downwards. The 
small vertical plate is retained as a guide-rail, and is 
positioned along the centre line of the running surface. 

The tubular supports, the curved upper parts of which 
are formed of short straight sections welded, now have 
reinforcing members welded to the inside of the curves. 
No points were used on either of these Unes, so that it 
remains to be seen how this problem would be solved. 

As far as can be seen from photographs, the coach 
used at the State Fair is the same as that used at 
Houston. The line is comparatively short, and no great 
speed is attained in the 1,000-ft. or so runs. A trial on a 
really adequate length of track would be most interest- 
ing, as the automobile-type engines used would then 
have a chance of developing their full power. 

This type of monorail was proposed in 1958 for a 
16-mile Une Unking New Orleans with Moisant Airport. 
The scheme, which would have cost something like 
$16,500,000, was put forward by Monorail of Louisiana 
Inc. operating under a 75-year franchise from Monorail 
Inc. of Houston, Texas. 

Trains of two cars would have been used, running at 
speeds up to 100 m.p.h., and would have made the 
trip in 14J minutes. Four trains would have been 
needed to work the service, and they were of very 
handsome design, finished inside in pastel shades of 
plastic and with gold anodized aluminium exteriors. 
The trains would have been diesel powered. Two of 
them would have worked the express airport runs and 
two, designed for suburban traffic, would have operated 
stopping services. There would have been seven stations 
along the route. 

There were complementary proposals for two types 
of service — ^high-density and low-density. For the high- 
density service the cars would have seated 64, with 
room for another 50 people to stand. Three-coach 
trains would have been preferred for this service; each 



would have cost about $50,000 if driven by petrol or 
diesel engines, or $57,500 if electrically powered. The 
supporting columns for the track would have been 
100-125 ft. apart. The low-density system would have 
had coaches seating 26 with 15 standing. They would 
have cost $25,000 each, or $28,750 if electrically 
powered. Columns for this type of service would have 
been 70-80 ft. apart. 

Little has been pubUshed about an intermediate 
system tried by Monorail Inc. in November 1957, 
probably because it was soon dropped as unsuitable 
and never demonstrated to the general pubUc. The 
company, however, has been kind enough to send 
photographs of this design, known as the "A" system. 
It was a saddle-type monorail, with the car above the 
rail and guide wheels running on the side of the "I"- 
shape track beam. The beam itself seems from the 
photographs to have been of steel. A trial coach was 
built, looking something Uke the fuselage of an aircraft, 
the resemblance being increased by a large plastic nose 
incorporating a round window, very much Uke the nose 
of certain bomber aircraft. The upper part of the body 
was largely of plastic, and the doors sUd on runners 
along the outside of the main body. The doors were 
curved to follow the shape of the coach — ^vertical sides 
to the waist rail and a semicircular roof section. The 
guide wheels were shrouded by streamline "spats". 

The most important reason for abandoning this 
system (very similar basically to the Alweg) was that a 
heavier and therefore more expensive rail was needed. 
The type of colunm, in the event of a double track being 
required, would have been more expensive than those 
used for the original "Skyway" system. A secondary 
point, but important, was that the rail was only about 
15 ft. above ground, whereas with the "Skyway" the 
tubular or triangular track beam is at least 27 ft. up. 
This greater height is held to be of aesthetic advantage 



when city operation is envisaged. No performance 
details of this over-rail coach are available. 

Another proposal put forward for the Seattle 
Exhibition Une is that of the Northrop Corporation. 
This well-known aircraft and missile manufacturing 
company calls its system the "Gyro-GUde Transit 
System", and it is in some respects a combination of 
well-proven ideas rather than new ones. The whole 
thing, however, adds up to an attractive proposition. 

The main track structure in this proposal is a massive 
spUt box girder — 4 ft. x 5 ft. — built, apparently, of 
concrete, and supported by pre-cast concrete arches 
springing from both sides of a street to meet above the 
girder in the centre. These arches would have been 
75 ft. apart in Seattle, with a span of about 54 ft., and 
high enough to give a clearance of at least 16 ft. between 
the road surface and the bottom of the train. Near the 
terminals, pylons of inverted "L" shape would have 
been used as supports instead of the arches, and would 
have been spaced at 60-ft. centres. These pylons were 
designed to be of pre-cast post-tensioned concrete. 

In the Northrop system, the box girder would be 
spUt along its lower surface to allow supports for the 
cars to pass through, and would have two rails of 
standard type, 2 ft. 6 in. apart, on the upper side of the 
lower surface of the beam, so that one rail runs on each 
side of the centre slot. On these rails run bogies very 
similar to tramcar bogies (but of much narrower gauge) 
and using wheels resembling those of P.C.C. cars in 
having a rubber insert. The 26-in. flanged wheels would 
be of aluminium, with steel tyres and, of course, the 
rubber insert. The wheelbase is 6 ft. The track has been 
designed by J. H. Pomeroy & Company in co-operation 
with the Northrop Corporation. 

Four-coach articulated trains are envisaged, with two 
sUding doors on one side of each of the cars as far as 
the Seattle project is concerned — ^but this would not 



necessarily be the case in another application, where 
doors on both sides might be an advantage. Each car 
seats 64 passengers, and has a safety chute incorporated 
in the fairings underneath, much as in the Tokyo 
monorail design. 

Every axle in the train, except for those of one bogie, 
is driven by a direct current electric motor of 85 h.p. 
continuous rating. These would give an operating speed 
of 50 m.p.h. over the Seattle route. Acceleration at the 
rate of 3-4 m.p.h. per second is considered possible, or 
may prove to be even bettered in practice. 

At each end of the train is a power pod and driver's 
cabin, so that the train can run forwards or backwards 
with equal facility, obviating the turning loops required 
for unidirectional monorail systems. 

These power pods are among the more unusual 
features of this system. Each pod contains a flywheel- 
motor-generator unit basically similar to those of the 
Oerlikon locomotives and gyrobuses (see Unusual 

The flywheel (or gyroscope) weighs 1,000 lb., and is 
directly coupled to a 125-kW. generator, capable of 
supplying current to two of the motors driving the 
train. The generator acts as a motor to bring the fly- 
wheel up to speed. This process is said to take only 15 
seconds, but as the flywheel speed is given as 1,800- 
4,400 r.p.m. it seems probable that it is only the lower 
figure which is reached in this 15-second period. A 
protection device prevents the flywheel reaching too 
high a speed. 

Power is supplied to the train at stations to speed up 
the flywheel, and is also fed to the train during the 
acceleration period — ^the period of maximum current 
drain (for about 600 ft. from a station). The motor 
driving the flywheel is then switched to its role of 
generator, and drives the train motors until the next 
station is reached. On a reasonably large transit system, 



it is calculated that four out of every five miles would be 
covered with the train out of contact with any external 
power source. Even if the train should have to stop 
between stations, there is enough energy stored in the 
flywheel to enable the train to restart and reach the next 
station — ^albeit at low speed. 

The "inertial drive unit" (flywheel and generator- 
motor) is suspended directly from a power bogie, none 
of the weight being taken by the structure of the pod 
itself. The skin of the pod is in upper and lower halves, 
and the drive unit can be exposed for servicing by taking 
off* the lower half of the pod structure. The whole pod 
can, in fact, be detached easily when required for 
extensive servicing or repairs, and a spare can be put 
into its place. 

The flywheels serve a second purpose, which is why 
they were referred to as "gyroscopes" a Uttle earlier. 
They are enclosed in U^tweight cases which are 
supported by two trunnions acting as gimbals for the 
gyroscopic action. The axis of the gimbals is across the 
train, and so allows the drive unit to swing in a longi- 
tudinal plane. Any rolling motion of the train will make 
the drive unit attempt to rotate fore and aft about 
the gimbal axis. This attempted movement will be 
dampened by hydrauUc cylinders arranged between the 
flywheel housing and the floor of the power pod. 

The final effect, therefore, will be that the flywheels 
will steady the motion of the train — ^already steadier than 
a true monorail because it uses the "split-rail" system. 

In the Seattle appUcation, two trains of four cars 
each would have been used, each 230 ft. in length and 
weighing, fully loaded, 51 tons (the empty weight is 
about 33^ tons). This would give a seating capacity of 
2,560 passengers an hour one way, assuming a three- 
minute headway for the four-car trains. There would 
have been two tracks at the terminals, and trains would 
have used each platform alternately, one train unload- 



ing and loading while the other made the trip, taking 
about 90 seconds on the run. 

The terminus at the Exposition end would have had a 
circular platform-level waiting room at one end of the 
main platform, connected by two covered curving 
ramps to the main passenger building at ground level. 
Points just before the station would lead off to a special 
maintenance building for the trains, which would have 
included facilities for power-pod changing. 

As this book was being written, Northrop were 
studying the possibiUties of aluminium instead of 
concrete trackwork. 

It is evident that Northrop intend their system to be a 
serious contender for rapid transit schemes, and not 
just an exhibition stunt. In April 1959, their system 
was explained to a special meeting of the Board of 
Supervisors of Los Angeles County. Nothing more 
seems to have been forthcoming about the track and 
trains than has been stated in the last few pages, but an 
estimate of £35,000 as the cost of a car has been 

The Northrop system seems to have made an im- 
pression, for, according to reports from Los Angeles, 
the Chairman of the Board declared that a test Une 
ought to be built immediately. 

It is understood that at the meeting in Los Angeles, 
an artist's impression of a saddle-type monorail put 
forward by Northrop as a later idea also was shown. 

A suspended monorail has been proposed by Alan 
Hawes of El Segundo, California. This uses a single 
suspended track beam, at the base of which wheelways 
are supported on projecting brackets on each side of the 
beam. The cars have bogies with double rubber-tyred 
wheels, one wheel running on each of the wheelways. 
The effect is thus of a very narrow gauge railway turned 
upside-down. Stabilizing wheels, running on the sides 
of the beam, are provided. 



The author has been able to gather very Uttle informa- 
tion about the Rice monorail proposals in the U.S.A. 
The proposed Rice track seems to have been an over- 
head lightweight structure in which guy wires were to 
be used to reduce the strength requirements of the 
vertical supports. The cars to be used on this track would 
have been very small, seating probably not more than 20. 

The Piasecki Company, in the U.S. A., well known 
as manufacturers of helicopters, has proposed a 
suspended type of monorail using airscrew propulsion. 

A few miles from Barcelona is Mount Tibidabo, the 
amusement ground of the city, with magnificent views 
from its terraces and buildings. Mount Tibidabo is 
reached by a single-track funicular railway 3,750 ft. in 
length and with a gradient of 1 in 4. Near the summit is 
a monorail line which swings out on high double steel 
supports over the mountainside, and then dives into a 
tunnel in which are various illuminated objects and 
scenes of interest. 

The author has no information on this monorail 
except that provided by a photograph. There is a car 
holding perhaps a dozen seated passengers, with a 
driver standing at the rear. The car is open-sided, but 
appears to have a roof canopy. It is suspended from two 
small bogies, electrically driven, the wheels of which 
run on the bottom flanges of an "I" beam, in much the 
same way as in factory overhead monorail systems for 
transporting goods; certain warehouse cranes run on 
similar tracks. The Mount Tibidabo monorail is prob- 
ably more closely related to a fairground scenic railway 
than anything else, but it is a passenger-carrying mono- 
rail line which appears to work perfectly successfully 
in its limited rdle. The speed is not known, but the 
design suggests that it is probably not much more than 
a smart walking pace. 

In the 1920s, there was a project for a Central Paris- 
St. Denis monorail, designed by Francis Laur. Two 



types of car were envisaged; one with one propeller and 
the other with two. They would have been driven by 
aero engines and built of duralumin. The line would have 
been about 4 J miles long, and speeds of over 150 m.p.h. 
were discussed. In the event, the Prefecture de la Seine 
refused to grant the necessary concession, and the 
project fell through. 

One curiosity in France was the suspended atmo- 
spheric monorail proposed by Andraud in 1846. It was 
never built on a full scale, but was a strange combina- 
tion of new ideas which really reflects great credit on 
the inventor. There was a single gtrder-Uke rail sup- 
ported on pillars of length varying according to the 
nature of the terrain. At the sides of the girder rail 
were long rubber tubes, lying between the side of the 
girder and vertical rollers on the front car of the train. 
When compressed air was pumped into the rubber 
tubes, they expanded; and being held flat between 
roller and rail, they exerted pressure to push the cars 
along the track. The faster the air was pumped in, the 
faster the train went. 

Trials with a reduced scale train and track were 
conducted in Paris, in the Champs d'Elysdes, in 1856. 

A contemporary drawing shows a train with double- 
bodied coaches, half of the coach hanging on each side 
of the track. They were carried by two wheels in Une 
running on top of the girder-rail. From the side, the 
coaches looked, as did many early conventional railway 
coaches, Uke two road passenger coaches put together 
end-to-end. If the drawing is reasonably accurate, there 
were two compartments on each side of the rail, each 
compartment seating four. Apart from these inside 
seats, there were seats on the roof, mounted above the 
rail — two, one behind the other, to each coach. The 
driver sat in a similar seat over the rail at the front of 
the leading car, and is shown with his hand on a lever 
— ^presumably the brake. 


(Above) Artist's impression of the monorail train proposed by the St. 
Louis Car Company. {By courtesy of the Si. Louis Car Company) 

(Below) Artist's impression of the Northrop "Gyro-Glide" monorail as 

proposed for the Seattle Exposition. (By courtesy of "Ciiy & Suburban 

(Above) The Davino Suspended Rapid Transit_Systein, showing a t; 
continental flyer in open country, (By courtesy ofAl Davino) 

(Below) Artist's impression of Andraud's suspended atmospheric mono- 
rail in France (1846). 



A LTHOUGH, as far as the author has been able to 

ZA ascertain, the first monorail line was built in 
jLjl1824 by Palmer in London, it is sometimes 
claimed that the first working monorail was built in 
France. This claim is based on the building of such a 
line in 1872 in Lyons. 

This short line ran from the Pont Morand to the 
park of the Tete d'Or, and was built, as many novel 
forms of transport have been since, for an exhibition — 
in this case the Exposition de Lyon of 1872. The line 
was about two-thirds of a mile long, and was to the 
designs of its inventor, M. Duchamp. The car was of 
saddle type, divided into two parts, one on each side of 
a central rail level with the roof. Traction was by cable. 

The monorail systems of Lartigue and Behr were 
described in Unusual Railways, but since that book was 
written the author has foimd a reference to an 
electrically-operated Lartigue line built in 1884, ten 
years before that at the Ria mines in the Pyrenees. 
The 1884 line was built for an Agricultural Eriiibition 
in Paris. It was an experimental passenger line, with 
pannier-type cars fitted with seats. The train of five 
cars was hauled by a 6-h.p. Siemens electric locomotive, 
also of pannier type, with the motor geared to driving 
wheels 12 in. in diameter. The whole train, including 
the locomotive, weighed only five tons. 

In the same year, Lartigue experimented with his 
monorail on a larger scale in Normandy. He was 
assisted by his chief engineer, Fritz Bemhard Behr. 

81 F 


The Feurs-Panissieres line came rather later than 
this, and a few years after the Listowel and Ballybunion 
line, which it very closely resembled. The line was 
about 10 J miles long, the track resembling that of the 
Ballybunion line. The actual nmning rail was a 
minimum height of 5 ft. above the groimd. The line 
ran for three miles or so across flat country, and then 
wound into hillier coimtry for the remainder of the 
route. A special double-boilered locomotive like those 
of the Ballybunion line was built by the Bietrix works in 
St. fitienne. There being two fireboxes, one on each 
side of the rail, a miniature staircase was provided on 
the footplate, and the fireman had constantly to be 
scrambling over this to feed one or other of the fire- 
boxes. Trials held in 1894 were perfectly successful, and 
the opening day was duly fixed. 

On that day the official party climbed on board with 
the usual pomp and circumstance surroimding such 
occasions, and the train puffed merrily away to the 
cheers of the local populace. Three and three-quarter 
miles out the track saiJc down under the weight of the 
locomotive, and the train came to a precipitate and 
inglorious halt. No one was injured physically, but the 
dignity of the official party was severely hurt, and 
smarted even more as its members tramped back on 
foot to the starting point. 

An inquiry was ordered, and it seems possible that 
not a few of the outraged official party were closely 
connected with it. At any rate, the commission of 
inquiry ordered that this "engine of death" should be 
demolished. To run it at all, said the commission, 
entailed grave risks to passengers. 

Thus ended the Feurs-Panissiferes line, which, with a 
Uttle more luck, might have become as famous as the 
Listowel and Ballybunion. 

In May 1873, a Captain J. V. Meigs of Lowell, 
Massachusetts, filed an application for a patent for 



his elevated railway system. Meigs had been at work on 
this system for some six years by then, and it was a 
triumph for him when, secure with his patent rights — 
granted in May, 1875— he saw a Une on his system 
actually under construction in Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1886. 

Only two years before, the Massachusetts Legislature 
had resolved that the Railroad Conmiissioners should 
examine and report on the aboUtion of grade crossings 
in "cities and the populous parts of towns", and 
perhaps the elevated Meigs system seemed the answer 
ta this still-vexed problem. 

The basic idea behind the Meigs system seems to have 
been to produce an elevated railway capable of being 
carried on a single Une of supports — ^an object which 
monorail designers are still seeking to achieve today. 
The solution foimd by Captain Meigs was to have his 
track turned from the horizontal to the vertical, so 
that instead of the rails lying side by side they were 
arranged one above the other. In this way, all loads 
were brought automatically above the centre Une of the 
supports. In practice, it was expected to use a single 
lattice iron girder or truss, 4 ft. deep, and resting on 
jron posts 44-4 ft. apart,. as the bearer of the rails, but 
the designer was prepared to consider a wooden 
supporting structure. 

TTie posts or piUars, he proposed, would be of wood 
for the wooden track system, and it would make Uttle 
difference whether the wooden piUars were roughly 
squared, sawn square, or left in a rough state. For the 
iron track, he proposed piUars of two 10-in. channel 
bars and two plates, aU riveted together to make a 
hoUow rectangular section. Each post would rest on a 
plate of rather larger area than the post, and possibly 
provided with a boss fitting into the open end of the 
post itself. This would be set in a concrete and stone 
foundation about 6 ft. deep and 3 ft. in diameter. In 



soft ground, pUes could be driven round the base of 
the posts to give added support. 

A special wooden or metal lining to the post holes 
was proposed for sites with loose ground above but 
firm foimdation below. Such a lining would increase 
the effective area, and help to resist lateral forces 
acting on the post. Special collars would be bolted 
round the post at groimd level. 

Posts of this nature, set in foundations such as those 
described, would be ample, Meigs considered, to cany 
a girder on which trains could safely run, the bottom of 
the girder being 14 ft. from the ground. It was calculated 
that the safe load would be 39 tons, whereas the Meigs 
type of train would never, at any point, impose a load 
of more than 35 tons. 

The actual girder, 4 ft. deep, consisted of upper and 
lower track beams with suitable trussing between them. 
Rails were attached to each side of both of the track 
beams, so that it may be said that there were four rails 
instead of the one expected with a monorail track. This 
multiplicity of rails in a nominal "monorail" system is 
by no means unusual, the Lartigue and Behr monorail 
systems having in fact three and five rails respectively. 
The modem concrete beam systems, if the number of 
bearing points on the beam are considered, are really 
the equivalent of multirail systems. 

The lower beam of the Meigs track girder rested on 
bracket angle irons riveted to both sides of each post. 
The upper track beam rested on top of the posts. 

The lower track beam was actually a box section 
built up in a similar manner to the posts, i.e. with two 
channel bars and two flat plates riveted up with the 
recesses of the channel bars to the sides. In each of the 
recesses so formed were wooden beams, forming 
stringers for two of the four rails mentioned previously. 

The whole beam was stiffened by riveting angle irons 
in the angle between the top of the beam and the posts. 



The upper beam was of very similar construction, 
and also carried wooden stringers in the channels of the 
channel bars. Between each section of the track beam 
was an expansion joint. This was arranged by having 
the bolts fastening the end of the upper track beam, 
and the brace joining the upper beam at the end to the 
bracket at each post, pass through slots in the side 
plates of the bracket. The slots were of sufficient length 
to allow movement through any Ukely range. The 
brackets were regarded only as guides, as the weight 
was taken by terminal plates on the top of the post, 
on which the beam actually rested. 

The comparative freedom of wood from expansion 
due to heat was one of the reasons for using wood 
stringers to support the rails, as it was held that they 
would help to preserve the alignment of the track. It 
was also, of course, a convenient material in which to 
place the rail fastenings and gave a measure of elasticity 
which the metal lacked. 

The two rails carrying the real load of the train were 
in fact angle irons fitted on the outer and upper edges 
of the stringers on the lower track beam. ITiey were 
fastened not only to the stringers, but also to each other 
and to the track beam itself by through bolts. Two 
vertical face rails were fixed to the stringers of the upper 
beam, one on each side. These were for the horizontal 
balancing wheels of the train. A small recess beneath 
the upper stringers left a space for the flanges of the 
horizontal wheels, which thus locked the train to the 

The "gauge" of the bearing rails, in this case the 
distance from outer edge to outer edge of the angle 
irons attached to the lower beam, was 22J in., and that 
between the vertical faces of the upper rails was 17 J in. 
Meigs considered that if his system were to be widely 
accepted it would be possible to use ordinary rails 
instead of the angle irons, the upper comers of the 



Stringers being chamfered off to allow the rails to be 
set at an angle of 45 degrees (this is because the bearing 
wheels had wide flanges which bore both horizontally 
and vertically on the lower rails, as will presently be 
made clear). 

Many ideas advanced by monorail promotors today 
were aired in connection with this monorail of well over 
70 years ago. The length of the posts, for example — 
6 ft. below the ground, 14 ft. for clearance and 4 ft. 
in the height of the girder — could be varied, Meigs 
said, to follow the grades and contours of the ground. 
At "freight houses", the rail could be brought down 
and even sunk below surface level to bring the trains 
down for easy loading. These are advantages often 
claimed by overhead monorail advocates today — and 
are among the fimdamental advantages of any overhead 

The cost of such a track, carried out in iron and with 
high supporting pillars, was estimated at $70,000- 
$75,000 a mile. With low pillars, the estimate was 
reduced by $20,000 a mile. The very lowest cost, 
assuming hewn track stringers and hardwood rails, 
was put by H. Haupt, a civil engineer, at $4,500 a mile. 
This assumed that the track was being laid the cheapest 
possible way, with wooden construction throughout 
and in a well-wooded country, i.e. with timber more or 
less on the spot. 

As might be expected, the points designed for this 
track were cumbersome and massive — as are many of 
the newer monorail points. In essence, they consisted 
of a section of track which could be swung on a special, 
very strong, hinge attached to one of the posts. 

The moving section was supported towards the free 
end by rollers moving over a section of rail. The 
distance of travel was about 5 ft., this being sufficient 
for the train to clear the second track served by the 
points. The points were moved by handwheels and 



chains. A locking service was employed to hold the 
"tongue" of the points in position, the lock being 
removed automatically as the handwheel started to turn. 

It was said that the effect of the inclined wheels of the 
train was such that they would shut points accidentally 
left open even if they were open as much as 15 in. The 
riding over the points must have been rough, for there 
seems to have been a definite angle at the hinge of the 
point tongue. Up to 5 degrees was apparently possible. 

A much cheaper form of wooden permanent way, 
based on a Howe truss set on any type of post, was 
also advocated. The actual running rails were in the 
same relative position as with the iron track. 

In a paper to the American Society of Mechanical 
Engineers in 1886, Francis E. Galloupe gave a detailed 
description of the type of bogie used on the Meigs 
railway. "It consists," he stated, "of a horizontal 
rectangular wrought-iron frame stiffened by cast-iron 
pieces and provided with stiff cast pedestals bolted to 
its under side, in which are fixed short axles for the 
wheels." These "pedestals", in fact, came down on 
each side of the track girder. The four axles projected 
outwards and downwards at an angle of 45 degrees. 
Each had a wheel with a right-angled groove in its 
circumference, made to fit the angle-iron rail on the 
upper comers of the lower track stringers. 

Between these supporting wheels — the bogie wheel- 
base was 4 ft. — ^were two horizontal wheels, one on 
each side of the track beam. These ran with their tyres 
on the vertical rails on the upper track beam and their 
flanges below the edge of the rail plates. They thus made 
it impossible for the vehicle to leave the track, since 
these flanges locked the car down to the beam. To give 
some measure of elasticity, the vertical axles of these 
two horizontal wheels were allowed some movement 
in sliding boxes, and were kept in contact with the rails 
by powerful springs outside the boxes. 



The main (inclined) bogie wheels were 42 in. in 
diameter. The groove in the circumference was deep 
enough to allow a tread of 3 J in. to bear on each bearing 
face of the lower rail, i.e. the horizontal and vertical 
faces. They turned independently on their own axles, 
which were lubricated at the journals by oil contained 
within the hollow axles themselves. The joumals ran, 
in fact, in an oil bath. 

Substantial braces, just clearing the track, ensured 
that the car could not overturn if any, or even all, of 
the wheels should collapse. In such a case the bogie 
frame, normally carried just clear of the upper track, 
would drop an inch or so on to the upper rail and gUde 
along it harmlessly. 

A movable frame in wrought iron, on the top of the 
bogie frame, carried four spring posts with heavy spiral 
springs inside them. Two posts were on each side of the 
bogie, carried on segmental members of the movable 
frame. These posts locked by flanges into sockets in 
the frame of the car. A centre pin ensured that the 
bogie turned about the centre of the movable frame. The 
car was thus locked to the movable frame, and this in 
tum was locked to the bogie by flanges on the bogie 
frame which extended above the intermediate movable 

Another type of bogie designed for the Meigs system, 
but not built, retained a similar pattern but had the 
supporting wheels running in the normal vertical 
position on each side of the track beam. In this design, 
the supporting wheels had flanges on their outer rims. 
It appears to have been produced as more suitable for 
cars worked by electricity. The track is similar to that 
used for the inclined-wheel design, but has the rails 
insulated from the girders to enable current to be 
distributed by and picked up from the rails. The drive 
from the motors would have been through the hori- 
zontal wheels. 



The locomotive "frame" was a flat platform truck, 
supported on two bogies of the type aheady described, 
and 7 ft. 6 in. width and 29 ft. 3 in. in length overall. 
The tender was 25 ft. 8 in. in length, and had room for 
luggage as well as for water and coal. 

On the floor of the locomotive section were moimted 
two single-cylinder steam engines, each driving a single 
horizontal driving wheel, one on each side of the upper 
track beam and opposite one another, half-way between 
the bogies. The 12-in. x 22-in. cylinders were horizontal 
and the piston rods connected with independent cross- 
heads sliding on steel guide rods supported by cast-iron 

The driving wheels were 44J in. in diameter, and, 
like the horizontal wheels of the bogies, were flanged 
on the lower edge. These wheels were carried on strong 
but short steel axles extending through a sliding box 
containing the journals and having a crank at the 
upper end. The crank pins were allowed to rotate in 
square blocks sliding in a groove formed in the under- 
side of the crossheads, giving in effect a "slotted yoke" 

The slide valves were operated by common link and 
double eccentrics, the only unusual feature of the valve 
motion being the rather heavy rocker shafts necessitated 
by the horizontal rather than the usual vertical position. 

Adhesion was provided by applying hydraulic pres- 
sure by a cylinder and piston attached to the boxes 
carrying the journals of the axles of the driving wheels. 
Adhesion could be obtained irrespective of the weight 
of the engine — an idea tried also by Fell, it may be 
recalled. The hydraulic fluid employed was glycerine, 
supplied from a reservoir maintained at pressure by a 
hydraulic pump or hydraulic accumulator designed to 
give one pressure for adhesion and another for operat- 
ing hydraulic controls, etc. The sliding boxes referred 
to for the driving axles were intended to let the loco- 



motive traverse curves. Their travel was limited to 
about 6 in. 

The boiler, though only 15 ft. in length, was of the 
normal locomotive type. Five feet in diameter, it was 
mounted above the two engines, and rose to 7 ft. 9 in. 
above the flat floor. There were 208 tubes and 20-25 
sq. ft. of grate surface in the firebox. The fuel was to be 
anthracite, to avoid making smoke in city streets. The 
boiler could be tilted, safely, to a point where the 
locomotive was on a gradient of 1 in 6 J. 

The fireman was at the usual position at the rear of 
the locomotive, where he could feed the firebox, but 
the driver was provided with a raised platform with 
windows looking remarkably like the wheelhouse of a 
small steamer. On a desk before him were five levers 
controUing hydrauUc valves. These, in turn, controlled 
the regulator, reversing apparatus, driving wheel adhe- 
sion, brake, and couplings of the whole train. Also 
provided were the usual gauges and indicators, as well 
as voice-tubes communicating with the fireman and 
guard. A whistle and bell also formed part of the 

There was talk of fitting a small auxiUary steam 
engine to throw either of the two separate steam 
engines over the "dead-centre" points if needed, but 
this appears not to have been done. The two steam 
engines driving the opposing wheels were, in fact, 
quite independent of each other, though it was sug- 
gested that they might be linked mechanically or 
through the valve motion. 

The type of car to be hauled by this strange loco- 
motive was equally novel. As with the locomotive, 
there had to be a strong flat platform as a starting 
point, in this case built up from 5-in. channel beams. 
The platform was 7 ft. 6 in. wide and 51 ft. 2 in. in 
length. The bogies were connected to the platform by 
the type of interlocking spring post already described. 



The body framing was of "T" iron curved to give the 
exterior of the car a cyhndrical shape. The panels 
attached to these frames, or ribs, were, to quote 
Francis E. Galloupe again, "covered with upholstering, 
which covers the entire interior, and sheathed with 
paper and copper upon the exterior". The purpose of 
the paper is not clear, unless intended to prevent action 
between the copper and iron. 

The car was in the shape of a cyUnder partially cut 
away where the platform formed the lower side. It was 
held by Captain Meigs that this shape would diminish 
wind resistance and stresses by fully one-third as 
compared with an ordinary railway car — ^this in the 

The car had 52 independent revolving upholstered 
seats of a type designed by the inventor, who also 
incorporated devices for "securing ventilation at each 
window without the annoyance of entering dust". The 
entire interior surface of the cars was intended to be 
upholstered, except, of course, for the windows. As 
Mr. Galloupe put it: "If it were ever desirable, one 
would become more easily reconciled to rolling down 
an embankment in one of these cars than in that of any 
other known form, for the entire absence of sharp 
comers and salient points is noticeable." 

The locomotive was to be covered in a similar 
almost cylindrical sheath. 

Yet another feature of the Meigs monorail vehicles 
was the automatic couplers, which were of very re- 
markable design. When coupled they interlocked, the 
nose of one drawbar passing into a socket on the next. 
This formed a rigid bar couphng between the end bogies 
of adjacent cars. Hydraidically-operated rods con- 
trolled the coupling hooks, so that the driver could 
uncouple any car in, the train from the locomotive. 

It was suggested that this hydrauUc coupling would 
be of great assistance in the event of an impending 



head-on or rear collision. By uncoupling all cars, 
which entailed a single movement of a lever, the driver 
could divide the train into sections of one car each, 
the brakes of such cars being automatically appUed as 
the couplings parted. A head-on coUision would thus 
be broken down into a series of smaller blows instead 
of a single blow backed by the soUd weight of the 
entire train. 

The brakes were intended to operate on the opposed 
horizontal wheels of the bogies, but could, if required, 
also be fitted to the supporting wheels. Each of the two 
methods of braking the horizontal wheels was con- 
trolled by hydraulic cylinders. 

One method consisted of powerful springs acting on 
toggle-joints in such a manner as to squeeze the rail 
between the horizontal wheels — ^rather as a retarder in 
a marshalling yard squeezes the wheels of the wagons 
passing over it, except that in this case the "squeezed 
member" — ^the rail — ^was stationary and the "squeezing 
members" — ^the wheels — amoving. The other method 
was the more famiUar one of applying brake shoes to 
the wheel rims. The springs were so arranged as to 
tend always to apply the brakes, being held off nor- 
mally by the hydraulic cylinders — ^in fact, a "fail-safe" 

Meigs was well aware that the most efficient braking 
effect is appUed when a wheel is braked to the point of 
almost, but not quite, skidding, and that much of the 
efficiency is lost as soon as a wheel starts to slide. The 
hydrauUcally assisted pressure of the horizontal wheels 
on the track retarded this point of sUpping to well 
beyond the point at which normal adhesion would fail, 
and this increased the efficiency of the braking system. 

In addition to these special brakes, hand brakes were 
fitted to each car. 

The centre of gravity of these cars was claimed to be 
much lower than with ordinary railways on the New 



York Elevated, as it was only a few inches above the 
floor, as compared with the four feet or so of other 
railways. This comparison was perhaps unfair, since 
it coimted height from the top rail and not from the 
bottom. It will be obvious, however, from the method 
of bogie construction, that the cars would have been 
almost impossible to derail. They were claimed to be 
inherently stable, but this again seems unfair, as only 
the special rail formation made them stable. 

A freak of geometrical forces ensured that the track 
was actually safer on curves than on the straight, since 
the form of the girder effectually spread the load. To 
avoid posts on street comers — the Meigs Monorail 
was essentially an "over-street" railway — ^it was found 
possible to support the track on diagonal trusses thrown 
across from opposite comers of the streets. 

Calculations showed that the special arrangements for 
pressing the driving wheels against the rail enabled the 
Meigs 20-ton locomotive to exert as much tractive 
effort without slipping as a noraial 30-ton locomotive. 
This pressure also enabled the driving wheel diameter 
to be increased so as to give greater track speed with no 
increase in piston speed. The inventor predicted that 
his train would achieve working speeds of between 75 
and 100 miles an hour. 

If electric working were to have been employed, it 
would have had similar advantages. 

The weights of the vehicles (in U.S. tons) were as 

Locomotive complete, in working order, 20 tons. 
Tender complete, in working order, 21 tons. 
Passenger car, in working order and loaded, 16 tons. 

One very successful monorail system which ran in 
California for four years seems to be almost unknown, 
yet it was probably the longest and certainly the 
fastest commercially-operated monorail Une ever built, 



although it would probably have counted as a narrow- 
gauge Une had it been of orthodox construction. 

The hne, 30 miles long, was built from Magnesium 
Spur, on the Trona railway, to a deposit of magnesium 
salts in the Crystal Hills, in barren desert south of the 
Wingate Pass into Death Valley. During the First 
World War, these deposits were prospected by the 
American Magnesium Company of Los Angeles, but 
conmaunications presented a problem. The nearest 
place of any size was Randsberg, more than sixty miles 
by the only passable desert tracks and rather more than 
half that distance away in a direct line. 

The ground between Randsberg and the deposits 
was broken and rugged; so it is perhaps not surprising 
that when the decision was made to build a railway to 
the deposits it was also decided that that railway should 
be a monorail line, which would cost less to build over 
country of this sort. The trestle design chosen bore a 
strong resemblance to that of Lartigue, whose mono- 
rails had been used for mining purposes in Europe. 

The track consisted of a series of "A" frame trestles, 
with a single rail at the apex supported by a massive 
timber baulk. These "A" frames were themselves 
supported on rather wider, but lower, timber trestles, 
and horizontal planks ran along the top of the lower 
trestles outside the "A" frames. The "cross-bars" of 
the "A"s were carried outside the inclined side pieces, 
and supported, on each side, a vertical plank. There 
were thus five available continuous surfaces — ^the steel 
rail at the top, a vertical plank on each side perhaps 
2 ft. below the rail, and a horizontal plank on each side 
a foot lower still. In some cases the horizontal planks 
were, in fact, only a few inches above the surface of the 

The steel rail seems to have been in very short lengths 
joined by angled fishplates. As far as can be seen from 
photographs, the rail seems to have been spiked to the 



baulk. All the timber used was Douglas fir, brought by 
water to San Pedro and then on by railway. 

The locomotives and wagons were built on rect- 
angular steel frames, and had double-flanged wheels 
coming up through their centres. The floors of some of 
the vehicles sloped downwards and outwards, following 
the contour of the trestles, so that in effiect each wagon 
had two compartments of triangular section, one on 
each side of the rail. Others, used for timber carrying, 
had a narrower frame to which were riveted steel 
supports following the contour of the trestle downwards 
and forming two planked "steps" on each side. Timber 
could be secured to these by chains. Brakes, appUed 
by handwheels, were fitted to the wagons. The couplings 
used on all roUing stock, including the locomotives, 
were salvaged from scrapped Los Angeles tramcars. 

Of the eight locomotives, seven were driven by 
Fordson tractor engines, the eighth and largest having 
a Buda engine, lie engines drove through chains, 
presumably on to one axle only, but the need for 
adhesion was not very great, as trains usually consisted 
of a locomotive and only one wagon — sometimes two 
wagons. A few trains had two locomotives and three or 
four trailers and must have presented a brave sight. 

It was found that at speeds higher than 15 m.p.h. the 
rolling stock tended to sway, no matter how well- 
balanced; so steel rollers, 8 in. in diameter and 8 in. 
wide, were fitted on short vertical axles so that they 
rolled along the vertical planks on the sides of the "A" 
frames. Thus three of the five potential bearing surfaces 
mentioned were actually used. The rollers were held 
against the vertical planks by springs, and the noise, 
as may be imagined, was very considerable when the 
trains were running at speed. 

The "Magnesium Monorail" or "Epsom Salts Line" 
— called locally the "Fastest Moving Monorail in the 
World" — saw some quite high speeds. The recognized 



top Speed was regarded as 35 m.p.h., but one driver 
covered the 30 miles of line in exactly one hour, which 
suggests a good deal more than 35 m.p.h. at some 

Started in 1922 and finished in 1924, the line cost 
$350,000 to build. Its operating life was short, for the 
mine ceased operation in June 1926, apparently as the 
result of competition from brine-extraction methods of 
obtaining magnesium. In the late 1930s the rails were 
salvaged and sold for scrap, and the longitudinal 
timbers followed suit. In 1958 a long line of "A" frames 
still marched across the wastes to show where the line 
once had run. 

A picturesque Uttle steam monorail line ran for a 
short time in Pennsylvania in the late 1870s. This was 
the Bradford and Foster Brook Railway, better known 
as the "Peg-Leg Railroad". 

The line was built in the style of a monorail shown at 
the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and 
ran from Bradford up the valley of the Foster Brook 
to Gilmour, a distance of some four miles. 

The railway was proposed in 1877, the articles of 
agreement between the members of the railway com- 
pany being dated 2 October 1877. The company's 
charter was granted only two days later, and with 
Colonel A. L. Wilcox as President the company started 
on the construction of the line. After some of the usual 
troubles, especially with owners of land needed for the 
right of way, biiilding was pushed ahead; the line 
reached Tarport (now East Bradford) by January 
1878, and was opened to trafiic. At that time Tarport 
had a population of 900. The whole line was open by 
1 1 February of the same year. 

In that month EU Perkins rode over the Bradford and 
Foster Brook, and he has left the following account: 

"The cars run astride an elevated track on a single 
rail. The rail is nailed to a single wooden stringer 


(Above) Side view of Meigs monorail car. 

(Right) Cross-section of a Meigs monorail car. Note 
the inclined and horizontal wheels and the "padded- 
cell" type of upholstery, (lllusimrions from a paper 
by Francis E. Galloupe lo the American Society of 
Mechanical Engineers, 1886) 

(Below) Artist's impression of the Meigs monorail 
at East Cambridge in the 1880s. Note the stream- 
lining, inclined wheels, and the "ship's bridge" 
driving position. 

[Top) Locomotive on ihc Feurs- 

Panissieres Lariigue monorail line in 

France (1894). 

(Centre) The original locomotive on 
the Bradford & Foster Brook Rail- 
way, Note thesuperficial resemblance 
to a Lartigue locomotive. (Photo: 
Courtesy Charles E. Keevit) 

(Below) Locomotive for the Bradford 
& Foster Brook Railway or "Peg- 
Leg" Railroad, The photograph is 
from an old newspaper — hence the 
poor quality. 


which rests on top of piles. So evenly balanced is the 
train that passing over a pond or creek at the rate of 
twenty miles an hour, the water is hardly disturbed. 
The motive for building is economy, the price per 
mile being $3,000 and the cost of a ten-ton locomotive 
$3,000. Tlie locomotive is a queer-looking thing. An 
Irishman here compared it to a pair of boots swimg 
over a clothes line. The boiler is without flue, the engine 
without a piston and the driver [driving wheel] without 
a crank. I rode with General Stone round comers and 
up steep grades at 30 miles an hour." 

The reference to General Stone seems to link the 
railway even more closely with the Philadelphia Ex- 
position, for Stone exhibited a monorail line there. 
According to accounts seen by the author, however, 
it was a much more massive affair, and had a double- 
deck passenger carriage. Nevertheless, that line used a 
rotary-engined locomotive and so did the Bradford and 
Foster Brook. It may well have been the same one, 
which would suggest that General Stone was the man 
who built the Bradford and Foster Brook. 

The Bradford and Foster Brook — ^we may as well 
call it the "Peg-Leg", as did the local inhabitants — ^had 
stations at Bradford, Tarport, Foster Brook, Babcock's 
Mill, Harrisburg Run, and Derrick City. In charge of 
George Grogan, the conductor, the Uttle train made 
two return trips daily at first. 

Technically successful as the Peg-Leg may have been, 
any hopes of commercial success must have been 
affected by the fact that the line ran parallel to a narrow- 
gauge orthodox railway, with stations at the same 
places. Not unnaturally, the narrow-gauge was not 
prepared to leave the field to the monorail, and some 
healthy competition in fares started — soon the fare of 
40 cents had come down to 25 cents and ten return 
trips a day were being made. 

Also, the rotary-engined locomotive proved un- 

97 G 


satisfactory, and a slightiy more orthodox locomotive 
was ordered — ^if anything about this line could be 
orthodox. It proved to weigh 15 tons when it came from 
the makers (Baldwin's according to some accounts, 
Gibbs & Sterrett according to others), and was heavy 
enough to put a considerable strain on the track 

To quote from Historical Bradford (1901): 

"Races between the Peg-Leg and the Narrow Gauge 
were frequent. The spectacle was worth witnessing. The 
Narrow Gauge, its bantam locomotive puffing and 
snorting like an overtrained race-horse, and the Peg- 
Leg with its unique equipment which an Irishman 
wittily described as *a train of cars running on a fence' 
humming round the snaky curves like a bicycle scorcher 
on the home stretch, unquestionably was a sight that 
afforded the passengers plenty of diversion. But while 
the Uttie road was a novelty, it was not practicable when 
measured by cold-blooded business standards. . . ." 

The end of the Peg-Leg came on the morning of 
27 January 1879, when the 15-ton "upright" locomotive 
was coupled to a passenger car and a flat wagon and 
set off along the line. Not far from Babcock there was 
a boiler explosion, and the passenger and freight 
vehicles crashed into the creek alongside, while the 
locomotive turned over on its side. Five men were 
killed and others were badly injured, among the dead 
being George Grogan; Charles Shepard, the Super- 
intendent; Michael Hollevan, the fireman; and Thomas 
Luby, the driver. Among those injured was a man 
named Sterrett, which lends credence to the school 
which declares the locomotive to have been by Gibbs & 
Sterrett. The locomotive is said to have been under- 
going trials at the time, and the names of the killed and 
injured suggest that this is probably true, particularly as 
the Superintendent and Sterrett were on board. 

The Peg-Leg could not survive this disaster. In 



February 1879 it was sold to Allen & Skidmore, and 
in March 1880 sold again by the Sheriff to A. J. 
Edgett of Bradford and completely abandoned. 

Writing in 1901, the author of Historical Bradford 
declared that few, if any, of the old piles which marked 
the right of way were then standing, and "with the 
exception of the few survivors of that final trip, and a 
printed sketch, here and there, Uttle remains to remind 
the resident of Bradford today of its existence". 




A PASSENGER-CARRYING monorail system which 
had a short but exciting career ran in 1910 
between Bartow Station on the New York, New 
Haven and Hartford Railroad and City Island (Mar- 
shall's Comer), a distance of 1^ miles. It was known 
as the Pelham Park and City Island Railroad. 

The design, first seen at the Jamestown Exposition in 
1907, was by H. H. Tunis, and consisted of a single rail 
laid on short sleepers inside a framework known 
locally as the "grape-arbour". Rather flimsy braced 
steel "A" structures, arranged in pairs on opposite 
sides of the track, carried between them wooden cross- 
beams to which were attached, on the lower side, 
continuous angle-bars about 2 ft. apart. Spacers were 
provided at intervals to maintain the gauge of the bars, 
and there were also Ught diagonal bracings. Such 
photographs as the author has seen suggest that these 
pairs of "A" frames were provided at intervals of about 
50 ft., but they may have been closer on curves — and 
there were many curves on this short line. 

The car — ^there was only one, known to all as the 
"Flying Lady" — ^had four double-flanged wheels in line, 
running on the single rail. The driving motors were 
gearless, and were mounted on an extension of the axle 
outside the bogie frame, making them easily accessible 
for maintenance purposes. On the top of the car were 
two "bogies", each with four horizontal wheels on the 
ends of a framework in the shape of St. Andrew's 
(diagonal) Cross. These wheels, popularly known as 



"ears", ran inside the angle irons attached to the cross- 
beams of the "A" frames, and gave the car the necessary 
stability at low speeds. The car narrowed at the ends 
to a sharp prow and stem, and had rows of glass 
windows along the side — ^in fact, from the side it might 
have been taken for a noraial single-deck tramcar. 

This impression would have vanished if the car had 
been seen moving. This car was built for speed, and the 









Fig. 1. The Tunis overhead balanced monorail 

track was designed for a car travelling at speed. Any 
speed limits would have forbidden faUing below a 
given speed rather than rising above it. 

The line was built by August Belmont, who had 
seen the prototype car work at the Jamestown Exposi- 
tion. He was impressed by the car's performance, and 



especially by the way in which the overhead giiide rails 
caused the car to "bank" on curves so that they could 
be taken at full speed. This feature was the secret of 
the car's performance, but was also to prove its down- 

One morning in April 1910, the car was ready for its 
first oflScial trip down the track which had been laid 
on the route of the old horse tramway, in which 
Belmont had acquired a controUing interest. He had 
then obtained, in 1909, the consent of the PubUc 
Service Commission to the building of the new Une. 

Reports say that the car Usted ominously as it took 
on its load of notabiUties at Bartow Station. It started 
shakily, steadied as it gained speed, and hurtled round 
the first curve at 50 miles an hour. In one and a half 
minutes it was at Marshall's Comer, having covered 
the li miles, from a standing start to a stop, in even 
time. This performance would be almost incredible 
even today, and the car did it every day for four months, 
shuttling backwards and forwards between Marshall's 
Comer and Bartow Station. Unfortunately, there had 
been something of a scramble to finish the line before 
the franchise expired, and the "A" frames and angle- 
irons of the track, the "grape-arbour", were not as 
strong as they should have been. Spikes were used 
instead of screws to hold the structure together, while 
sleepers were left on the surface instead of being sunk 
into the road-bed. Also, the sleepers were too short, and 
the road-bed was too narrow to support even the short 

Something was bound to happen, and it did. On 
17 July 1910, the car left the sin^e raU and subsided on 
its beam, "ears" pointed up to the sky. It was crowded 
with 100 passengers, some of whom were injured, and 
the legal battles which followed were so costly that the 
line could never be repaired. The car was broken up 
where it had crashed. 



The official investigation showed that a motorman 
had slowed down on a curve to be taken at 55 m.p.h. 
to only 45 m.p.h. Feeling the lack of stability — ^because 
of the loss of centrifugal force — ^he made matters worse 
by slowing still more. At 30 m.p.h. the "ears" of the 
leaning car slipped out of the angle bars, which, 
weakened by poor construction of the frames, could 
no longer support them. There is a suggestion that the 
weight of the car caused the inadequate sleepers to 
move sideways. 

Whatever the truth of the matter, it was the end of 
the City Island monorail. Had construction equalled 
design, it might have been running still. Certainly 
nothing like it has been known since as regards 

Yet another monorail was mentioned in the study of 
recent means of transport submitted by Signor R. 
Maestrelli, General Manager of the Azienda Tranviaria 
Municipale Milano, to the 32nd International Congress 
of the International Union of Public Transport in 1957. 
(This report is of the greatest interest to anyone in- 
terested in new means of urban transport, and the 
author hereby acknowledges his debt to Signor R. 
Maestrelli for bringing several new systems to his 

This monorail system, advocated by the U.S. Mono- 
rail Corporation, was basically similar to those of 
Kearney and Hastings, and to that used for the City 
Island monorail, in that it had a single running raU 
below, and another supporting and guiding rail above. 
Perhaps the most notable feature was a lattice-girder 
track structure. Two lattice pylons were to be placed 
on each side of a central reserved strip in a road. Each 
would have been about 2 ft. 6 in. wide at the base and 
25 ft. high. Another lattice girder stretched between 
the two pylons at their top and extended over the road- 
way on each side. Fifteen feet from the ground, another 



cross-piece projected out to each side. This carried the 
running rails at its outer ends, and the upper cross- 
piece carried the guiding and supporting rsols. There 
was thus provision for two tracks, one on each side of 
the pylon structure. These structures would have been 
placed about 50 ft. apart to make the main supports for 
the rail. Signor Maestrelli does not say how the rails 
were to be supported between pylons, and the author 
has not been able to find this out from any other source 
as yet. The obvious manner, bearing the pylon structure 
in mind, would be upper and lower lattice girders. 
The cars would have been supported on rubber-tyred 
wheels, and presumably would have picked up electric 
current from a troUey-wire on the overhead structure. 
Two-car trains seating 78 and with room for 174 
standing were envisaged. The stations would have 
been in the middle of the road, between the two main 
uprights of the pylon structure, and would have been 
reached by subways from the pavements. 

The system is stated to have been considered for 
Detroit and Los Angeles. No date is given for this 
system, but it seems probable that, were it being put 
forward today, the lattice structure would be replaced 
by something in reinforced concrete or Ught metal. 
Undoubtedly, also, the structure would have to be 
raised to bring the lower part of the track structure 
more than 15 ft. above street level. 

The monorail proposed by Senator Hastings — ^for 
many years a State Senator of New York — ^was very 
similar to the Kearney system (see Unusual Railways) 
in that it had a supporting rail below the cars and a 
stabilizing rail above. In the last reported version, the 
running rail was embedded in rubber and carried on 
pre-stressed concrete beams. The system was widely 
known as the Hastings "Railplane" — ^no doubt derived 
from the Bennie "Railplane" tried out in Scotland. 

Senator Hastings has since abandoned this idea in 



favour of a conventional two-rail track with somewhat 
unconventional cars. 

The original Alweg scheme and the trials with scale 
models at Cologne-Fuhhngen were described in Un- 
usual Railways. Since then, the Alweg organisation has 
produced a new type of vehicle, based on the old in 
certain respects, which has been built and tested as a 
full-scale project. 

The new version is intended primarily for urban 
transport, and, Uke the earUer version, uses a massive 
concrete beam as the track. Like the earUer cars, the 
new vehicles sit Uke a saddle over this beam. The full- 
scale demonstration track built at Ffihlingen is about 
li miles in length, and includes curves of varying radii. 
There is a station, or roofed boarding platform, and a 
double-track section is included to demonstrate the 
Alweg type of points. 

mohntedon pillars. Each beam section is inst over 49 
:t. in length, 4 ft. 6 in. deep, and 2 ft 6 in. high (actual 
^ize 1 s mfttmQ inny 1 -4 pft tres deep, and 0-80 metres 
^de). py making the beams hollow, t he weight of each \ 
has be^ reaucea to about 28 lom. The t3eamt{ aipw 
made by a special vacuum method within steel shu ttery 
ing, and a beam can be produced in only five hours./TBe 
beams are cast in an inverted position. The shuttering 
can be adjusted as required to form curved beams, 
with a minimum radius of curvature of 650 ft. The 
beams are vibrated during casting. Roughly one cubic 
yard of concrete is required per yard of track beam. 

Two tvT >ft» nf piers have been developed for support - 
ing fiiA K^g^cj^ H ^^ so-called ''fixed" and **pend^ m'' 
p^prs. T he fixed piers are intended primarily for support- 
ing double track, beam expansion being accommodated 
by the use of expansion joints. The "pendulum*' piers 
are designed to allow a number of beams to be connected 
rigidly, with expansion joints spaced at, say, six beam 



lengths apart. The intermediate piers supporting these 
rigid lengths are free to move in accordance with the 
expansion or contraction of the beam. Although 
concrete pillars are envisaged as more or less standard, 
steel pillars can be used if required, and where the line 
crosses a road, railway, or river by a bridge the track 
beam can be incorporated in the main bridge structure. 

Pillar foundations are about 13 ft. square, and the 
concrete pillars weigh 11^ tons. The maximum load on 
a column is about 64 tons. 

The erection of the Une and the transport of the pre- 
formed parts is simplified by the use of specially-built 
vehicles. There need be very Uttle hindrance to street 
trafiic when an Alweg line is erected along a thorough- 
fare, and it is rarely necessary to rope off a section of the 
highway. If required, the beams can be built out from 
an existing section by means of tackle placed on the 
last beam laid, the apparatus being moved forward 
beam by beam as erection proceeds. Experience gained 
with the building of the trial line has shown that, using 
mobile cranes, a line can be built at a speed of 50 ft. 
an hour (one beam). This speed is only possible when 
parts have already been stacked in readiness along the 

One of the greatest difiiculties with a monorail line, 
and especially one with a track as massive as the 
concrete beams of the Alweg system, is the provision 
of points to enable the train to run from one track to 
another. The solution as far as Alweg is concerned is 
to have a beam section mounted to allow a rotational 
movement about a vertical axis. This permits the 
normal straight section of concrete beam to be swung 
aside and replaced by a curved section (which can be 
steel). The points are about 48 ft. in length, and are 
carried, resting on wheeled chassis, on a series of 
auxiliary pillars. The pillars have a suitable track on 
their top faces, and the points can be electrically or 



hydraulically pushed to one side or the other. Another 
solution to the points problem is reported as being a 
"Biegeweiche" or flexible tube member strong enough 
to support the train but capable of being bent to connect 
with the appropriate track; still another is a section of 
beam divided into several sections, each capable of 
swinging to one side or the other and making a curve 
formed of short straight sections — ^rather Uke the 
coaches of a train going round a curve. It would be 
possible to move this jointed section to meet the 
appropriate track. 

The speed of operation of the points, which would 
need to travel something over 7 ft., would be about 15 

Stations would be supported on columns of their 
own, not connected in any way with the columns 
supporting the track beam. In view of the height above 
ground, the platform would be fenced all round, except 
for openings on the track side arranged to coincide 
with the doors of the trains. A nylon safety net would 
be stretched below the track at stations in case a 
passenger should fall. 

The trains consist of either two or three articulated 
cars, but, given sufficient platform space at stations, a 
fourth car can be added if required. The train of three 
cars is 96 ft. 6 in. long, made up of two cars each just 
over 33 ft. long and a centre car just over 30 ft. in 
length. All cars are 9 ft. 9 in. wide. A certain amount of 
seating space is lost where housings for the running 
wheels protrude into the cars, so that the seating 
capacity of a three-car set is only 76. Standing capacity 
brings the total number of passengers up to a possible 

As these trains are intended for urban service, the 
high speeds aimed at with the earUer type of Alweg cars 
(and actually achieved with the large-scale trial train) 
are not necessary, and the present trains are designed 



to attain a speed of 50 m.p.h., reaching this speed in 
1,300 ft. An average acceleration rate of 3-3 m.p.h. 
per second and a braking rate of 4 m.p.h. per second 
is aimed at, but an emergency braking rate of 5-5 
m.p.h. per second is possible 

Electric traction is used, current being suppUed from 
rails running along the sides of the main track beam, 
which is recessed somewhat between the upper and 
lower wheel tracks, of which more later. Current supply 
is at 1,200 v.; and 600-V., 160-h.p. motors are used 
connected in pairs in series. The three-car train has six 
axles, four of which are motored. This gives 640 h.p. 
for an empty train weight of 28 tons, or 49 tons loaded 
to full capacity with 300 passeiigers. Diesel traction can 
be used if required. 

The train proper sits on top of the concrete beam, 
carried on 12 pneumatic-tyred wheels on six axles. 
These wheels have steel cord tyres 13-00 x 20, and are 
inflated to 176 lb. per sq. in. Traction power is also 
appUed to these wheels. On the side of the track beam, 
at the top and bottom, are smooth running surfaces for 
guide wheels, which give the train its stabiUty and guide 
it along the track. These wheels, which are covered by 
fairings, also hav? pneumatic tyres, somewhat smaller 
than those of the running wheels — 8-25 x 15 — ^and 
inflated to only 147 lb. per sq. in. The maximum rating 
of the running tyres is 10,000 lb., so it will be seen that 
when the train is loaded to capacity the tyres are work- 
ing at very nearly their maximum rated load. Even so, 
the life of the main running tyres is estimated at 
60,000 miles — ^and then they can be retreaded. Emer- 
gency runners enable a train with a deflated tyre to be 
run to a suitable place to get it off* the main track. The 
rubber tyres enable gradients as steep as 1 in 8 to be 

A Bosch air brake system is used, in which disc 
brakes, subject to continuous appUcation pressure from 



a Spring, are held in the "oflF" position by compressed 
air. Should the air supply fail, the brakes are applied 
automatically by the springs. 

(Most of the details of the new design of car come 
from the report of a commission from Sao Paulo 
which visited the Cologne-Fiihlingen installation when 
the monorail system was considered for Sao Paulo. 
Much of the report was printed in Engenharia (Febru- 
ary, 1958) and reprinted in City & Suburban Travel, the 
valuable little journal issued by the Transit Research 
Foundation of Los Angeles Inc., each month.) 

The track for the Cologne installation was manu- 
factured in the workshops of Alweg-Forschung 
G.m.b.H. on the test site at Fiihlingen by Hocktief 
A.G.; Philipp Holzman, A.G.; and Strabag-Bau A.G. 
The cars are by Linke-Hofmann-Busch, Salzgitter- 
Watenstadt, and electrical equipment by the firm of 
Kiepe, Diisseldorf-Reisholz. 

The Califomian Press reported at the end of 1958 
that a 3,600-ft. Alweg line was to be installed in Disney- 
land, the fantastic showplace which already has several 
trains on a 3/5 full-size scale. The line was opened in 
1959 with two three-car trains each seating 82 pas- 
sengers. There is about a mile of track, substantially simi- 
lar to that needed for the normal urban Alweg system. 

In Unusual Railways, it was stated that the Alweg 
Monorail Corporation (Bahamas) had been awarded a 
contract to rebuild the entire public transport system 
of the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on the Alweg system. 
This was quite true at the time that book went to the 
printer, but a peculiar situation has arisen in that 
although the City of Sao Paulo gave preliminary appro- 
val, the State, which has to approve such contracts, 
did not do so. Instead, the matter was referred to a 
Commission of the Instituto de Engenharia, a combined 
technical and professional society of engineers. Accord- 
ing to reports, this commission did not favour the Alweg 



system, and after reconsideration, a committee was 
sent to Cologne to study the system on the trial ground 
at Fiihlingen. It is from the report of this committee 
that much of the information about the new system 
has been taken. The situation in Sao Paulo is far from 
clear, but it is reported that bids for an underground 
railway system have been invited. A similar situation 
exists in Caracas, where monorail (not necessarily 
Alweg) and underground railway interests have been 
called in in connection with the new transport system 
for that city. 

A number of designs for special transport systems — 
six monorails and a "Carveyor" — ^have been put 
forward for the Seattle Century 21 Exposition, due to 
open on 10 May 1961, and to continue for 18 months. 
The requirement was for a system to carry passengers 
from a point in the centre of the Seattle hotel district 
near Pine Street and Westlake Avenue, to the exhibition 
grounds, which cover 74 acres and are just over a mile 
away. No intermediate stations were required, and the 
passenger load was expected to remain reasonably 
constant during the hours of operation, thus avoiding 
peak-hour problems. The line had to be bxiilt in time 
for the exhibition and removed after it finished. It was 
to earn its cost in the eighteen months of operation. 

Several systems were put forward to meet these 
requirements, and the one chosen was that proposed 
by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.* Although some 
features of the Lockheed system are based on the 
unusual requirements of this particular project, the 
original conception of this Lockheed saddle-type mono- 
rail arose from the desire of the Corporation to be able 
to offer to air passengers a faster means of transport 
on the ground. 

The track is a box girder or beam of considerable 

*As the final proofs of this book were passed, there were reports from the 
U.S.A. that this system might not, after all, be the one to be chosen. 



size, 10 in. wide at the top and widening to 18 in. at 
the bottom, and 40 in. deep. A single standard-type 
rail is mounted on the top of this beam to carry the 
main load-bearing wheels. There are also side rails on 
which run guide wheels. 

The track beam will be supported by *T"-shaped 
structures built down the middle of Fifth Avenue. 
Each arm of the "T" holds one track — one for inbound 
and the other for outbound trains. The supports will 
be 85 ft. apart. At the terminals, the line descends to 
low level, and loops of 70-ft. radius will enable the 
trains to turn back. One set of points only will be 
provided, and this will be at the outer terminal. It 
will lead into a surface track passing into the shops of 
the Seattle Transit System, where the trains will be 
stored. The tracks wUl be almost 20 ft. above street 
level, giving a clearance of at least 16 ft. from the 
bottom of the cars. 

Tracks, supporting structures, stations, and founda- 
tions, will be the responsibility of the Vinnell Company, 
Inc., of Alhambra, California, which is working with 
Lockheed on the development of the system. 

The cars will have the inverted "U" shape necessary 
to enable them to fit over the rail beam. Carrying on the 
aircraft simile, the designers have tried to give the 
illusion of "flight" by making the driving compartment 
resemble the nose of an air liner. It even has aircraft- 
type controls and instrument panels. The front ends of 
the passenger compartments are made to resemble jet 
engine air intakes. 

Because of the single-ended operation made possible 
by the loops, fixed transverse seats facing forward can 
be used, and six double seats are placed on each side 
of the track beam. The top of the central arch of the car, 
through which the beam passes, is roughly on a level 
with the seat backs, so that there is no effective com- 
munication between one side of the car and the other. 


(Above) Artist's impression of a Lartigue line as it miglit have been but 

never was. Note ^e absence of stabilising rails and the simple track 


(Below) The "Magnesium Monorail" opened in 1924 in the Califomian 

desert to exploit a deposit of magnesium salts. 

(Below, ri^A/) Another photograph of the "Magnesium Monorail" showing 

the way in which the cars fitted over the track. (Photos: American 

Potash & Chemical Corporation) 

Close-up of part of the beam track 
of the Alweg experimental line at 
Cologne- Fiihlingen. {Photo: Alweg) 

Artist's impression of the Lockhee 
monorail line to be built in SeattI 
for the Century 21 Exposition i 
1961. (Courtesy of Lockheed Aircra 

{Below) Alweg supported monorail train on the trial track at Cologne- 
Fiihlingen. {Photo: Alweg) 


The cars are 21 ft. 9 in. long, 9 ft. 6 in. wide, and 6 ft. 
7 in. high. The empty weight is just under 2J tons. The 
front car is lengthened by the projecting aircraft-type 
nose to 24 ft. 

Entrance to these cars is by a lifting side. This gives 
access to all seats on that side, and when the sides are 
down passengers are confined to their own seats, as 
there are no aisles in the cars. Standing passengers will 
not be allowed. 

The power units are mounted in a housing behind the 
driving compartment and running along the centre of 
the car between the passenger compartments. The 
electric motors, fed with direct current at 600 V. from 
the lines of the Seattle Transit System, will be of 25- 
h.p. continuous rating. Control will be of rheostatic 
type, and there will be dynamic as well as air braking. 
Top speed is expected to be about 60 m.p.h. 

The wheels are at the ends of the cars. There will be 
two flangeless main carrying wheels and eight guide 
wheels per car. 

The trains are to be operated automatically, but an 
attendant will ride in the cab of each train and be able 
to take control in emergency. Should an emergency 
arise, passengers can cross from one train to another 
on the opposite track when the lifting doors of both 
are opened, and there is space for passengers in the side 
compartment on the outside to crawl across the main 
track beam through the connecting portion of the car 
above the rail. 

It is expected that trains of three or four cars will be 
run, and four or five trains will be in service. The 
journey will be made in 93 seconds, and the train will 
stand for 30 seconds at the two terminal stations. 

Even load distribution will be obtained by directing 
passengers up either one or the other of the ramps 
leading to the two platforms serving the two sides of 
the trains. 

113 H 


The system as put forward includes automatic block 
signalling, speed control, and braking as well as radiant 
heating, indirect lighting, sound-proofing, and public 
address apparatus. The capacity would be 8,640 seats 
an hour each way. 

The cost is estimated at $5,000,000, and the line is 
expected to be in operation by 1 November 1960, six 
months before the exhibition itself opens. 

Speaking on the grant of the contract to his company, 
Mr. Cyril ChappeUet, Senior Vice President of Lock- 
heed, stated that the Lockheed design was concerned 
with providing a system to meet future mass transit 
requirements, with "airtrains" adaptable to less costly 
ground-level operation in imcongested areas as well as 
flexibility for above-street-level or subway (under- 
ground) operation in densely developed sections. 

It was also concerned with using "weight economies" 
inherent in aircraft design and construction, thus 
promoting speed and operational economies while 
presenting a pleasing, functional appearance of the 
train and its lighter-weight supporting structures. 
Another point, he stated, was the reduction of time 
losses in passenger loading and unloading, while in- 
creasing boarding and debarking safety — critical prob- 
lems in rapid transit. 

Finally, there was the aim of optimizing passenger 
comfort by using highly-efiective acoustical materials 
for reduction of sound levels; eliminating working 
flanges on wheels for increased quietness, and capitaliz- 
ing on the supported monorail's characteristics of 
minimum sway on curves; safety by being raised above 
the level of siuface traffic; and availabiUty of a pano- 
ramic view upwards and to the sides with no supporting 
arches or colunms to obscure the view. 

"We are optimistic about the future of monorails for 
urban travel, for speeding passengers to and from 
airports, for moving people and cargo within the 



confines of airports themselves, and for other uses/' 
said Mr. Chappellet. 

In May-June 1959, the Lockheed Aircraft Corpora- 
tion presented a monorail plan to the Los Angeles 
Board of Supervisors. The plan envisages a monorail 
network with trains running at up to 75 m.p.h. An 
express system would run over a 20-8-mile route from 
West Covina into the city, with stops every two miles, 
except that the last six miles into the city would be run 
non-stop. The 20-8 miles would be covered in 26 

A "local" train, with frequent stops, will also cover 
the last six miles into the city, taking about 20 minutes 
for the trip. 

The cost is reported as $1,500,000 to $3,000,000 a 
mile, compared with $9,000,000 a mile for "freeways" 
(multi-lane roads) and $11,000,000 a mile for under- 
ground railways. 

The Lockheed Corporation suggests that with mono- 
rail lines built along the four main "corridors" running 
from downtown Los Angeles to West Covina, Santa 
Monica, Reseda, and Long Beach, some 15 per cent 
of all commuters could be carried by the monorails 
during the peak morning and evening travel hours. 

Just as this book went to the publishers, it was 
learned from America that Lockheed have released 
information on a new design saddle-type monorail 
which, apparently, will have a floor level over the 
running beam, with casings covering the nmning 
wheels as in the Alweg design. Cars seating 60 and 
with room for 40 standing passengers are to be used, 
and an unverified report states that the opening sides 
as proposed for Seattle are to be dropped in favour of 
more conventional doors. 

It may not be generally realized that a form of freight 
monorail is in commercially successful operation every 
day in conditions ranging from the heat of Central 



Africa to the cold of the Arctic Circle, from the Persian 
Gulf to Australasia. This is the Mono-Rail transporter, 
claimed by its makers, Road Machines (Drayton) Ltd., 
of West Drayton, Middlesex, England, to be the cheap- 
est form of material transporter for construction sites 
yet devised. 

It can in fact, be used for a variety of purposes other 
than on buUding sites— carrying agricultural produce 
or pipes, for example. It will be seen that this system 
follows the trae Une of monorail development, for 
Palmer's monorail of 1825 carried bricks across the 
Cheshunt marshes and Lartigue's eariy lines carried 
esparto grass. 

The Mono-Rail transporter is working in Britain, 
the U.S.A., Canada, Scandinavia, Europe, the Middle 
East, India, Malaya, Australia, New Zealand and 
elsewhere. Not only is it a highly successful monorail 
railway system, but it works without a driver. 

The track consists of series of 12-ft. rails, which have 
a formed running head and channel section projections 
at the bottom of each rail which form running surfaces 
for the stabilizing and guiding wheels. The rails are 9 in. 
deep from the top running surface to the base. There is 
a simple pin and socket arrangement which enables 
rails to be connected very easily. Two men can carry 
the first rail to a site, where its outer end is dropped on 
to a stand. 

These stands are 2 ft. wide, 1 ft. high, and 9 in. deep, 
and have independently-adjustable legs, which can 
thus be made to support the track in a vertical position 
even on uneven or sloping ground. The maximum 
height adjustment of these low stands is 6 in., but two 
sets of high-level stands, adjustable from 1 ft. to 2 ft. 
6 in., and 2 ft. 6 in. to 4 ft. 6 in. respectively, are avail- 
able. Each rail weighs 164 lb., and the three types of 
stands weigh 35, 58, and 90 lb. respectively. A recently- 
introduced extra-high stand can raise the rail to 6 ft. 



A greater height can be obtained for special purposes 
by using scaflFolding as a support. 

Once the first rail has been mounted, a second one is 
brought up, and the pins at its one end are dropped into 
the sockets in the end of the first rail. The second rail 
has sockets at the other end; the pins of a third rail go 
into these, and so on. A stand is fitted at the end of each 
rail, so that there is a stand every 12 ft. These stands 
are, in effect, sleepers. Curved rails 6 ft. in length are 
available to a standard radius of 12 ft. 

An improved box type of rail is also available in 
stock lengths giving 6 ft. and 12 ft. between the centres 
of stands. About 100 yd. of this track can be laid by 
two men in half an hour under average conditions. 
Once the first four rail lengths have been laid, the power 
wagon can be mounted on the track and used to carry 
the rest of the rails and stands to the end of the line as 
it progresses. Buffers are available, and also automatic 
stops which fit in any one of three positions to any rail 
and so can stop the power wagon when travelling in 
either direction. 

One difficulty with monorails has always been the 
provision of points, but foot-operated points are 
available for this system. They consist of a length of 
rail pivoted at one end and moving across from the 
main to the branch rail under pressure from a foot 
pedal. These points are very simple indeed, and an 
8-ft. pair wei^s only 200 lb. 

The trains consist of a power wagon and one or two 
trailers. The power wagons are 8 ft. 6 in. overall length, 
and have a stout frame or chassis to carry the body. At 
each end is a nmning unit consisting of a double- 
flanged wheel running on top of the rail, and two smaller 
wheels running on the side projections of the rail. The 
distance between roller centres is 6 ft. 8 in. Two smaU 
rollers run also on each side of the rolled top of the rail. 
Above the main running wheel at one end is mounted 



a 420-c.c. petrol engine, which drives the wheel through 
a gearbox incorporating two single-plate clutches 
operated by duplicated levers giving forward and 
reverse. "Stop'* and forward and reverse controls are 
provided. For tunnelling work and other conditions 
where a petrol engine is not desirable, it is possible to 
use a battery to power an electric motor, or to fit a 
pick-up arrangement for a Uve rail or cable. A single- 
shoe friction-type brake is fitted which can be operated 
either manually or automatically. 

Power wagons and trailers carry double side-tipping 
skips capable of carrying about 2,000 lb. in weight. 
The cubic capacity is something like 14 cu. ft. These 
skips can be replaced by bottom-discharge skips, flat 
platform bodies, or cradle bodies for pipe carrying. 

The power wagon alone can climb a gradient of 
1 in 12, or 1 in 18 with one trailer. The operating speed 
is about 3J miles per hour. The trailers are of similar 
construction to the power cars. 

Mono-Rail transporters were used in the construc- 
tion of the Stockholm Underground Railway Extension, 
so that it could be said that the first railway vehicles to 
pass through some of the Stockholm tunnels were 
monorail cars. 

More recently a new hydrauUc Mono-Rail transporter 
car has appeared. With this, the power of the 420-c.c. 
petrol engine is transmitted to two driving wheels by 
means of a pump and two hydraulic motors, eUminating 
gearboxes and improving performance. 

The engine and capacity are similar to those of the 
Mk. I type, but the brakes consist of a double-shoe 
external-contracting brake incorporated in the hydraulic 
system, giving complete control of the over-run. The 
power wagon can be stopped automatically or by hand, 
and there are duplicated operating levers giving 
"forward" or "reverse". 

The performance on gradients is rather better with 



this hydraulic model, which can climb a gradient of 
1 in 9 by itself, or 1 in 17 with one trailer or 1 in 28 
with two trailers. 

Special monorail bridges, in lengths of 24, 30, and 36 
ft., are available for this very complete system. 

As already stated, this system is in use all over the 
world, but an example of its use in connection with 
main-line railway work was seen at Plymouth in 1958, 
when a new wing and retaining wall were being built by 
the engineers of the Western Region of British Railways 
during alterations at Plymouth North Road Station. 

A cutting slope some 20 ft. high had to be excavated, 
but its toe was so close to the main line that none of the 
conventional methods of spoil disposal could be used. 

A narrow path cut out of the face of the cutting, 
however, enabled a monorail track to be laid from the 
foot of the slope to a level just above a rake of open 
wagons standing in a siding beyond the end of the 
slope. Sleepers were then laid across the tops of the 
wagons, and the monorail track was continued across 
the wagons themselves, ending in an auto-stop at the 
far end of the rake. 

The trains consisted of the power car and two 
trailers, which, when loaded at the foot of the slope, 
were allowed to travel unattended up the long slope 
and on to the wagons, where two skips were tipped into 
the end wagon, over which they stood, and the third 
skip into the adjoining wagon. The round trip for the 
skips took about 4 minutes; only one man was necessary 
at the wagon end to tip the skips, alter the position of 
the auto-stop as required, and level out the spoil in 
the wagons. 

The monorail line was extended at a later stage to 
take materials to a concrete mixer and bring mixed 
concrete from it. The Western Region also used the 
monorail apparatus in filling up a disused cutting at 
Plymouth Friary. 




IN the early 1800s, Ritter von Baader wrote a book, 
called Neues System Der Fortschaffenden Mechanik. 
In this book, he put forward a railway system of his 
own invention which would allow road-raU vehicles to 
be used. He considered it essential that freight vehicles 
should be able to move on the roads as well as on rails, 
and gave it as his opinion that this system would be 
economically superior to the English conception of 
exclusively railbome vehicles. 

Thus, at a time when railways were still compara- 
tively few, Baader was reconmiending the door-to-dodr, 
without transhipment, principle which the railways of 
today, with "piggy-back" and container methods, are 
still trying to achieve satisfactorily. Baader wanted 
freight vehicles to be able to use railways over the 
trunk portions of their routes, thus gaining the ad- 
vantages of moving in bulk trains instead of as in- 
dividual vehicles. His freight carriers would have had 
road wheels, and would have been guided by rollers 
engaging with a single central rail. Several systems 
using the same principle were described in Unusual 

Although Ritter von Baader was the first, apparently, 
to advocate the interchangeable road-rail vehicle for 
freight, it should be recorded that that astonishing 
Comishman Richard Trevithick (1771-1833), who in- 
vented or proposed so many things, was advocating at 
the very beginning of the 19th century that road buses 
should be capable of running on rails. As he produced 


Jo Board of Trade Rules, 

notice shall state the place or places at which the plans of the 
tramway to be authorised by such Bill have been or will be 

Similar notice must also be given to county justices and 
to proprietors of navigable rivers in respect of their 
bridges or other works which are proposed to be crossed 
or otherwise interfered with. 

Every notice under this rule must be accompanied by 
a copy of Rule XVIL, omitting the first paragraph, and 
must stat^ where copies of the draft Provisional Order, 
when deposited at the Board of Trade, can be obtained. 

The modes of effecting the service of the notices are : — 

1. Personally. 

2. By leaving them at the usual place of abode. 

3. By Post. 

The first two methods are generally adopted, but when the notices 
have to be served at a distance the third method will be found con- 
venient. When the third method is adopted the notices must be sent 
by post in rejg^stered letters addressed with a sufficient direction to the 
usual place of abode and posted at the hours and according to the 
regulations appointed by the Postmaster General. The notices when 
posted must be accompanied by duplicate lists of the addresses. These 
will be examined at the Post Office, and if they correspond with the ad- 
dresses will be stamped, and one of the lists will be* returned to the 
persons posting the letters. 

A letter should be sent with the notice for the persons served to fill 
up and return acknowledging receipt of notice, and stating whether they 
assent to or dissent from the proposed application, or whether they are 
neutral in respect thereto* 

The service of the notices can be proved in every case by the 
production of the written acknowledgments without any proof of the 
handwriting; and in the case of the posted letters the Postmaster's 
receipt is good evidence without the acknowledgments, if the letters 
have not been returned as undelivered. 

The words " Parliamentary Notice" must be printed upon the cover 
of the notices forwarded by post. 

When a person entitled to notice is absent from the United Kingdom 
his agent is the proper person to be served. 


110 passengers, A speed of 160-180 m,p.h. was pre- 

This Moscow-Leningrad line was only projected, but 
the same account states that six cars were ordered from 
the Moscow Dynamo Works in 1934 for a 30-mile 
experimental Une between Moscow and Noginsk, This 
line, it states, was to be built by the Government. The 
cars would seat 50-60 passengers and each be 82 ft. 
long. Whether this line was ever built seems doubtful. 

The Air-Rail system, announced in April 1957 by 
a company formed with the name of Air-Rail Limited, 
was designed to give a reliable, rapid and economical 
link between London and London Airport. In the 
earliest stages of the project a consultative Study Group 
was formed as a result of a meeting held at the House 
of Commons. This group included representatives of 
a number of professional and public bodies. The main 
drive behind the promotion of the system seems to have 
come from Sir Alfred Bossom, M.P., who became the 
first chairman of Air-Rail Limited. Among the other 
directors on formation of the company was General 
Sir WilUam Morgan, Chairman of tihe Gloucester 
Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd. 

The Air-Rail system would have high-speed, pneu- 
matic-tyred coaches running on elevated concrete beams 
high above road congestion. The proposals were worked 
out to provide a ground-service specifically designed to 
meet the needs of air transport. They were drawn up 
with a view to handling any passenger or air-freight 
load envisaged at London Airport. The journey time 
from the London terminal (Victoria) to the airport 
would be about 15 minutes, and, on arrival, the road 
wheels with which the coaches would be fitted would 
enable them to be handled like normal road vehicles 
and taken, if required, direct to the aircraft to dis- 
charge passengers or freight. 



The company regards the best route as that of the 
Unes of the Southern Region of British Railways from 
Victoria, via Clapham Junction and Feltham, and thence 
over open country to London Airport. The practic- 
abiUty of this route, from an engineering point of view, 
is stated to have been recognized by the Chief Civil 
Engineer of the Southern Region of British Railways, 

A London terminal at Victoria would combine the 
British Overseas Airways Terminal with the Air-Rail 
terminus at a nodal point of the London Transport 
road and rail network. The railway terminus and the 
well-known coach station would be in the immediate 







( APPWOX. tlWOTM r/Mlttt ) 

Fig. 3. The proposed Air-Rail route to London Airport 

vicinity — the Air-Rail terminal could well be over the 
railway station itself. 

Surveys have indicated that the chosen route would 
entail the minimum of engineering difficulties, and 
cause the least possible interference with existing amen- 
ity and property rights. The engineering problems en- 
tailed in constructing the Air-Rail system over or along- 
side existing railway tracks are said to "present no 
difficulties which are not susceptible of a practical 

The two-way track would consist of two pre-stressed, 
pre-cast hollow concrete beams carried above or along - 



side the existing railway on reinforced concrete pillars, 
portals, or "A"-frames. The beams, for ease and speed 
of erection — ^particularly important in view of the lim- 
ited time which normal railway operation would allow 
for working — ^would be made in lO-ft. sections assem- 
bled on site by pre-stressing cables to form 100-ft, 
lengths, in a manner famiUar in modem bridge- 
building practice. 

The track could be at a higher or lower level as re- 
quired, and could be diverted to avoid the few buildings 
or bridges lying in the proposed path of the trackwork. 
The track would descend at the airport to allow the 
cars to travel on the ground round the periphery of the 
airport itself. This would avoid the expense — and 
delay — of constructing a tunnel to take the Une into the 
central group of airport buildings. The Air-Rail coaches 
could use the existing road tunnel. 

The roUing stock would consist of Ughtweight pas- 
senger coaches and freight cars. They have been Ukened 
to a Green Line type of coach capable of rising above 
congested areas and coming down to ground level at 
termini. They would be capable of a 100-m.p.h. cruising 
speed, a limit fixed by the performance of the tyres. 
With an eye to future developments, however, the 
track has been designed to make possible speeds of 
250 m.p.h. The coaches would be fitted with ground 
wheels capable of carrying them on normal roads, the 
airport tarmac, etc. 

All coaches would be self-powered, diesel driven in 
the first instance, and capable of operating either singly, 
or in two- or three-coach units. They would be of 
ultra-Ught construction, of magnesium alloy and plas- 
tics, aerodynamic in form, 40 ft. in length, with a 
maximum load of 50 passengers and their baggage, and 
weighing 12 tons fully laden. The suspension would be 
by metal-banded rubber bearings from wheels to bogies 
and by auxiliary airbag suspension from bogies to coach. 



Horizontal wheels would grip the side of the runnmg 
beam to give stabiUty, but the weight of the coach 
would be carried by the four rubber-tyred wheels in 
each bogie, arranged two-and-two, and running on the 
upper surface of the beam. Swing links and oil-damped 
spring units would allow automatic banking on curves. 
The beam would run from end to end through the 
lower half of the coach, very much as in the Alweg 

Luggage would be pre-palletized, and carried in 
special compartments in the sides of the coach between 
the bogies. It is by no means clear how the four-wheel 
road bogies would be steered, or how the engines and 
transmission could be arranged in a bogie shaped Uke 
an inverted "U", but doubtless this will be worked out 
in time. 

There would be no intermediate stops; and, at least 
at first, no junctions. SignaUing, with interlocking 
automatic braking, would be by high-frequency in- 
duction loops, in accordance with modem practice. To 
enable full advantage to be taken of the high accelera- 
tion, cruising speed, and braking, the terminals would 
be designed for rapid clearance of platforms and, as 
already mentioned, pre-palletization of baggage. 

The sponsors point out that the superior braking 
characteristic of rubber tyres, together with the absence 
of intermediate stops, would make possible a headway 
much less than that of orthodox railways. The im- 
proved figure would, with three-coach trains, give a 
capacity adequate for, and beyond, any Ukely peak 
load as at present envisaged. With 30 coaches in use, 
peak capacity could be more than 4,000 passengers an 
hour in one direction. This capacity could be greatly 
increased with more roUing stock, which is a relatively 
small capital outlay in comparison with the cost of the 

The question of cost is always of importance with 



any unorthodox system of transport, and it is there- 
fore of interest to note that althou^ the Air-Rail 
London Airport scheme would be more costly to build 
(because of having to build over a railway) than would a 
line in less congested conditions, the cost still works 
out at anything down to 10 per cent of the cost of an 
underground railway, taking it on a mile-for-mile basis. 


Fig. 5. Cross-section of Air-Rail vehicle at wheelbox 

The consulting engmeers to Air-Rail limited con- 
sider that the cost for open, cross-country construction 
might be as little as one-sixth that of an orthodox 
railway. Subsequent maintenance costs, they consider, 
would also be markedly less than those for standard 
railway track. 

To give the best returns from the enterprise, and to 

help London Airport to handle the rapidly-growing 

traffic in air-freight, freight cars would run as required 

on the Air-Rail system. It is also suggested that a very 



considerable amount of residential or "commuter" 
traffic from the Heathrow, Feltham and Hounslow 
districts could be accommodated, especially as such 
traffic would move in the opposite direction from the 
movement of peak-hour airport passenger traffic. This 
fact would enable full use to be made of line capacity. 
The total capital cost was expected (in 1957) not to 
exceed £8,000,000. This sum includes a suggested 
compensation figure of £1,000,000 to British Railways 
for general fadUties during the construction of the line, 
but does not include the cost of the terminal building 
at Victoria. A retum of not less than 12 per cent on the 
capital was confidently predicted. Construction time 
would be about three years — ^possibly much less — ^and 
on completion Air-Rail Limited would be willing to 
lease or sell the line to an appropriate pubUc body for 
operational purposes. 

The organizers declared themselves, on 8 April 
1957, to be "ready to negotiate ... the undertaking to 
construct the Air-Rail from Victoria to London 
Airport. . . ." The necessary technical, industrial and 
financial resources, they stated, had been assembled or 
could readily be made available as soon as an official 
expression of a favourable opinion in principle was 

At the time of writing, the Air-Rail scheme, with 
others, is understood to be under consideration by the 
Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation. 

In Nairobi, on 17 February 1958, Lt.-Col. F. T. 
Orman, one of the founder-directors of Air-Rail 
Limited, was reported as saying that he had devised a 
£15,000,000 scheme to use the Air-Rail type of vehicle 
to carry coal from the coalfields north of Lake Nyasa in 
Tanganyika. "If there is sufficient coal in the interior 
of Tanganyika to justify export," he stated, "our 
system is the cheapest way to get it out." 

Colonel Orman's investigations are reported to have 



shown that the cost of a monorail system in Tanganyika 
would be no more than two-thirds that of a normal 
railway. He explained that by varying the height of the 
supports to take account of variations in the terrain, 
the monorail could be kept to a more direct line than 
would be possible with an orthodox railway. The 
uniform level of the track would enable cars to travel 
at high speed. The system, he declared, was suitable for 
world-wide appUcation, and would be particularly 
useful for areas such as East Africa, where the terrain 
hampers access for normal commercial development. 

In March 1958 it was announced that ofl&cials of the 
Basildon Development Corporation would make a 
156-acre site available for a test track U miles long at 
Basildon, Essex. The cost of the test track was estimated 
at that time to be £240,000. 

Interviewed at the time of the announcement, Mr. 
John Lowe, one of the original directors, who was 
described as "designer of the system and managing 
director of a British company backing the scheme", 
was reported as saying that they were ready to begin 
construction, if given Government approval, of an £8 
million project that would cut the joumey (from the 
West End to London Airport) to 15 minutes. 

A type of guided-vehicle-road was proposed for New 
York some years ago. Known as the "Aerial Transit" 
system, it would have had concrete tracks, with raised 
edges supported at a height of 20 ft. or so above the 
streets. The 8-ft. wide tracks would have carried trains 
of pneumatic-tyred cars, possibly in articulated sets, 
which would have been guided by the raised edges of 
the track. A system with secondary Unes reaching out 
over a radius of nearly 50 miles was proposed. 

Several systems in which vehicles running on other 
types of surface than rails were guided by rails were 
mentioned in Unusual Railways, including the Larman- 
jat, "Guideways" and "Uniline" systems. 

129 I 


A "Guided Road" system (Leitschienenbahn) has 
been invented by Hen Heiner Kuch of Nuremberg. On 
this road ordinary buses or trolleybuses, including 
articulated vehicles, can be guided automatically. They 
retain their normal steering capabilities, and can thus 
run on ordinary roads also, or change from ordinary 
roads to the guided-road and back again during a single 

There is a guiding rail in the centre of the special 
road, or alternatively two guiding rails, one on each 
side, but inside the track of the normal wheels of the 
vehicle. The road consists in essence of two longi- 
tudinal concrete beams, each wide enough to take the 
road wheels on one side of the bus. There are concrete 
cross-sleepers between the beams, and the centre guide 
rail is fixed to these sleepers. If the double-rail system 
is used, the inner surfaces of the concrete beams can be 
used as the side rails. If required, both systems can be 
used simultaneously. 

The vehicles are fitted at the front with horizontal 
guiding wheels, and these are on a common frame with 
the road wheels. The horizontal wheels are guided by 
the rails, and thus tum the vertical pneumatic-tyred 
road wheels so that they follow the concrete track 
beams. At the rear of the bus are other horizontal 
wheels, which serve only to keep the bus centrally 
located on the track and have no actual guiding 

With this guided principle, special or adapted buses 
can run over tracks very little wider than the bus, and 
thus a bus can be taken safely through tunnels in the 
same way as a railway vehicle — or pass over overhead 
tracks designed with a width to accommodate the wheels 
and nothing more. Furthermore, vehicles can be 
coupled together, given suitable control systems, and 
nm on the trunk portion of their journeys as guided- 
road trains. The individual vehicles can fan out to serve 


8o Board of Trade Rules, 

Schedule B. — (Part IV.) See ante, p, 64. 

Depositor Rule XVIII. — Should any alteration of the plan and 
amended section originally deposited for the purposes of the Order 
section, be made, with the approval of the Board of Trade, before 
the Order is granted, a copy of such plan and section (or 
of so much thereof as may be necessary), showing such 
alteration, shall, before the Order is introduced into a Con- 
firmation Bill, be deposited by the promoters for public 
inspection : — 

In England, in the office of the clerk of the peace for 
every county, riding, or division, and of the parish clerk 
of every parish, and the office of the Local Authority of 
every district, affected by such alteration ; and 

In Scotland, in the office of the principal sheriff clerk 
for every county, district, or division aflfected by such 

Copies of such documents are at the same time to be 
deposited at the office of the Board of Trade. 
Proofs of Rule XIX. — ^When a Provisional Order has been made, 
*^^P°sit and before it is introduced into the confirmation Bill, the 
tisement promoters will be required to submit to the Board of Trade 
of Order the following proofs, viz. : 

(i.) The receipt of the clerk of the peace or sheriflf clerk, 
or proof by affidavit of the deposit of the Order with such 
officer as required by Part IV. of Schedule B. to the Act. 

(2.) A copy of the local newspaper containing the adver- 
tisement of the Order. This advertisement must have 
a short heading stating that the Order has been made by 
the Board of Trade under the Tramways Act, 1870, pre- 
vious to its being introduced into a Confirmation Bill, and 
must also state the name of the office where printed copies 
of the Order can be obtained, which must be the office 

Trade, which will accompany the Provisional Order when delivered 
to the Promoters. 


following of a narrow fixed track can be obtained, and 
although the main advantage of a true railway — ^the 
comparatively small friction of a steel wheel on a steel 
rail — ^is not obtained, there is the compensating 
advantage, for passenger services, that the rapid 
acceleration and short-distance braking associated 
with rubber tyres is retained. 

It is only necessary to install the guide rails where the 
vehicles must run with precision, on a narrow track. 
Elsewhere they run on pubUc roads like other buses. 
The track can, if necessary, be of steel instead of con- 
crete, and this may have advantages in building over- 
head structures. 

Points are not really necessary, as the vehicles can be 
steered by hand over the track junctions. If essential, 
however, in a confined space, points can be provided. 
They will be of a special counterbalanced type. 

In the centres of cities, where traffic congestion is a 
problem, buses can nm on to a guide-rail track and 
descend a short slope into an underground section. The 
tunnels need be only slightly larger than the vehicles, 
since the guide rail ensures that they, and any trailers, 
will keep precisely to the prescribed track. Because of 
the abiUty of pneumatic-tyred vehicles to climb and 
descend steep slopes, the buses can be brought to the 
surface at stops without the need for long approach 
ramps. Alternatively, the buses can climb on to a 
narrow overhead track instead of descending into a 
tunnel. There is no technical difficulty in building such 
overhead tracks with a single line of supports of 
comparatively small cross-section, so that an overhead 
guided track could be carried along and over an existing 
road without taking up more of the carriageway than 
would a normal central dividing strip. It would be 
worth making up "trains" of vehicles where such 
underground or overhead sections were long and the 
area of street congestion extensive. Such trains could be 






^ u 





of considerable capacity, as double-deck vehicles could 
be used on overhead track — or on underground 
sections, although this would make the construction 
of the tunnels more expensive. 

Another possibiUty is that suitable flat vehicles, 
running in the guided-road tunnels, could ferry private 
cars through the most congested sections of cities. This 
possibiUty is perhaps somewhat lessened by the fact 
that street congestion is usually worst just when the 
buses — and consequently the tunnels — ^are at their 
busiest. Unless rates were very cheap, a driver would 
probably prefer to drive through a city in the less- 
congested hours than be carried on the guided-road 

Transit over such a line would be quiet, as all tyres, 
whether running or guiding, are pneumatic. The 
central guide rail can be a long welded rail, avoiding 
noise at rail joints. An example of the possibilities is 
already in existence in that the Paris Metro is running 
trains working on similar principles. The Paris system, 
described in Unusual Railways^ is not quite the same as 
the Kuch system, but it is comparable. 

There is no reason why this type of track should not 
be used for freight transport, so that door-to-door 
transit could be given by one vehicle, which could form 
part of a freight "train" for the trunk portion of the 
route. Special vehicles would be needed, probably, for 
freight services. A guided-road underground system 
would not need elaborate signaUing, as the braking 
characteristics of a pneumatic-tyred vehicle are such 
that the driver can proceed on sight alone, as he does 
on the pubUc roads. 

A model of this system has been built on a scale of 
1 : 33, and the vehicle achieved a speed of 40 m.p.h. on 
a 175-ft. eUiptical track. 

Some full-scale experiments with a similar guide rail 
were carried out in 1955 by the Milan Municipal 


84 Board of Trade Rules, 

road authority claiming to be compensated in accordance 
with the provisions of Rule XXII., and in the same manner 
as the penalty provided in the third section of the Act 17 
and 18 Vict c. 31 j known as "The Railway and Canal 
Traffic Act, 1854,'* and every sum of money recovered by 
way of such penalty as aforesaid shall be paid under the 
warrant or order of such court or judge as is specified in 
the said third Section of the Act 17 & 18 Vict. c. 31, to an 
account opened or to be opened in the name and with the 
privity of the Paymaster General for and on behalf of the Su- 
preme Court of Judicature in England [the Queen's Remem- 
brancer of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland, (according 
as the railway or tramway is situate in England or Scot- 
land)], in the bank named in such order, and shall not be 
paid thereout, except as provided by Rule XXII., but no 
penalty will accrue in respect of any time during which it 
shall appear, by a certificate to be obtained from the Board 
of Trade, that the company was prevented from completing 
or opening such tramway by unforeseen accident or circum- 
stances beyond their control : Provided, that the want of 
sufficient funds will not be held to be a circumstance 
beyond their control 

Forfeiture RuLE XXII. — If the promoters empowered by the Order 
cation^of ' to make the tramway do not within the time in the Order 
deposit, prescribed, or within such prolonged time as aforesaid, and 
if none is prescribed, or if the time has not been prolonged 
as aforesaid, then within two years from the passing of the 
Act confirming the Order, complete the tramway, and open 
it for public traffic, then and in every such case the deposit 
fiind, or so much thereof as shall not have been repaid to 
the depositors (or any sum of money recovered by way of 
such penalty as aforesaid), shall, from and after the ex- 
piration of the time aforesaid, be applicable, and aft^ due 
notice in the London or Edmburgh Gazette, as the case 


flat, powered railway wagons. The bus, still carrying 
its passengers, could work its way through the busy 
centre of a town on the special wagon, which would 
run on an elevated railway line, stopping at stations as 
required. Once through the city, the bus could run oflF 
the wagon at a special terminal and revert to ordinary 
working. The special railway vehicles could equally 
well run in tunnels underground and they could be 
made up into trains. 

A subtly diflFerent idea from that of Kuch, has been 
proposed by Mr. Richard Hazelett, of Cleveland, Ohio, 
U.S.A. He suggests, as with other guide-rail methods, 
that buses using his system should nm as ordinary 
vehicles on the outskirts of cities. Within city Umits (or 
limits of congestion) they would nm on a reserved 
track no wider than a railway track. The vehicles 
would nm on, and be driven through, their normal road 

The track would be of concrete, with a special 
raised section down the centre to which could be 
anchored a single horizontal steel rail of channel 
section. It would have a running face on each side. 

The buses, which would have to have an unsprung 
front end, would be fitted with special double-flanged 
horizontal steel wheels which would clamp sideways on 
to the rail. The clamping effect could be achieved either 
by springs or hydrauhcally. The horizontal wheels 
would normally act only as guides, but, he suggests, 
could be used for additional braking power in icy 
weather (as in the Fell system for railways). The front 
wheels of the bus would have to be Ihiked to, and 
controlled by, the guide wheels, which is the reason for 
the unsprung front end. Much attention, Mr. Hazelett 
considers, would have to be given to overcoming 
problems of insulation against rail-joint shocks and 
high-riding of the normal wheels in conditions of snow 
and ice. 




PROBABLY the first moving platform for passengers 
to run on rails in Europe was the trottoir roulant 
installed for the Paris Exhibition of 1900. This was 
really a double-track railway on which ran two endless 
Unes of small trucks, the trucks on each line being 
chained together and carrying decking designed to give 
a continuous moving platform on each railway line. 
The trucks on one line moved at 8 km.p.h., and those 
on the other line at half that speed. The two platforms 
ran closely side by side, so that passengers could step 
from a fixed platform at the side of the tracks on to the 
slower platform {trottoir de petite vitesse) and thence 
to the faster platform (trottoir de grand vitesse). The 
fast platform was two metres wide. 

Travelling on the fast platform, the passenger could 
be carried along a track 3,300 metres in length, capable 
of handling 63,000 passengers an hour. The drive was 
electric, apparently from fixed positions, but the method 
of imparting the drive to the platforms is obscure. 

There was a rather similar moving platform in 
Britain at the Crystal Palace in 1901. In America, a 
moving platform with slow and fast sections running 
side by side appeared at the Chicago Worid Colum- 
bian Exposition in 1893. This had seats on the fast 

It is not always realized that escalators are really a 
series of small trucks running on rails, but it is not 
proposed to discuss them in this book. Nevertheless, 
the firm which introduced the escalator in 1900 has 



adapted the principles involved to a form of moving 
passenger platform. This is the Trav-o-lator made by 
the Otis Elevator Company, who have embodied the 
safety features of the escalator into their design. 

The travel-strip is made up of metal platforms faced 
with an escalator-tread design, cleated for combing at 
landings and to make it safe to step on to the strip and 
off it again. The Trav-o-lator has moving handrails 
similar to those of an escalator. The platforms are 
linked together to give a continuous ribbon-like surface 
travelling on a wheel and track system. The track rails 
can be made to follow any reasonable contours. In- 
clinations up to a maximum of fourteen degrees are 
possible, provided that the distance to be travelled is 
reasonably short. The change of angle is so smooth as 
to be practically imperceptible to passengers, who at 
all times have a firm footing. Whatever gradients the 
Trav-o-lator follows in its passage, it is brought on to a 
horizontal plane at landings. 

The handrails extend beyond the actual platform, so 
that passengers can grasp them for support before 
stepping on to the moving platform. Incidentally, this 
automatically gives the passenger a sense of the speed 
at which the platform is moving — a. sort of swift 
unconscious acclimatization. The handrail is so designed 
that there are no gaps between the support and the 
moving surface in which even the smallest child can 
trap its fingers. The actual surface of the handrail is of 
rubber, but concealed within it is a core of flexible steel 
which prevents stretching. 

Safety devices include a speed govemor, a broken- 
chain safety device, a non-reversing mechanism, con- 
trolled overioad relays, and brakes which can bring the 
whole platform to a halt smoothly but swiftly. 

Under certain conditions, the Trav-o-lator can even 
be used out of doors. The makers suggest that it could be 
used in airports, railway stations, and on piers for 



taking passengers to aircraft, trains, or ships; in 
shopping centres, schools, and sports stadiums in city 
centres, and for crossing — ^by means of a smooth arch 
— ^busy traffic arteries. 

At present, there are two standard widths in the 
range available in the U.S.A.: 48 in., which will take 
two adults side by side, and 32 in., which will take 
single-file traffic or an adult and child side by side. 
Assuming a travel speed of 135 ft. a minute, these 
platforms can carry 12,000 and 7,500 passengers an 
hour respectively. 

Such an installation has been put into service in 
San Diego, California, at the Cortez Motor Hotel. It 
runs across a covered bridge over a busy street, con- 
necting the Motor Hotel with the El Cortez Hotel on 
the other side. The Trav-o-lator, in its glass enclosure, 
arches 127 ft. across the street. 

In June 1957 work started on a Trav-o-lator 
system in London. This is at the Bank station on the 
Waterioo and City Line of the Southem Region of 
British Railways. For economic reasons connected 
with the British Railways modernization plan, work 
was practically suspended from the end of 1957 until 
August 1958, but work was then resumed at as fast a 
rate as possible. 

The difficulties encountered slowed matters down. 
For example, not more than 80 or 90 men could be 
employed at any one time, because of the confined 
space in the tunnel being built for the Trav-o-lator. At 
street level, work could be carried on only between 7 
p.m. and 7 a.m., because no interference to street 
traffic could be permitted. Pneumatic drills could not be 
used after 11 p.m., and any functions at the Mansion 
House meant that work had to come to a complete 
standstill to avoid interference. 

Excavation of the Trav-o-lator tunnel was started by 
sinking a vertical shaft in an existing subway leading 



from Walbrook to Poultry. This was really the only 
practicable way it could be done within the Umits of 
admissible cost, although obviously it was by no means 
ideal. TunneUing from the base of the shaft was then 
carried out in both directions — ^upwards towards the 
ticket hall and downwards towards the Waterioo and 
City station. 

The downwards tunnels are 16 J ft. in diameter, and 
are lined with cast-iron segments. All soil excavated has 
to be loaded into skips, moved along to the shaft and 
winched up to the street level, or else taken down to the 
platform and removed in special trains. 

Near the lower end, the tunnel widens to 19 ft. 6 in. 
to accommodate the retum mechanism of the Trav-o- 
lator. At the lower end the tunnel widens still more to 
29 ft. 6 in. to make room for the previously existing 
passenger tunnel and a rail siding tunnel. 

Before the upper part of the tunnel could be driven, 
a large number of sewers and other services had to be 
diverted. These included a 4-ft. sewer which ran along 
Poultry to the Mansion House and down Walbrook. 
This was diverted along Queen Victoria Street and 
Bucklersbury. Gas and high-pressure water mains, an 
L.C.C. fire main. Post Office telegraph cables and 
pneumatic tubes, electricity cables, and the Exchange 
Telegraph Company's lines were also affected. Plans 
for the diversions included the sinking of a 24-ft. 
shaft connecting with a new pipe subway to carry two 
24-in. gas mains, two 20-in. water mains, and many 

When this book was written, constructional work was 
still in progress; but later in 1959 the work of instal- 
ling the Trav-o-lator itself was expected to start. This 
is no simple task, for 8,000 ft. of structural steel-work 
has to be laid to form the track on which 3,904 wheels 
will carry 976 40-in. x 16-in. platforms, forming two 
separate traveUing belts. The work, including the instal- 



lation of the 10-ton driving machinery, should be fin- 
ished in August 1960. 

Some 40,000 people a day are expected to use the 
two tracks, both of which will run upwards in the 
morning peak travel hour and downwards in the 
evening peak hour. 

The Otis Elevator Co., Ltd., makers of the Trav-o- 
lator, state that the machine is basically an escalator 
with the steps flattened out. Many of the parts are 
identical with those used in escalators, including the 
main driving machine; the motor, and the electro- 
magnetic brake; safety govemor; platform tread chains; 
balustrading; and moving handrail. 

It is available for runs of up to about 500 ft., depend- 
ing on the angle of slope — ^which the makers reconmiend 
should not normally be of more than 10 degrees, 
although short sections of up to 14 degrees can be 
allowed. The Bank Trav-o-lators will travel at 180 ft. 
a minute (maximum) and are inclined at an angle of 
8 deg. 7 min. 48 sec. The tread width will be 40 in., 
and the machines will therefore be comparable with the 
London Transport type of escalator. 

A particular feature is the fine-pitch metallic treads 
for the platforms, which will not trap even the ex- 
ceptionally slim heels, almost spikes, which fashion — 
for the time being — decrees that ladies shall wear on 
their shoes. 

Having dealt with a moving pavement which truly 
runs on rails, we must tum to a very similar device 
which runs not on rails, but on rollers. This is perhaps 
slightly outside the scope indicated by the title of the 
book, but the system has developed until a new form 
of rapid transit, using cars for passengers, has been 
based on it. This latter system is claimed to be capable 
of being used instead of urban railways, whether above 
ground or below, and therefore should be of interest to 



To deal with the moving platform for foot passengers 
first: this is the Speedwalk system built by the Stephens- 
Adamson Mfg. Co. of Aurora, Illinois. It is really a 
belt conveyor designed, as with the Trav-o-lator, to 
carry passengers over horizontal or inclined planes in a 
continuous flow. It is capable of any speed consistent 
with safety, and of being built to almost any length. 
Moving handrails can be provided if required. Although 
rollers can be used to support the belt, it can also be 
arranged to slide over a special platform of composition 
material, which causes very little friction and gives 
firm, uniform support. Speeds of 2-2J m.p.h. are usual, 
and inclines up to 15 degrees can be negotiated. The 
capacity, using a single lane — ^passengers in single file 
— ^is 3,600 persons per hour, but widths giving up to 
five lanes are available. 

The first Speedwalk installation has been running 
since 1954 — ^the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad 
installation, which carries passengers from tube trains 
to the Erie Railroad terminal in New York. It is a 
three-lane rubber belt running over 600 ball-bearing- 
mounted rollers. Power is supplied by a 20-h.p. motor. 
Another belt carries passengers up 22 ft. from a bus ter- 
minal in Chicago to elevated rapid transit platforms 
above; it runs upwards in the morning peak and down- 
wards in the evening, and is a double-lane belt using a 
composition slider base. Even greater elevation is given 
by a Speedwalk system at Wrigley Field, which carries 
passengers 60 ft. up into a grandstand. TTie system is 40 
ft. in length, and is in two sections with four ramps to a 
section. This is the first moving ramp in any stadiimi, 
and can be reversed to take spectators down from the 
grandstand after the game. 

Two other appUcations of note are at the strip mill 
of the Weirton Steel Co., where four ramps carry 
workers between locker rooms at street level and the 
working floor (41 vertical feet) and another between 



floors at the Aurora Savings and Loan Association's 
premises in Aurora, Illinois. This is comparable to a 
shop escalator, carrying passengers 12 ft. up in a 
horizontal distance of 50 ft. 

The rapid transit system developed from the Speed- 
walk is known as the Carveyor system; incidentally, it 
uses a form of guide rail, so that perhaps it is closer to 
the title of this book than a rubber-belt system sounds 
at first. The Carveyor is presented by Passenger Belt 
Conveyors, Inc., a subsidiary of the Stephens- Adamson 
Mfg. Co., and by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Com- 
pany, of Akron, Ohio. 

The system combines the features of— no crews; no 
waiting; no waste of power in starting, or of brakes in 
stopping; and of trains always halting at every station 
platform. Passengers on the Carveyor ride in cars of 
comfort comparable with that of standard under- 
ground railway cars, except that, for reasons which will 
become apparent, the individual Carveyor cars are 
much smaller. 

The cars are carried on conveyor belts in a con- 
tinuous procession, so that the propulsion machinery 
and running gear of the normal train is separated from 
the cars and confined to static locations. This lightens 
the cars very considerably, and also, since the con- 
veyors run at constant speeds, avoids the surge of power 
taken by a normal train when starting. A trip by 
Carveyor starts when, at a station, the passenger steps 
on to the end of a slowly moving platform, just as he 
would step on to an escalator — except that as the plat- 
form is, and remains, flat, the action is much simpler. 
The cars come alongside this platform, moving at the 
same speed and therefore being relatively stationary 
so far as the passenger is concerned. At this stage both 
platform and cars are moving forward at about 1^ 

The passenger then steps into a car, which moves 



slowly on along the length of the station platform. As it 
reaches the end, the doors close slowly and the car runs 
on to a series of rubber-tyred accelerating rollers which 
swiftly accelerate it to the "between-station" speed — 
say 15 m.p.h. — and passes it on to the fast-running 
conveyor belt used between stations. 

These fast belts are made of rubber and fabric, and 
run on ball-bearing-fitted idler rollers. The car stays on 
the belt until it approaches the next station, where it 
runs over a bank of decelerating rollers which slow it 
down to the IJ-m.p.h. station speed. 

It follows that cars are close together on the slow 
belt, but as they move on to the fast belt their distance 
apart is automatically increased by the same factor as 
the speed differential of the belts — ^in the case of the 
speeds quoted, by a factor of 10 to 1. 

A feature of the system is that the short cars can turn 
much sharper curves than on conventional railways, 
whereas an elevated railway of normal type, built 
above a street, must swing well out across the roadway 
when turning from one street to another — ^and even 
then must tum more sharply than is desirable. More- 
over, the Carveyor cars can tum without crossing out- 
side the pavement. This is done by using "Uve roll" 
conveyors on comers, similar to those used for accelera- 
tion and deceleration. On comers, the Uve rolls are set 
on radial lines and the wheels on the end of each roll 
are rotated at different speeds. The cars are thus turned 
smoothly but sharply round comers. 

The cars used would be of small size, perhaps 7 ft. 
long and 5 J ft. wide. Such a car would seat 6 passengers. 
These small dimensions mean that the Carveyor track 
could pass through quite narrow openings between 
buildings, or even, possibly, through buildings without 
requiring more height than is available in the normal 
floor of a business building or shops. The track can go 
underground in much smaller tunnels than are needed 


A standard gearbox drive Mono-Rail industrial car crossing a Mono- 
Rail bridge. The track supports can be seen clearly in the foreground. 
{Pkolo: Road Machines (Sales) Limited) 

Station on the "moving track" 
designed by Ing. Vittorio Immirzi. 

Close-up of part of scale model 
Carveyor system, showing movi 
loading platform at station and. 
foreground, bank of accelerati 
rollers. (Phoio: Srephens-Adams 
Mfg. Co.) 

iAbove) Car ascending the steepest section of the lower incline of the Great 
Orme Railway, 

(Below) Cars passing on the upper section of the Great Orme Railway, 
with the winding station in the background. The overhead wire is for com- 
munication only, (Phoios: English Electric Co. Lid.) 


for conventional trains. At first sight it might be 
thought that such small cars could never provide the 
capacity given by conventional trains, but in fact it is 
only a question of having enough cars on the belt, 
within limits. Up to 6,000 or so seats an hour could be 
provided with the dimensions and speeds already given. 
This is by no means the limit, as will be seen later. The 
number of cars on this system does not, of course, entail 
an increase in crews, as no stafif members are required 
to ride in the cars. 

Interchange between lines can be arranged by bring- 
ing two Carveyor tracks alongside a single moving 
station platform. As there is no waiting, this presents no 
difficulty. If necessary two tracks can each have their 
own moving platform, the passenger crossing between 
tracks on a normal stationary platform. 

Studies of Carveyor track possibilities show that 
with a single track carrying four-seat cars, up to 5,000 
seated passengers an hour can be carried in one direc- 
tion, or double this number if standing is allowed. Cars 
seating six, eight, or ten increase this mmiber pro- 
portionately, and with 10-seat cars it should be possible 
to carry 11,000 seated passengers an hour in one 
direction, or 22,000 sitting and standing. Track width 
increases with car capacity, so that whereas a four-seat 
car track needs a total width (including a walkway) of 
5 ft. 6 in,, the 10-seat car track needs 10 ft. 6 in. Double 
tracks, with the same car size, need 14 ft. and 25 ft. 
respectively, with intermediate widths for other sizes. 
The total height required for track and cars rises from 
11 ft. with four-seat cars to 12 ft. with 10-seat cars. 

So far, this has been theory; but the Carveyor system 
has advanced beyond that. A careful scheme was drawn 
up for an actual line, and was described by Colonel 
S. H. Bingham, the former Chairman of the Board of 
Transportation of New York City, and retired Execu- 
tive Director and General Manager of the New York 



City Transit Authority, in an address to a joint meeting 
of the Northeastern Section of the American Section of 
Civil Engineers and the Transportation Service of the 
Boston Society of Civil Engineers at the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology Faculty Club, Boston, Mass., 
on 20 February 1956, 

Colonel Bingham then stated that when studying the 
problem of the Grand Central-Times Square shuttle 
service in New York City, he tried to find a more 
efficient method of handUng the traffic, as the existing 
shuttle needed rehabilitation and modernization and 
was very expensive to operate. After eight years of 
study and research, he stated, there was on the drawing 
boards — ^and actually constructed on a small scale, 
though large enough to carry passengers — a. passenger 
conveyor which he had developed in conjunction with 
the engineers of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company 
and the Stephens-Adamson Manufacturing Company. 

The system satisfied the stipulated conditions — ^that 
it could carry more than 12,000 passengers an hour in 
each direction in safety comparable with that associated 
with underground railway standards; that it would give 
a speedy, comfortable, and convenient ride; that it 
would cost less to operate than the existing shuttle 
train service, and that it would not cost more than 
would be needed to rehabilitate the existing shuttle 
service. It was also desirable that the new system should 
take up only half the space occupied by existing 

As designed, the Carveyor system envisaged would 
take 16,000 passengers an hour in each direction, and 
the trip would take two minutes (with no waiting), the 
same time as the shuttle service. Only the two centre 
tracks of the shuttle service would be needed, and 
maintenance costs were estimated at 40 per cent of 
that of the existing service. 

The general design and belt speeds would be as 



previously described, but 10-seat cars would be used, 
and 19 cars a minute would pass the loading area. At 
the ends of the track the cars would be carried round a 
loop on a bank of wheels and would then be ready for 

In April 1953 a working model was shown in New 
York. Full-scale testing equipment was built during the 
planning period to test the system. A rubber conveyor 
belt 60 ft. long and 9 ft. wide, and a mock-up of five 
full-size cars were set up for test purposes. The cars 
operated next to the belt, to dupUcate actual loading 
and unloading conditions at Carveyor stations. Also, 
an accelerating and decelerating system was built to 
test the rate at which cars could be accelerated and 

A very large nimiber of people took part as "passen- 
gers" in tests of loading and unloading. They included 
old people, children, and lame persons, as well as people 
loaded up with luggage and packages, and yet no 
difficulty whatever was found in boarding and aUghting 
from cars. 

Despite the work done on the plans for this system, it 
has not yet been built to replace the Times Square 

More recently, proposals for a Carveyor system in 
Seattle to carry visitors to and from the "Century 21" 
Worid's Fair site were put forward by Passenger Belt 
Conveyors Inc. The original proposal was for a line to 
cost about $5,600,000, running along Sixth Avenue and 
involving a number of turns. An alternative proposal 
was put forward later with a route along Fifth Avenue 
and an intermediate stop to serve parking areas. This 
second route was expected to cost $4,100,000. 

Instead of weather-protected cars as suggested 
normally for Carveyor systems, it was proposed to 
have the entire track enclosed in a ventilated plastic 
tube. The tube would have been tinted on top, but have 



had clear side vision. Open cars made of glass fibre, 
each seating four passengers in lounge-type chairs, 
were proposed for the line, which would have had a 
capacity of about 5,000 seated passengers an hour in 
each direction (or double this number if standing is 

Another moving belt system has been put forward 
by Ing. Vittorio Immirzi in Italy, This has two con- 
tinuous belts moving beside a fixed track in a tunnel 
12 ft. 6 in, wide and 10 ft. high. 

The fixed pavement is 3 ft. 6 in. wide, except at 
stations, where it is enlarged as necessary to form a cir- 
culating area. Beside it runs an intermediate belt, and 
on the far side of the tunnel is the fast belt. Each belt 
is really a series of moving platforms, each about 12 ft, 
long. The intermediate platform is 4 ft. and the fast 
platform 5 ft. wide. These platforms run on rails, and 
are very much like a long series of flat railway trucks. 
They are close-coupled with interlocking ends, so that 
there is no gap in the intermediate belt and only small 
gaps in the fast belt. 

The trucks of the intermediate belt have a handrail 
and barrier, and move at a variable speed in accordance 
with a predetermined cycle. This cycle consists of a 15- 
second stop, an acceleration period of 12 seconds, and a 
period of 15 seconds during which trucks run at the 
same speed as those of the fast belt. The intermediate 
track then slows to a stop again. The fast belt has seats 
and runs at a constant speed of 1 5 m.p.h. 

Passengers wait on the fixed pavement until the 
intermediate belt stops. They then board it through the 
gaps in the handrail, and wait until it accelerates to the 
same speed as the fast belt, which they then board. The 
reverse takes place at the destination station. 

Power is supplied from a central power station, at 
which there are also automatic speed controls for the 
belts. Vertical electric motors, one for each belt, are 



Spaced about 100 yd. apart. By means of pneumatic- 
tyred horizontal wheels, which engage a central strip 
imdemeath the trucks, the motors drive the belts at the 
given speeds. The capacity is estimated at 94,000 
passengers an hour. Two complete sets of tracks would 
be needed for simultaneous transit in both directions. 
For connecting other areas with his moving tracks, 
Ing. V. Immirzi has proposed a vehicle which would 
run at high speed in a smaU diameter tunnel. Holding 
up to 80 standing passengers, the cars would be sus- 
pended from a central rail, or two side rails. They would 
provide a rapid shuttle service to the main belt transit 




A FULL description of the Fell central rail system 
appeared in Unusual Railways, and in that book 
mention was made of a patent for a similar 
device taken out on 13 July 1847 by A. V, Newton. 
Some more details of the Newton system, less well 
known than that of Fell, which it antedated by 16 
years, may be of interest. 

Though patented in the name of A. V. Newton, the 
invention was that of George Escol Sellers, who built a 
number of locomotives embodying his ideas. Several 
were built for the Panama Railroad. These were 4-4-0 
locomotives, with the usual pair of cyUnders which 
worked the coupled driving wheels when the loco- 
motives were running on the level and on moderate 

Above the normal cylinders were a pair of extra 
cylinders. These drove, through bevel gearing, an extra 
pair of wheels working on vertical axles and gripping a 
middle rail. These extra wheels were used on steep 
inclines, and were so arranged as to be capable of apply- 
ing almost any required degree of adhesion. The central 
rail stood about 4 in. above the normal running rails. 
Each pair of cylinders had its own regulator, and could 
thus be independently controlled. 

Four or five engines of this type were built for the 
Panama Railroad, but there seems to have been some 
realignment of that railway which obviated the need for 
the extra rail; in fact, the locomotives were never used 
in Panama, and were eventually broken up without ever 



having performed any useful work. Two more locomo- 
tives were built in later years for a Pennsylvania coal 
company's railway, but these, too, were never put to 

High above the sea at La Costa Mesa, MaUbu, an 
arrow-shaped house sits on a ridge of rock, its head 
pointing out to sea. The architect and the owner agreed 
together to build the house in an apparently inaccessible 
position, making use of a private funicular railway 
to give access from the nearest street, 120 ft. below. 
The railway runs up to the end of a terrace serving one 
side of the house and the inclination is approximately 
1 m 1-5. 

The narrow-gauge line with its tiny car, capable of 
carrying six people (or 1,500 lb.) is automatic in opera- 
tion and works very much like a modem lift. There are 
call buttons at the top and bottom of the track, and 
controls in the electrically driven car itself. 

The car is tested to a load of 5,000 lb. and is in- 
spected by the state lift inspectors annually. Spring- 
operated brakes would come into use should the cable 
part. An Austrian skier and engineer, Sepp Benediktor, 
was the designer. The expenditure of some $4,500 on 
the funicular has converted a bare ridge into a building 
site worth an estimated $10,000-$12,000. 

Quite a number of shorter funiculars have been in- 
stalled in the Los Angeles area to serve large private 
houses. They run from the road to the house — often only 
a comparatively small distance and height, and are 
really only a form of mobile step. There are several 
examples in Beverly Hills, the district best known as 
the home of many film actors. 

One of the shortest funicular railways in the world 
to be operated by a regular company must be the 60- 
metre branch of the funicular between Wildbad, in the 
Black Forest in Germany, and the Sommerberg, some 
2,400 ft. above. This branch line has its own small car 



Specially designed to carry invalids, and takes only four 
at a time. It runs between the funicular station and the 
main bath house. There is no driver, as the car is 
operated automatically from the terminal stations. It 
runs at a speed of only 5 m.p.h. 

One British railway which is certainly unusual, but 
was not mentioned in Unusual Railways^ is the Great 
Orme Railway at Llandudno. Its unusualness Ues mostly 
in the fact that it is the only passenger-carrying cable- 
hauled railway of its type in Britain — ^if we ignore the 
cliflf funiculars, althou^ of course there are many cable 
railways elsewhere in the world. 

This 3 ft. 6 in.-gauge railway climbs to the summit of 
the Great Orme headland at Llandudno, a rise of some 
550 ft. The line is in two sections. There is a lower incline 
800 yd. long with sharp curves, and with an average 
maximum gradient of 1 in 4-4 on the steepest part of the 
route — di length of about 100 ft. At the top of this 
section is a half-way station where passengers change 
from one car to another to make the ascent of the second 
incline. The second incline is 827 yd. long, and has a 
maximum gradient of 1 in 10-3 over the steepest 
200 yd. 

Part of the lower section is laid with a common 
middle rail embedded in concrete and flush with the 
surface of the road along which it runs. The remainder 
of the section is single track. The upper section is entirely 
single track except for a mid-point passing loop. The 
lower station, known as Victoria, is in Llandudno 
itself, and the midway station, where the winding and 
control gear are situated, is known as Halfway Station. 

The lower section came into use on 31 July 1902, and 
the upper on 8 July 1903. At present it is worked only 
in the summer, when it is well patronized by hoUday- 
makers. As many as 220,000 have been carried in a 
single season. 

When the line was opened, a single locomotive-type 



boiler manufactured by Robey of Lincoln supplied 
steam at just over 100 lb. per sq. in. to two engines, one 
for each section. A Sandicroft engine, which developed 
about 120 b.h.p., drove the cable-winding drums of the 
lower incline, and an 80-b.h.p. Musker engine drove 
those of the upper section. 

The steam engines were replaced in the winter of 
1957-58 by new winding gear installed by the EngUsh 
Electric Co. Ltd. The equipment consists of an "EngUsh 
Electric" 125-h.p. sUpring induction motor for 41 5- V., 
3-phase, 50-cycle supply which drives the cable drums 
for the lower haulage, and a similar 75-h.p. motor for 
the upper haulage. Both motors have their speed 
controlled by rotor resistances operated by a drum 
controller. The original cable drums are now driven 
through new gear units to convert the motor speed of 
about 730 r.p.m. to the drum speed of 25 r.p.m. on the 
lower haulage, and 35 r.p.m. on the upper haulage. 

On each incline, two cars are connected by cables to 
their respective cable drums, so arranged that one car 
is ascending whilst the other descends. The cars on the 
upper incUne are linked also by a cable passing round an 
idle pulley at the summit terminus. 

The single-deck cars have two four-wheel bogies, and 
weigh 6^7 tons unladen. They seat 48 passengers, 
compared with the 20 seats of the original four-wheeled 
cars used when the line was opened. The cars on the 
lower incline have screw-down brakes controlled by 
handwheels from the end platforms, and governor- 
controlled skid brakes which bear on the concrete road 
surface if speed becomes excessive. They can also be 
hand operated. The upper incUne cars have screw-down 
brakes on the wheels, and slipper brakes acting on the 
rails. The authorized speeds for these cars are 5 m.p.h. 
and 7 m.p.h. respectively, and the cars carry speed 
indicators so that the brakeman knows when brake 
applications are needed. 



The cables for the upper incUne are of |-in. diameter 
steel, and run on guide pulleys exposed between the 
rails; but on the lower track, the cables, of lA in. 
diameter, run in conduit down the centre of the embed- 
ded track, which thus resembles in appearance the 
former conduit tramlines in London. 

Communications between the cars and the half-way 
station are by telephone and bell through an overhead 
wire, to which the cars connect by trolley poles. This 
arrangement often leads visitors to think the cars are 
electrically driven, Uke tramcars, and the haulage cables 
in full sight when they get to the upper section give them 
something of a surprise. 

In the motor house at the half-way station, the two 
drives are controlled from a common driving platform, 
each with its drum controller, tachometer, ammeter, 
telephone, bell communication, and emergency stop 
switch. In addition, on the platform there are hand- 
wheels operating screw-down brakes on the coupled 
winding drums. 

Elaborate safety measures are associated with each 
drive. For example, a weight-operated brake is held in 
the "off" position by an electro-hydraulic thruster 
when the power circuit is made. When the emergency 
stop button is pushed, the power circuit is broken, thus 
applying the thruster brake. There is also a centrifugal 
trip on the motor which breaks the power circuit at 15 
per cent overspeed, again bringing in the thruster. The 
screw-down handbrake on the driving platform has full 
electrical interlocking with the "power on'' button on 
the control panel and the control handle. Before power 
can be obtained, this brake must be full on with the 
control handle in the "neutral" position. 

On the lower incline cars, the skid brakes operate 
automatically at 6J m.p.h., being controlled by centri- 
fugal governors mounted on the cars themselves. Teeth 
on the undersides of the skids grip the concrete of the 



road-bed, and bring the car fairly smoothly to a stop in 
eight yards on the steepest section of 1 in 4-4. 

Before the conversion to electric drive, a fully loaded 
car on the lower incline could not cause overspeeding, 
because of the friction on the cable. The Ministry of 
Transport and Civil Aviation requires that overspeed 
tests should be made annually, and therefore some 
method of speeding up the drive from the induction 
motor had to be provided. This is done by means of 
vee-belts driving via a layshaft on to the other end of the 
first motion shaft of the gear unit. Bolts which normally 
join the brake path on this shaft to the motor shaft 
extension coupling are withdrawn, and the belting is 
fitted, thus giving a speed sufficient to operate the car 
brakes. This is equivalent to 690 r.p.m. on the induction 
motor, and the arrangement retains the use of the weight- 
operated brake in an emergency. 

It has been found that the modem drive gives easier 
control with cleaner conditions, and an economy 
estimated at £1,400 per season. At tiie peak of the season 
the cars can make eight runs per hour. The normal 
timing is six minutes for the lower section and five 
minutes for the upper. 

In passing, it is interesting to note that the original 
boiler was hauled to the Halfway Station by a traction 
engine. Not unnaturally, this could not haul such a 
load direct up such steep inclines, and it proceeded 
in stages, first cUmbing unloaded to a suitable point 
and then hauling the boiler up to it by a cable passing 
round the winch drum with which the engine was 

An early suggestion for improving the hill-climbing 
properties of steam-powered trains was made by M. 
Flachat, who in 1860 pubUshed a comprehensive 
pamphlet on a proposed railway over the Alps. 

At that time, tunnelling was an even slower and more 
expensive business than it is today, so the line was to be 



taken over the St. Gotthard Pass, involving gradients of 
1 in 20 and with curves of only 66 ft. radius — something 
out of the range of any normal steam locomotive. 

Steam traction, nevertheless, was to be used. M. 
Flachat proposed that a boiler carriage of great size 
should be built, with quite small cylinders and driving 
gear sufficient only to propel its own weight. The tender 
to the great boiler, and all the carriages of the train, 
were also to have cylinders and driving gear, steam being 
supplied by a flexible pipe running along the train from 
the boiler. 

The boiler was to have 3,981 sq. ft. of heating surface 
— about the same as a large Beyer-Garratt articulated 
locomotive of today — ^and would have weighed 18 J tons, 
plus 6J tons of water contained in it. The total weight 
of the boiler carriage — ^it can hardly be called a loco- 
motive — ^would have been about 40 tons, or 62 tons with 
the tender. The steam supply was calculated to be suffi- 
cient for a train of total weight of 204 tons — quite a 
respectable weight for the 1860s. 

Another curious thing about this steam multiple-unit 
train would have been that each axle would have carried 
only one wheel, so that the wheels on each side of the 
train would have been independent, helping to overcome 
the problem of sharp curves. This was not, in fact, a new 
idea, but had been patented as far back as 1826 by 
Robert Stephenson. M. Flachat would have used eight 
wheels to each carriage. 

This scheme was only part of a very comprehensive 
plan for building and operating steam railways in 
mountainous countries. Had the plan been executed, one 
fears that trouble would have been experienced with the 
long, jointed live-steam pipe running the length of the 

This was not the first proposal for a multiple-unit 
train, however, for in 1823 an idea on rather different 
principles had been put forward by W. H. James in 



England. A train was actually built to his design, and 
achieved some surprising results. 

The James train had a locomotive with a vertical 
engine. This drove, through bevel gears, a shaft fitted 
with universal joints. Each wagon or carriage of the 
train had a similar shaft, and these could all be con- 
nected end-to-end when the train was coupled up. 
Every axle had its own bevel gear driven from tiie shaft, 
so that the engine at the front was driving every pair of 
wheels in the train, the universal joints making it 
possible to round curves of any normal radius. 

On a short test track, the James multiple-imit train 
climbed gradients of 1 in 12. To appreciate this to the 
full it is necessary to remember that even today the 
absolute limit of adhesion traction by locomotive is 
considered to be about 1 in 11. The James train was 
conceived six years before Stephenson's Rocket, in 
days when the slightest slope was considered to need 
rack rails or cable traction, and the idea of a locomotive 
with smooth wheels being able to pull a load on smooth 
rails on the level was only just being accepted. 

James had another brUUant idea for his trains. The 
coned wheel which today enables curves to be nego- 
tiated with comparative ease lay in the future, but James 
proposed that his wheels should be double-flanged, with 
the tread immediately inside the flanges of normal wheel 
diameter. In the centre of the tread, however, there 
would be a depressed section, so that the centre of the 
wheel would be of smaller diameter. The rails on his 
railway would also be of variable section, according to 
the curve being negotiated. By careful laying of the 
track, the wheels on the outer rails of curves would run 
on the larger section of the wheels, and the inside wheels 
on the smaller, thus enabling curves to be taken more 

There is not much doubt that passengers would have 
had a bumpy ride, and the wheels and rails would soon 



have become badly worn, but James, in 1823, was 
looking ahead to a problem still being investigated 
today, as will be seen elsewhere in this book. 

To bring the story of unusual multiple-unit trains 
right up to date, there is a grand-scale plan which 
originated a year or two ago in Russia. The scheme is 
for an atomic-powered railway across the Himalayas, 
linking Russia, China, and India. The track would be 
built to the enormous gauge of 14 ft. 9 in., and on it 
would run locomotives weighing 5,000 tons. Atomic 
energy would generate steam for a turbo-generator, 
providing current for electric motors giving a total of 
100,000 h.p. The wagons would each carry 1,000 tons, 
and would themselves have electric motors powered 
from the generator on the locomotive. The route would 
he largely through the mountains and deserts of South- 
em Russia, Western China, and Northern India. 

The principle of mounting the motive power unit on 
the passenger carriage is not only found in multiple-unit 
trains, but also in railcars, so that a few words about an 
early "steam-carriage" may be of interest. 

In 1847 a tiny locomotive was built by Adams & Co., 
of Fair-Field Works, for the engineer of the Eastern 
Counties Railway, Mr. Samuel, who proposed to use it 
as an inspection vehicle. Charles Hutton Gregory, 
Engineer of the Bristol and Exeter, saw this tiny loco- 
motive, and thought it could be incorporated in a mixed 
power-passenger vehicle. The resulting vehicle — ^possibly 
the first railcar in the world — ^was given trials on the 
West London line (a mixed-gauge line at that time). The 
following account from a contemporary journal gives 
a good description: — 

"The order for this Steam-Carriage was given to 
Messrs. Adams & Co., by Mr. Charles Hutton Gregory, 
the engineer of the Bristol and Exeter Line, under the 
sanction of his directors, after a single trial of the 
Lilliputian Locomotive of Mr. Samuel, which is chris- 



tened the Express. The conviction was conclusive in the 
mind of Mr. Gregory, that light steam-carriages were 
not only practical, but economical, and that by their 
agency profits might be made on branch lines which 
previously had yielded only losses. 

"Still, though the Express was a Uttle *facf, the 
passenger-carriage had yet to become a greater fact, and 
doubts in abundance were circulated. But united 
purpose grew from the conviction of mechanical truth; 
for it was not regarded as a problematic scheme, but as a 
well-ascertained plan. 

"The design and plan of the Fair-Field is by the 
Patentee. It was approved by Charles Hutton Gregory, 
who gave the carriage its name. The engine is pecuUar, 
as will be seen by the View we have given. The frame is, 
for convenience, made to bolt to the carriage firmly, in 
a separate length, so as to remove with fadUty, in case 
of repairs. The boiler is tubular and vertical, 3 feet 
in diameter, and 6 feet high — 150 tubes, 4 feet in length, 
\\ inches diameter. Fire box, 2 feet high, 2 feet 6 inches 
diameter. This will give 20 square feet of heating surface 
in the fire-box, 150 feet tube surface in the water, and 
50 feet in the steam, which has great effect in drying 
it before it leaves the boiler. The vertical tubes are 
found to generate steam very rapidly. The cylinders are 
8 inches in diameter, and of 12 inches stroke. The pistons 
commimicate by their connecting rods with a separate 
crank-shaft, on which are placed the eccentrics. The 
driving-wheels (4 feet 6 inches in diameter), the axle of 
which is in front of the boiler, are put in motion by side 
rods or crank pins. Thus, when the side rods are re- 
moved, the whole becomes an ordinary wheel carriage. 
The tank is in front of the boiler, and will contain 220 
gallons of water. The coke-box is attached to the 
carriage end. The fuel and water would be sufficient for 
a joumey of about 40 miles. The first-class compartment 
is fitted for 16 passengers, but 6 extras would find room. 



{Above, left) Aerobus for the proposed Milan t6l6pherique. Note the high 
stations in the background. {Design: Ing. d'Ah and lug. L. Adier) 

{Above, right) Series of articulated -wheeled triangular frames used in early 
Talgo experiments in Spain. 

{Below, left) Rear view of American-built, Spanish-designed Talgo train 
as used in service in Spain, The train is on a siding in this photograph. 

{Below, right) End of a section of a Talgo train as used in Spain. Note the 
coil springs and that the wheels come between, not under, the sections. 
This view also shows the double diaphragm used where the sections join 
and the side connections used to keep them in alignment. Other 
features will be recognised from the text. {Photos: Red Nacianal de los 
Ferrocarriles Espanoles). 

tAhiivf) Rear view of the original Spanish-built Talgo train used for trials. 
ifhoio: Red Nacional de los Fenvcarriles Espanoki) 

ilh-hw) "llic "Inir-I icid" railway steam carriage— one of the first self- 
propelled railcars. 


The second class will carry 32, but on occasions 48 — 
total, 70. The running wheels are 3 feet 6 inches in 
diameter, and run independently on their axles, as well 
as the usual movement of the axles in the journals. The 
frame is within 9 inches of the rails, and no steps are 
required. The total weight is estimated at 10 tons; and 
the consumption of coke will be under 10 lbs per mile. 

"The steam-carriage was delivered on to the West 
London before she was in thorough working condition, 
in order to test her powers. The result has been that she 
has exceeded a speed of 35 m.p.h. up a 3 mile incline of 
1 in 100; and 41 miles down the same incline, with the 
disadvantages of a very sharp curve and no run at 
starting, very loose rails, and one of them deeply rusted 
from disuse, grinding in the flanges with great friction. 
There is Uttle doubt that, when in order, she will make 
60 m.p.h. on good rails on a level. We understand that, 
when completed, it is the intention to run her for several 
days on the West London, to give directors and 
engineers an opportimity of trying her. 

"We should mention that in the trimmings of the 
carriages, is worked the monogram of the Railway 
Company — a. tasteful novelty, introduced by Payne and 
Son, of Great Queen-Street, Lincoln's Inn-fields." 

Among the many ideas put forward from time to time 
to enable railways to climb steep gradients was Grassi's 
screw locomotive. An account dated 1857 described this 
as follows: 

"grassi's screw locomotive engine for 
ascending steep gradients on railways 

"This invention, which has been patented by M. 
Grassi, consists of an application of the Archimedean 
screw to locomotive engines for taking trains up steep 
ascents on railways, which it is anticipated will prove 
more economic than the ordinary system of tunneUng 
and embanking. Captain Moorsom, civil engineer, 

161 L 


member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, 
and lately selected by the English Government to 
discharge the important and difficult duty of making a 
general survey for a complete railway system in Ceylon, 
has undertaken to study the Grassi system, and to 
report on its practical value. Captain Moorsom pro- 
poses to construct a locomotive engine with 18-inch 
outside cylinders, 4-ft. driving-wheel, and 24 inches 
stroke, with boiler capacity sufficient to provide steam 
(with proper expansion gear) for a speed of not less than 

12 m.p.h. on the incline, with a gross load of not less 
than 100 tons, including the weight of the engine and 
tender, which would probably amount to about 28 
tons. On the driving-axle of the engine a bevelled wheel 
will be fixed so as to connect by means of one inter- 
mediate motion with the crown-wheel on the end of the 
shaft of the screw. The driving-wheel and screw revolve 
in exact ratio to each other, so that the screw will 
advance exactly as the driving wheels advance, or, in 
other words, each revolution of the driving-wheel sends 
the screw forward 12 feet to 7 inches nearly. Thus, 12 
turns of the screw are made for every tum of the driver. 
Captain Moorsom believes that the wheel will make 
about 13,000 such revolutions per hour on the level, 
and that when we apply the same motive power to tum 
the screw on the incline of 1 in 20, the steam power will 
overcome the additional resistance arising from gravity 
and friction of the machinery, at a speed not less than 
from one-third to one-half of that attained on the level 
with the same load. The thread of the screw will be of 

13 inches diameter, winding round a cylinder or shaft 
of 7 inches diameter, and with a pitch of 12 J inches. The 
cylinder screwed will be about 5 feet 4 inches long, and 
will always hold two of the rollers in its grasp at one 
time. The rollers or pulleys will be placed 3 feet 2 inches 
apart from centre to centre, and wHl be about 8 J inches 
in diameter, and will revolve into a longitudinal balk of 



timber, and will be lubricated in the same way as the 
wheels of the carriages. The bearing timbers for the 
rollers will be a single line of balks about 10 inches 
wide by 8 inches deep; thus each mile will require 2,933 
cubic feet of timber, and 1,668 rollers. The rails will be 
bridge rails, weighing 65 lbs per yard, and screwed to 
balks equal to a section of 10 inches by 8 inches at the 
least. The total cost per mile will be £3,701. The cost 
of the engine (which will carry her tender upon her own 
frame), with screw and connecting gear complete, in the 
shops in England will be £3,000. The rails have no 
additional expense to bear on account of this peculiar 

"From the above it is obvious that a large economy 
is to be attained by use of the screw-engine." 

One of the steepest street tramways in the worid 
closed down on 24 February 1956. This was the Mary- 
hill cable tramway in Dunedin, New Zealand, which on 
part of its route had a gradient of 1 in 3^, believed to 
have been equalled only by the line on Telegraph Hill, 
San Francisco, which had a similar gradient. 

The line was opened on 16 March 1885 by the 
Momington Tramway Company as an extension of the 
Momington cable line. It was about half a mile long, 
and was single-track, with a passing loop. Curiously, 
trams kept to the right on the passing loop, a relic of 
American tramway influence in New Zealand. One 
terminus was at the tramway depot, near, but at an 
angle to, the Momington line. From there the line fell 
at a gradient of 1 in 4, steepening to 1 in 3^ for about 
530 ft. Reaching a public road, the line ran along this 
and passed through the loop, climbing then at about 
1 in 15 to the outer terminus. 

Although built for use by more than one car, in fact 
only one was ever used. This was one-man operated, 
the gripman who operated the cable grip also collecting 
fares en route. 



The line had a chequered history. It was closed for 
a time in 1903 when the dep6t and engine house were 
burned down, and passed to the Momington Borough 
Council in the same year. The Dunedin City Council 
took over control in 1916, but closed the line again 
because its poor state of repair made it dangerous. It 
was eventually repaired with serviceable materials from 
another closed line, and was reopened in 1919. A new 
cable was installed in August 1955, but was used only 
for a few days before labour troubles caused the line 
to be closed again. In the meantime, the track was 
being badly damaged by road traffic, and it was decided 
to close it completely. 

The original motive power was a Marshall engine 
developing about 37 h.p. When the Dunedin City 
Council reopened the line in 1919, this was replaced 
by an electric drive with a 57-5-h.p. motor. The winding 
gear was also replaced at this time by the old gear from 
the Momington line, and this equipment was still in 
use when the line closed finally in 1956. 

Cableways, or "t^l^pheriques'', are really outside the 
scope of tWs book, but a few words about three— one 
existing, one proposed, and one being built — all 
intended for urban transport instead of climbing 
mountains, may be of interest. 

The existing t^l^pherique is in Algiers, where the 
principality had reserved space for the track of a 
funicular as far back as the 1880s. The funicular was 
to connect the part of the town by the sea — ^really the 
business area — ^with the plateau rising just behind, now 
used extensively for residential purposes. 

The funicular was never built, but as the importance 
of the plateau grew with the building of two towns — 
Diar el Mah^oul and Diar es Saada — it was decided 
that a td^pherique should be built, using the reserved 
track. The cable rises in a single span from a station in 
the Rue de Lyon to Diar el Mah90ul 356 ft. above, 



crossing several streets and boulevards on the way. The 
tdepherique, operated by the Algerian Tramway 
Company, came into use in February, 1956. The double- 
track cables are about 785 ft. long, and the two cars 
are so arranged that one ascends while the other 

The cars weigh 3 tons 18 cwt. each, and can accom- 
modate 30 passengers. Each car can make up to 50 
journeys an hour, as the journey time, including the 
loading and unloading of passengers, is only 72 seconds. 
The resulting capacity of 1,500 passengers an hour in 
each direction is ample to meet the demand. 

Much more startling is the proposal made in 1952 by 
Ing. d'Alo and Ing. Leonardo Adler for the construction 
of a circular telepherique route in urban Milan. This 
Une would be 5^ miles in length, and would have a 
branch to the centre of the town. The branch would be 
neariy 3^ miles long. 

A large number of cars could run simultaneously on 
the cable, which would provide a double track with cars 
moving in both directions. The route would actually be 
a huge polygon, with stations in supporting towers at 
the comers. 

The cars would leave at two-minute intervals, each 
carrying 40 passengers, giving a capacity of 1,200 
passengers each way — ^very small for an urban in- 
stallation. The speed would be about 15i m.p.h. 
between stations, or, with stops, an average speed of 
12^ m.p.h. To obtain the maximum speed possible, 
stations would be provided as far as practicable at 
distances apart equal to multiples of the distance the 
cars are apart on the cable, ^us ensuring that stops 
would be simultaneous. 

The stations would be high towers, reached by lifts. 
Because of the amount of cable sag on long spans and 
the need to clear the highest buildings along the route 
by a substantial margin, the stations would be about 



250 ft. Up. A suggested use for the high towers necessary 
is as vertical multi-storey garages. 

Attractive as this line might be for sight-seeing 
purposes, its capacity seems too small to make it a 
serious contender as a means of urban transport. The 
ring of high towers round the city would probably be 
regarded with some disfavour, as these would of 
necessity be higher than most of the existing buildings. 

The third, and most unusual, funicular was being 
built in Haifa, in Israel, as this book was written. It is 
an underground Une just over a mile long, with four 
intermediate stations spaced at regular intervals. It 
connects the Lower Town with the busy shopping and 
entertainment district of Hadar Hacarmel, and also 
with the residential district of Mount Carmel. 

The new funicular, which has been under con- 
struction since 1956, climbs 985 ft. in a straight line, the 
whole of the track being in timnel at depths between 23 
and 115 ft. The maximum gradient is 1 in 3. Four cars 
will be used, each carrying 165 passengers. The power 
plant will be at the top of the slope, at the Mount 
Carmel terminus, and will include two 675-h.p. motors 
for winding the cable. The cars will travel at neariy 20 
m.p.h. between stations. 

The track used will resemble that used experiment- 
ally on the Paris M^tropoUtan, described in Unusual 
Railways J but the flanges of the railway wheels will be 
available for guiding the cars, and asphalt strips will be 
used for the pneumatic-tyred wheels. The line was com- 
pleted and opened when this book was passing through 
the proof stages. 

A t^l^pherique was once built in Britain, at Brighton. 
This was the Telpher Cable and Cliff Railway, which 
was carried across the gorge known as the Devil's 
Dyke. It was the invention of W. J. Brewer, a dvil 
engineer who, while serving in India, thought of the 
idea of spanning mountain gorges in this fashion. This 



Brighton cableway is thought to be the first of its type 
ever to be built. It was opened in October 1894. 

A small station was built on each side of the gorge, 
which at that point was about 230 ft. deep. Two track 
cables were erected, each suspended from a single 
supporting cable, tiiie latter having inverted *T"- 
shape hangers below it, one arm of the "T" supporting 
one track cable and the other arm the other. The track 
wheels of the car were so arranged as to pass over these 
hangers, but yet were held in such fashion that they 
could not leave the track. The cars were moved by an 
endless cable hauled by a Crossley oil engine. The 
width from anchor to anchor was about 1,200 ft., and 
the effective width between the supporting towers about 
650 ft. The transit time was 2 min. 15 sec. According to 
the contemporary account from which this information 
has been taken, there was provision for making curves, 
points, and crossings with this form of suspension. In 
some ways, this line seems to have been a forerunner of 
some modem monorail — or rather duo-rail systems, 
such as Davino's. 

The contractors for the Telpher Cable and Cliflf 
Railway were Heenan & Froude, and the steel wire 
cables were by Haggle of Sunderiand. 

In the chapter on Funiculars in Unusual Railways we 
described briefly the Swiss urban line from Ouchy to 
Lausanne. It may be of interest to note that since this 
description was written, the Une has been given new 
rolUng stock, and converted to rack working. At the 
time it was built, over 80 years ago, the engineers 
considered that a fimicular was needed to overcome the 
gradient. The new rolling stock can travel, mostly in 
two-car trains propelled by an electric locomotive, at 
19-20 m.p.h.— double the former speed. Incidentally, 
reports on the modernization put the maximum 
gradient at 1 in 8 or 1 in 9 (accounts vary!) and not at 
1 in 13 as stated in Unusual Railways. 




IN 1837, William Bridges Adams published his 
English Pleasure Carriages, in which he proposed a 
system of two-wheel railway vehicles so coupled as 
to "permit of the greatest flexibiUty in passing through 
short curves'*. 

Another scheme for articulation of vehicles was that 
proposed, about 1840, by Achille de JouflFrey. With the 
JouJBBrey system, which reached the working model 
stage, locomotives were to have three articulated trucks, 
the wheels of two being carrying wheels running on the 
flat surface of a rail (or plate) and the centre truck 
carrying a large flanged wooden driving wheel running 
on a grooved centre rail. Wagons were to be carried on 
two articulated trucks. It was thought that this scheme 
would improve both adhesion and performance on 
curves, and Jouffrey went into these factors very 
thoroughly. The Jouffrey scheme found a good deal of 
support, but despite this it never came to anything. 

In his Locomotive Engineering (1871), Zerah Colbum, 
commenting on the Adams design, remarked that it 
was evident that "without special couplings of great 
strength, such carriages would have a decided vertical 
unsteadiness; nor could the equal loading essential to 
keeping them in balance be depended upon". 

Nevertheless, other men have worked on the same 
idea for many years, and from it has come the "Talgo" 

The "Talgo" trains of the Spanish National Railways 
had been running for some ten years when this book 



was written, and may be taken to have proved them- 
selves to the hilt so far as Spain is concerned. Experi- 
ments in the U.S.A. have been less conclusive, as will 
be seen later. The trains were conceived to provide 
railway vehicles with low weight, but capable of high 
speeds with economy, while remaining comfortable 
and perfectly safe. 

The name "Talgo" is derived from "Train Articul6 
Leger Goicoechea et Oriel". The inventor was the 
Spanish engineer A. Alejandro Goicoechea, and Oriel 
was the name of the man who financed the invention. 
Goicoechea thought of a railway vehicle which would 
have short, rigid units, articulated together, and from 
this came the train made up of a series of triangular 
frames with wheels below the articulations. In fact, 
Goicoechea had re-invented WilUam Bridges Adams's 
idea of 1837. 

With a train made up of these two-wheeled isosceles 
triangles, guidance on curves is given to each successive 
triangle by that ahead, with assistance from the flanges 
of the wheels. If a Uttle thought is given to the be- 
haviour of the wheels and flanges of a rigid four-wheel 
bogie or wagon on a curve it will be seen that the 
Talgo principle offers considerable advantages in 
reducing friction. The sharper the curve, the greater the 
advantage, as anyone who has heard the wheels of a 
railway coach rounding a tight curve will appreciate. 
Without going into the technicaUties of wheel behaviour 
on curves, it can be said that the safety factor, with the 
Talgo design, actually increases with speed on curves. 

The articidation is such that the triangular frames 
are kept in proper line and also in correct horizontal 
relationship to each other. Thus, it is possible to con- 
sider the wheels and axles in rather a different light 
from that in which the wheels of a normal train are 
examined. As the triangles turn to follow the line of the 
rails, no great harm is done if a wheel is relieved of its 


Farm of Provisional Order, 123 

any portion of the tramways, it is represented in writing 
to the Board of Trade by twenty inhabitant ratepayers 
of the borough, or by the lessees, that under the 
circumstances then existing all or any of the tolls and 
charges demanded and taken in respect of the traffic 
on the tramways or on such portion of the tramways 
should be revised, the Board of Trade may (if they think 
fit) direct an inquiry by a referee to be appointed by the 
said Board in accordance with the provisions of the Tram- 
ways Act, 1870 ; and if such referee report that it has been 
proved to his satisfaction that all or any of such tolls and 
charges should be revised, the said Board may make an 
order in writing altering, modifying, reducing, or increasing 
all or any of the tolls and charges to be demanded and 
taken in respect of the traffic on the tramways or on such 
portion of the tramways in such manner as they think fit, 
and thenceforth such order shall be observed until the 
same is revoked or modified by an order of the Board of 
Trade made in pursuance of this Section : Provided always, 
that the tolls and charges prescribed by any such order 
shall not exceed in amount the tolls and charges by this 
Order authorised. 

Opening of Tramways to the Public, 

38. The Promoters may from time to time by resolution As to user 
declare the tramways, or any part thereof, to be open to °^ tram- 
be used by the public, and for such periods and subject to tolls 
such conditions and restrictions as to motive power and t^,^'^^^'^ 

1 • 1 -r* ^ . , . . when open 

otherwise as the Promoters may, subject to the provisions to be used 
of this Order, think fit, and such user may be either ^y^j?^ 
concurrently with the lessees or otherwise; and so soon 
as the Promoters have passed such resolution any corpo- 
ration, company, or person may use the tramways, or any 
part thereof, in accordance with the terms of such reso- 

124 Form of Provisional Order. 

lution, with carriages having flange wheels or other wheels 
suitable only to run on the rail of the tramways, and may 
demand and take for the like purposes for which tolls or 
charges are authorised to be demanded and taken by this 
Order any tolls or charges not exceeding the tolls or 
charges by this Order authorised to be demanded and 
taken for such purposes. 

Tolls if 39. If the tramways, or any part thereof, be declared 

openlo^be ^^ ^^ ^P^^ ^^ ^^ "^^^ ^X ^^ public, the Promoters may 

used by demand and take from any corporation, company, or 

^ P^ ^' person so using the tramways, or any part thereof, the 

following tolls and charges in respect of such user; 


For every passenger travelling in or upon any of the 
carriages of such corporation, company, or person 
or persons, any tolls or charges not exceeding for 
any distance traversed in the same direction at one 
time the sum of three halfpence inside and one 
penny outside for each single journey of such pas- 
senger, whether with or without change of carriage ; 
For any animals, goods, minerals, and parcels conveyed 
in or upon the carriages of such corporation, com- 
pany or person, any tolls or charges not exceeding 
for any distance in the same direction one half of 
the tolls and charges specified in the Schedule B. to 
this Order annexed, in respect of such animals, 
goods, minerals, and parcels so conveyed, subject 
to the regulations in that behalf therein contained ; 
and the Promoters may, if they think fit, commute such 
tolls or charges so that the commuted sum may -be as near 
as possible an equivalent of such tolls or charges. 

Servants 40. Any corporation, company, or person so using the 
Promoters ^^^ways, or any part thereof, declared to be open to be 


The frame is formed of a centre "U"-section beam in 
rolled aluminium alloy sheet. The side beams are of "Z" 
section, as are longitudinal and cross stays. The side 
walls and roof have "U"-section ribs drilled to reduce 
weight, and the outer skin is of corrugated aluminium 
alloy sheet. The inner surface is of veneered metal 
sheet, and the ceiUng is of aluminium sheet. The space 
between inner and outer surfaces is packed with glass 
wool for insulation. The internal arrangements vary 
according to the use to which the particular section of 
the train is put. The sections are connected by double 
rubber sheeting to make a continuous tubular structure. 
There are three mechanical connections between the 
sections. The main one is in the centre at the bottom, 
and takes the form of an articulated drawbar through 
which traction forces are transmitted. There are also 
two side connections which hold the sections in align- 
ment while allowing the necessary amount of play. 

There is one axle for each section, the wheels lying 
between the intersections and supporting the front of 
the train section in rear as well as the rear of the section 
ahead, to which it really belongs. The fixed axle is 
"U"-shaped, with bent arms at the outer ends carrying 
roller-bearing journals. The wheels turn freely and 
independently on these journals. The "U" shape of the 
axle makes it possible to lower the floor and thus reduce 
the height of the whole train. The centre of gravity is, 
in fact, only 39 in. above rail level. 

The wheels themselves have a compressed rubber 
ring between hub and tread, and thus have a certain 
amount of elasticity. The a;de is braced to prevent it 
from turning. Vertical suspension is provided by two 
coil springs surrounding hydraulic shock absorbers. At 
their lower end, these are fitted on to the ends of the 
axles by means of articulated universal joints; at the 
upper end they are attached to points on the body. 
TTiese upper points have spherical swivel joints with 



rubber inserts in the connection with the body. A torsion 
bar arrangement deals with lateral displacement of the 
body relative to the axles. Lateral shock absorbers are 
provided to damp such movements. 

This train is made up of 16 sections, each 20 ft. long 
(between coupUngs). The maximum width is 10 ft. 
6 in., and the interior height is 7 ft. 0^ in. Each passenger 
section weighs 3^ tons, and has a low centre of gravity 
— ^the bottom of the frame is only 9^ in. above rail 

The train is made up of three five-section units, each 
unit including four passenger sections and seating 64 
passengers, 16 in each section. The seats, resembUng 
aircraft seats, are arranged in twos on each side of a 
central gangway. The fifth section is a service unit 
containing a kitchen, toilets, air-conditioning equipment, 
a cloakroom, and the entrance doors (there are no 
doors in the normal passenger sections). 

This accounts for 15 of the 16 sections. The last 
section is a special streamUned observation imit, with 
rows of armchair-type seats down each side (14 seats) 
and two seats in the rounded tail. Later, after some 
experiments in running this train, the passenger section 
at the head of the train was converted to a luggage van 
to give extra space for that purpose. 

The meal service on these trains compares much more 
closely with airline practice than with that of the normal 
restaurant car. Everything is prepared in advance, and 
stored in cupboards in the small kitchen. Meals are 
served in compartmented trays to passengers sitting in 
their normal travelling seats. The trays are rested on 
small tables fitted to the backs of the seats in front. 

Because of the unusual design of the train, and the 
small headroom, there is Uttle room for luggage near 
the seats, so that all luggage has to go into the luggage 
van. It is handed in and taken out on a cloakroom- 
ticket system. Passengers' coats are taken and put in 



the cloakroom in each five-car unit: they are returned 
shortly before the passenger reaches his destination. 

The windows of the train are sealed, and, as stated, 
air-conditioning plant is fitted. Each five-car unit has 
its own plant, installed in two compartments in the 
service section. A supply of electricity for the units is 
taken from the locomotive, which has two diesel-driven 
alternators supplying 50-cycle current at 120/206 V. 
All air, whether drawn from outside or re-circulated, 
passes through oil filters. Ducts for admitting and 
extracting air are incorporated in the ceiUng structure, 
and are continued from section to section by flexible 
joints. Cover plates seal the ducts at the ends of each 
five-car unit. 

Fluorescent lighting is used in the passenger sections, 
current being supplied from the generators on the loco- 
motive. The tubes are fitted, above the windows. There 
are also D.C. incandescent lights for use at night (or as 
emergency Ughting). These lamps alternate with the 
fluorescent tubes, and are combined into a continuous 
strip covered with corrugated plexiglass shades. The 
d.c. Ughting comes into use automatically should the 
a.c. supply fail for any reason. 

All cold water is carried on the locomotive, and is 
distributed through the train by a pressure system. The 
pipes have special valves at the ends of the units which 
close automatically when units are uncoupled. There 
are small electrically-heated tanks in each service 
section to supply hot water for the kitchen and toilets. 

Each five-car unit has a crew of three, two waiters 
and a chef. Apart from deaUng with meal service, they 
also look after the cloakroom faciUties. A bell system 
enables passengers to call waiters. There is a telephone 
between locomotive and observation trailer, used 
particularly when the train has to set back — since the 
train, with its peculiar design, is really a unidirectional 
vehicle and cannot run at speed in reverse. 



Westinghouse brake equipment is fitted, the actual 
braking force being applied by internal-expansion shoes 
in drums of the automobile type attached to the wheels. 
The weight of a 16-section train is 120 tons 10 cwt. and 
the length is about 370 ft. 

An indication of the success of the Talgo trains is 
the fact that when first put into service they reduced the 
time taken for the 396-niile Madrid-French Frontier 
run from 11 hr. 55 min. to 8 hr. 25 min., and this over 
steeply-graded track rising from sea level to 3,000 ft. 
where it climbs the Col de la Brujula and 4,100 ft. 
through the Col de la Canada. 

Writing in the January 1955 Bulletin of the Inter- 
national Railway Congress Association, from which 
many of the details of the trains have been taken, Mr. 
M. R. Mazarrasa, Chief Engineer, Operating Depart- 
ment, Spanish National Railways, declared that to 
obtain an equivalent average running speed an ordinary 
train would need a locomotive of more than 4,000 h.p. 
The special Talgo locomotive, however, is of only 
650 h.p. 

One advantage of the Talgo train is its low weight, 
which reduces wear on the track, and another is that 
should the track not be in the best condition, the 
method of suspension allows the trains to run faster 
over poor track than could be the case with orthodox 

Because of the train's inability to run in reverse at 
other than low speeds, turning loops were installed. 
During train reversing movements, the guard is 
stationed in the rear observation coach with the tele- 
phone previously mentioned to keep the driver informed 
as to the state of signals, etc. 

The 650-h.p. diesel-electric Bo-Bo locomotives each 
have two 405-h.p. Hercules engines, but these are 
limited to 80 per cent of their theoretical power. The 
axle-load is 15-3 tons, giving a total weight of just over 



61 tons. With modem hydraulic or even mechanical 
transmission, this weight could be reduced somewhat, 
but there was considered to be no effective substitute 
for electric transmission when these locomotives were 
built. Three such locomotives were built for the trains. 

The Spanish National Railways were sufficiently 
impressed by the trial runs to purchase the trains, and 
were soon thinking out improvements, including a form 
of axle-guiding which would enable the train to be run 
at full speed in reverse, by making the wheels follow 
the curvature of the track even more closely. 

When the International Railway Congress was held 
in Madrid in the autunm of 1958, Talgo trains were 
running from Madrid to Irun, from Madrid to Granada, 
Malaga, Cadiz and Huelva, to Saragossa and Irun, 
from Saragossa to Tarragona and Barcelona, and to 
Valencia, Alicante, and Cartagena, as well as from 
Madrid to Leon and Vigo, Corunna, Gijon, and San- 
tander. They have proved very popular, once passengers 
have become used to them. The usual formation is 14 
sections, but 12 or 16 sections are sometimes used. 
There is a supplementary fare for travel on these trains. 

At the time of writing the Spanish Railways were 
considering the acquisition of further Talgo trains; the 
latest five-year programme provides for 15. This is 
understood to depend to a great extent on the ability 
to reduce the weight of the train still more, and the 
obvious Une of approach is the reduction of locomotive 
weight, which at present accounts for half the weight 
of the train. Five of the new trains were believed to be 
imder construction in Spain as this book was written, 
and faciUties for manufacture there have improved 
considerably in recent years. Meanwhile the three 
existing Talgo locomotives have been re-engined with 
Maybach MO.320 engines of 450 b.h.p.— two per 

As we have seen, the first Talgo trains for commercial 


(Above) The "Jet-Glide" railway, running in ice channels, proposed by 
William H. Reinholz. (Drawing: W. H. Reinholz) 

(Below) The latest Hastings proposal for a standard-gauge lightweight rail- 
I way system, as put forward for the Seattle Exposition. (Photo: John A. 

I Has lings) 

(Above) One of ihc Gcoghegan narrow-gauge steam locomotives (No. 23) 
at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, 

(Below) Narrow-gauge Geoghegan locomotive mounted in a "haulage 

wagon" to enable it to work over broad-gauge track at the Guinness 

Brewer\' in OuWin, ( Phoros: Arthur Guinness S"n (f- rvv < Ofihlin) l.rif ) 


use were built in the U.S.A. to Spanish designs, so it is 
not surprising that American builders and railways 
looked at Talgo when endeavouring to find means of 
reducing the weight and running costs of trains in the 
U.S.A. At the end of 1955 or beginning of 1956, A.C.F. 
Industries Inc. had exhibited a Talgo-type car which 
embodied the results of experience gained with the 
Spanish trains. 

Talgo-type trains were built for the Chicago, Rock 
Island and Pacific, and the New York, New Haven and 
Hartford railways, and were modified to meet require- 
ments in the U.S.A. For example, units were made up 
of three sections only, and individual cars were to be 
interchangeable. A prototype ran successfully and 
smoothly at up to 90 m.p.h. 

The bodies of these trains are so built as to be 
suitable for fitting as "parlour", or dining cars. The 
overall length of the cars is 34 ft. 6^ in. and the width 
10 ft. 2 in. The cars are designed to withstand a buffing 
load of 400 tons (U.S.). Special Tightlock couplers are 
fitted. The weight per passenger is only 700-800 lb., or 
half that of conventional trains in the U.S.A. The floor 
level is only 26-28 in. above rail level. As with the 
Spanish trains, each unit has its own air-conditioning 

The Rock Island train began running between 
Chicago and Peoria (161 miles) in February 1956. It 
had seats for 288 coach passengers and 20 parlour-car 
passengers, the latter in a combination unit including a* 
dining car. The cost worked out at $2,300 a seat com- 
pared with the then current cost of $3,800 a seat for 
conventional trains. 

For some time this train ran two round trips a day 
(644 miles), but in 1957 it was withdrawn from the 
Chicago-Peoria service and transferred to the outer 
suburban service between Chicago, Blue Island, and 
Joliet. The train was altered for this purpose by adding 

177 M 


a three-car unit from the prototype train mentioned 
previously. The dining-car accommodation was re- 
moved, and the seating increased to 500. An unusual 
feature was the installation of automatic machines to 
sell coflFee, cold drinks, cigarettes, confectionery, etc. 

The New York, New Haven and Hartford Talgo-type 
train, the John Quincy Adams, was running between 
New York and Boston. It is a 15-section train powered 
by two Fairbanks-Morse 1,720-b.h.p. diesel-electric 
locomotives, one at each end. The locomotives are 
fitted to pick up third-rail current while running on 
Manhattan Island, since only electric locomotives may 
run into Grand Central Terminal. As this book was 
written, this train was out of service for modifications. 

Another type of train resembling the Talgo is being 
built by Pullman Standard under the title of "Train 
X". One such train is already in the hands of the New 
York Central System. This has five units with two cars 
per unit. Each unit has seats for 88 passengers. There is 
a separate 1,000-h.p. locomotive. 

The train owned by the New Haven, the DarCl 
Webster, has five three-car units, and is powered by two 
1,000-h.p. diesel-hydrauUc locomotives, one at each 
end. There are also a few electric motors on the train 
for use in low-speed running on Manhattan Island. 
This train, too, was out of service when this book was 
written, and it seemed likely that it and the John 
Quincy Adams might be out of service for some time. 

Much of the initial work on the Train X design was 
done on the Chesapeake and Ohio, and a single trial 
car was run in 1951. The Talgo design in the U.S.A. 
seems to have been influenced by the construction in 
Germany in 1953 of two "gliederzuge", which, although 
they avoided the use of Talgo patents, were un- 
doubtedly influenced by the Talgo design. 

In 1954, the German Federal Railway started to use 
two articulated trains built on Talgo Unes, though not 



actually using any Talgo patented methods. These 
trains were known as the Komet and the Senator. 

During the first experimental period of running, the 
trains ran for some two months (23 May-30 July 1954) 
without attention. The Komet ran every night between 
Hamburg and Basle (570 miles) and the Senator ran 
every day from Frankfurt to Hamburg and back (670 

After this initial period the trains were withdrawn 
for inspection, and some minor improvements were 
carried out. The Senator^ which was fitted with single 
axles between each pair of units, developed lateral 
oscillations when travelling at speed, and the modifica- 
tions were designed to overcome this. The Komet^ a 
sleeping-car train, had an extra unit added to the 
original seven. At the time of its trial runs, it was the 
only German sleeping-car train worked by diesel power. 
Its riding proved equal to that of the ordinary sleeping 
cars in use in Germany. The designed speed of both 
trains was 75 m.p.h. but during the reconditioning 
period the locomotives were fitted with superchargers 
to make them capable of running at speeds up to 100 

In Argentina, development work has been under- 
taken on a new type of railcar understood to incorporate 
ideas derived from the Talgo system. The prototype 
vehicle has independent wheels and springing. The 
height and centre gravity are low, 9 ft. 10 in. and 39 J in. 
respectively. The body, 60 ft. in length, is tubular and 
has reversible seats for 40 passengers. The empty 
weight of this car is believed to be 19 tons. Two 125- 
b.h.p. Leyland engines are fitted, using mechanical 
transmission. A photograph of this car shows drop 
windows at the sides, so it is to be assumed that air- 
conditioning is not fitted. Development work was being 
carried out by the D.F. Sarmiento Railway at the 
Liniers works. 



There are several other forms of lightweight trains in 
the U.S.A., such as the "Aerotrain" of four-wheel 
coaches, the "Keystone" tubular train of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad, and the coaches and multiple-unit cars 
of the "Pioneer III" type built by the Budd Company. 
None of these, however, departs as greatly from con- 
ventional practice as those already described. 

Before leaving this section, however, it is worth 
mentioning a Swedish lightweight train, known as the 
KLL, which has some particularly interesting features. 
The train was designed and built by the A. B. Svenska 
Jamvagsverk-Stadema of Linkoping, and is light in 
weight, has a low centre of gravity, and is capable of 
high speeds. 

The first train to be built has seven coaches, each 
37 ft. 6 in. long, about half the length of a standard 
railway coach. The height above rail level is just over 
10 ft. Various seating arrangements are possible, and 
the original train allows either 24 or 40 passengers per 
coach. Construction is of steel; roof, sides and under- 
side are made of spot-welded units, and final as- 
sembly is made by riveting. The complete coach body 
forms a tubular unit, with a smooth underside. The 
floor is 22J in. above rail level to suit average platform 
height in Sweden. 

Each unit has an axle at both ends, so that a unit 
seen by itself is in efiect a four-wheel vehicle. 

Each pair of wheels, the axle, brake drums, rubber 
springs, torsion arm bearing, and the coupler, forms a 
complete unit. The rubber pads give the wheel sets 
considerable freedom of movement, and turn the wheels 
and axles into what is really a truck unit. The merging 
of the coupler with the axle gives some of the guiding 
features associated with Talgo trains, but the great 
point is that the couplers lock the axles at the ends of 
adjacent coaches into a solid four-wheel bogie, making 
the train into an articulated unit with four-wheel 



bogies. As the wheels turn freely and individually on 
the axles, some of the difficulties associated with normal 
bogies are avoided. 

A special locomotive has been built for this train, 
powered by two Cummins VT-12 diesel engines and 
rated at 1,020 h.p. It is a diesel-hydraulic locomotive, 
each engine driving both axles of the bogie with which 
it is associated. It weighs only 36 tons, and is capable of 
100 m.p.h. The train of seven coaches, locomotive, and 
full load of passengers and baggage weighs only 116 

It has been found in trials that this train can negotiate 
curves at a speed some 25-30 per cent higher than can 
standard trains. 

At the end of 1958 it was reported that the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad and the Curtiss- Wright Corporation 
were jointly considering the possibility of a Ughtweight 
fixed-formation train to be powered by a 3,000-h.p. 
Wright engine, driving a reversible-pitch propeller. 
Although there were proposals in France just before the 
1939-45 war for a propeller-driven diesel-engined car, 
the only conventional track car to be driven by a 
propeller was the 1931 Kruckenberg railcar (apart 
from the experimental vehicles which led to its con- 
struction). Propeller-drive has been proposed for mono- 
rails, and was actually used on the trial Une built for 
the Bennie Railplane (see Unusual Railways). 




MUCH has been heard in recent years of "Piggy- 
back" services, in which one vehicle (usually 
road) is carried on another vehicle (usually 
rail). Somewhat unusual, however, is a railway with 
piggy-back locomotives, but such is the Guinness 
Brewery Railway at St. James's Gate, Dublin. 

The brewery, one of the most famous in the worid, 
and the largest in Europe, was estabUshed in 1759, 
when horse-drawn trams and carts were used for in- 
ternal transport. As the production of the brewery 
grew rapidly in the second half of the last century, more 
efficient methods of transport were needed, and it was 
decided to lay down a proper railway system. 

The designers faced a problem of gradients, for the 
brewery, on rising ground on the banks of the LiflFey not 
far from the centre of Dublin, is on three different 
levels. The railway was built between 1873 and 1877, the 
rise from the middle level of the brewery to the upper 
level being overcome originally by the use of a hydrauUc 
lift which carried railway vehicles up to the level of 
the brewhouses. There are now 8J miles of railway 
track in the brewery. 

Much of the efficiency of the railway was due to 
Samuel Geoghegan, who was appointed Head Engineer 
of the brewery in 1875. He increased the weight of the 
rails on the 22-in. gauge Une, and designed a two and 
a half turn spiral tunnel to take the Une from the middle 
to the upper level. He also built new wagons and loco- 



The tunnel — surely the only spiral railway tunnel in 
the British Isles — ^raises the line through a height of 
25 ft. It has a radius of 60 ft. and a gradient of 1 in 39. 

The first locomotive for the Une was built in 1875, 
but its weight and power were inadequate for the 
comparatively heavy loads to be handled. Samuel 
Geoghegan purchased two further locomotives in 1876. 
These weighed 5 tons, and had large flywheels over the 
boiler rather in the manner of a road steam roller. They 
rejoiced in the appropriate names of Malt and Hops. 
These were followed by two six-ton locomotives, and 
in 1882 Geoghegan himself designed a locomotive with 
a weight of 7 J tons. 

The first of the design was built by the Avonside 
Engine Company of Bristol. This was followed by 18 
other locomotives to the same design, built by the 
Dublin firm of WiUiam Spence, Cork Street. This firm 
is now defunct. 

As may be guessed from the number built, the 
Geoghegan locomotives proved very successful. They 
have two cylinders located over the boiler, driving by 
flexible-jointed, vertical side-connecting rods. They are 
tank engines with side tanks attached to the main 
frame plates. The tanks hold 80 gallons of water, and 
3^ cwt. of coal can be carried in the bunkers. These 
four-wheel locomotives can haul 75 tons at slow speed 
on the level, or 18 tons on the steepest gradient on the 
system. The present tense is used because four of the 
Geoghegan locomotives are still available for traffic 
when required, and gave a good account of themselves 
during the oil shortage after the Suez incident, when 
they replaced the diesels normally used. 

Each has a 29-in. diameter boiler and 72-6 sq. ft. of 
heating surface. The working pressure is 180 lb. per 
sq. in. The two cylinders are each 7 in. in diameter, and 
have an 8J-in. stroke. The wheels have a diameter of 
1 ft. 10 in., and the wheelbase is only 3 ft. 



The decision that diesel traction should take over 
duties on the line was made in 1947, when maintenance 
of the steam locomotives had become uneconomical 
and the quality of coal had deteriorated. Twelve 7-ton 
"Planef O-M) diesel locomotives by F. C. Hibberd & 
Company are now in use. One of them was shown at the 
Festival of Britain in London in 1951. 

There is a semicircular engine shed in the centre 
of the main yard of the brewery. This has all the usual 
appurtenances of a roundhouse, including pits and a 

There are nearly 300 wagons on the Guinness railway, 
over 200 of which are tipping wagons, four-wheeled, 
weighing about 15 cwt. and having a capacity of 80 
cu. ft. Seventy-five are flat bogie wagons each weighing 
about 30 cwt. There are even some passenger vehicles, 
very old four-wheel wagons fitted with back-to-back 
seats and canopies. These seem to have been built 
as passenger vehicles, or converted to that purpose very 
early in the history of the railway, and are still used to 
take special visitors round the brewery. The flat wagons 
carry casks and sacked hops; the tipping wagons, malt, 
spent hops, and spent grain. 

Apart from the narrow-gauge railway, there are 1^ 
miles of broad-gauge railway in the brewery on the Irish 
gauge of 5 ft. 3 in. This connects, through Kingsbridge 
depot, with the main-Une railway network of Coras 
lompair Eireann. It crosses a pubUc road on its way, and 
is subject to the St. James's Gate Tramways Act, 1901, 
during its passage. Following the provisions of the Act, 
a man on foot, carrying a red flag, precedes the loco- 
motive across the street, and the motion of the loco- 
motive is covered in order that horses shall not be 
frightened by it. 

It is on this broad-gauge line that locomotive "piggy- 
back'' working takes place at times. An electric hoist 
hfts a complete narrow-gauge locomotive on to a broad- 



gauge "haulage wagon'' specially built for the purpose. 
The wheels of the locomotive rest on friction wheels in 
the wagon, and these in turn are coupled by gearing to 
the track wheels of the wagon. When the locomotive 
wheels turn, the drive is transmitted to the track wheels 
of the wagon. 

The broad-gauge line is usually worked nowadays by 
a 202-h.p. Hudswell Clarke diesel locomotive with 
Davey-Paxman engine, and by two Hudswell Clarke 
steam locomotives dating from 1914 and 1919 respec- 
tively. Like the broad-gauge diesel, these steam loco- 
motives weigh 32 tons. They have 15-in. X 22-in. 
cylinders, and have a working pressure of 175 lb. per 
sq. in. ITie wheelbase is 6 ft. One of the Geoghegan 
locomotives has been presented to the Belfast Tramway 
Museum; another. No. 13, has been given to the 
Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, and is now in 
the Society's museum. 

The Illustrated London News of 7 September 1850 
gives an account of the Weston "Nova Motive" system, 
a rather complicated version of the atmospheric pro- 
pulsion idea which interested so many railway engineers, 
from I. K. Brunei downwards. 

The Weston system must have had some merit, for it 
reached the working model stage successfully, as the 
Illustrated London News account reveals. It says: 

"At the Polytechnic Institution is a new mode of 
propulsion now being demonstrated, which, imder this 
title [Nova Motive] consists of a series of carriages 
travelling along with their own motor, in the form of a 
tube, which is flexible and air-tight. This tube has a 
series of side valves, entirely under the care of a guard, 
who, by levers, has perfect control over his train. The 
application is very ingenious, and is the invention of a 
mechanic. Along the whole line of railway is laid a pipe 
of any given diameter, in connexion with which a series 
of pistons are fixed between the rails intended to receive 



the tube above-mentioned in its passage. In these 
pistons are atmospheric valves opening into the fixed 
pipe, which is always kept exhausted, so that, when the 
train passes over the pistons, the side valves in the tube 
are opened by means of inclined planes conmiunicating 
with other levers, which levers are raised up on the train 
passing. The atmosphere existing in the tube conse- 
quently rushes from the tube to supply the vacuum, and 
the train is impelled by external atmospheric pressure. 
The inventor, Mr. Weston, with several other practical 
mechanics, formed into a society, called the Inventors' 
Protection Society, has executed the illustration of a 
system by which the inventor states great saving may be 

The sight of a steam locomotive running across 
country would lead most people to assume that there 
must be a railway line underneath it. This would not 
necessarily have been the case in Canada and Russia 
in the second half of the last century. 

In 1860, Nathaniel Grew built a small locomotive — 
about 15 ft. in length — designed to run on ice. In the 
next year he followed this by a larger locomotive. 
The original locomotive was sent to Moscow for use on 
cross-lake merchandise traflSc. It was a saddle-tank 
locomotive with wrought-iron frames and had only two 
wheels. These were 4-ft. driving wheels, almost in the 
centre of the locomotive, driven by two 6-in. diameter 
pistons with 16-in. stroke through connecting rods. 
The cylinders were horizontal, and were placed behind 
the wheels and outside the frame on each side of the 
footplate. The driving wheels had broad tyres in which 
steel spikes could be fixed. The rear of the frame was 
carried on a pair of iron-shod sledge runners, and the 
front had a similar but smaller sledge. Both sledges were 
fitted with leaf springs, and the driving wheels were 
sprung in a manner which allowed the distribution of 
weight between driving wheels and sledges to be varied 



according to the nature of the surface over which the 
locomotive was running. There was a tubular boiler with 
a working pressure of 100 lb. per sq. in. The front sledge 
could be steered by a lever (looking rather like a screw- 
brake handle) on the front of the frame. 

Grew's second locomotive, built by Neilson & Co., 
was much more like an orthodox locomotive. It, too, 
was a saddle tank, but whereas the first engine had 
rather clumsy tanks with a box-Uke appearance, the 
Neilson engine had a properly shaped saddle, behind 
which was a steam dome. ITie 5-ft. driving wheels 
looked just Uke those of an orthodox locomotive, 
except for the tyres, and the upper parts of the wheels, 
above the frame, were enclosed by splashers. There were 
two cyUnders, 10 in. in diameter and of 22-in. stroke. 
These drove an intermediate shaft on which were 
the eccentrics, and coupUng rods connected this inter- 
mediate shaft to the wheels. 

The wheels were set further back than on the original 
locomotive— just forward of the footplate — and there 
was no rear sledge. The front sledge was longer and 
more massive — ^about 11 ft. in length compared with 
the total locomotive length of 22 ft. 6 in. over buffers — 
yes, buffers ! This sledge was steered from a platform in 
front of the smoke box, the steering mechanism consist- 
ing of a handwheel like a ship's wheel, and worm 
gearing. This locomotive weighed about 12 tons. 

It is recorded as having regularly worked on Russian 
rivers in the winter of 1861-62, hauUng passengers and 
goods. Some accounts say that it ran a regular mail 
service between St. Petersburg and Kronstadt, hauling 
three standard railway coaches mounted on sledges. 

The final fate of these two remarkable locomotives 
does not seem to have been recorded. 

These two Russian examples are by no means the only 
ice locomotives, however, for many were used later in 
the last century and in the earlier years of the present 



one to haul lumber in Canada and the U.S.A. Many 
such locomotives were built by the Phoenix Manu- 
facturing Company of Eau Claire. 

The first such locomotive was tried out in Wisconsin, 
and proved a complete success — so much so that the 
company was practically swamped with orders. A 
typical locomotive of this type was carried on a leading 
sledge (taking the place of a leading bogie), and heavy 
caterpillar treads taking the place of driving wheels. 
A cab was provided for driver and fireman, as in normal 
railway practice. On the front was a large steering wheel, 
with a seat for the steersman. The boiler, of normal 
locomotive type, had a working pressure of 200 lb. 
per sq. in., and was 15 ft. in length and 3 ft. in diameter. 
The firebox was large, and was designed to bum wood — 
plentiful in lumbering areas. The frame was of heavy 
channel iron, reinforced where necessary. 

The locomotives had four cyUnders, 6J in. in diameter 
and of 8-in. stroke. Power was transmitted to the 12-in. 
wide caterpillar tracks by spur and bevel gearing. 

The cab fittings resembled those of an orthodox rail- 
way locomotive in every way, even to the reversing 
mechanism. Speed was low — for it must be remembered 
that these locomotives operated on what were essen- 
tially logging roads, though covered with ice and snow — 
and averaged 4-5 m.p.h. In really good conditions 
about 15 sledges with 5,000-7,000 ft. of logs on each 
could be hauled. 

Great attention was paid to the surface of some of the 
busier tracks, easy curves and gradients being cut and 
the frozen snow being watered to produce a hard, glassy 
surface. In some cases, regular ruts were worn, which, 
treated with water, made tracks which the locomotives 
and sledges could follow as well as an orthodox train 
follows the rails. 

On the longer runs, a water sledge and a caboose 
sledge for the crew were attached to the trains. 



At least one of these locomotives came to Europe, 
and was run experimentally in Finland. 

Another strange locomotive, this time with legs, was 
William Brunton's "Steam Horse" (1813). This was 
propelled by two mechanical legs, and ran for about two 
years at Newbottle before ending its career in a specta* 
cular explosion. It was popularly known as the "Grass- 
hopper". Another Brunton locomotive worked at the 
Rainton mines. 

Incidentally, a road steam-coach with legs was built 
at about this period by David Gordon. The coach had 
four wheels, the front wheels being turned by a hand 
steering gear. Between the front and rear wheels were 
six "legs" or propellers, which were designed to work in 
the same way as the hind legs of a horse, being alter- 
nately forced out backwards against the ground and 
then drawn clear of the ground again. These legs were 
operated by a six-throw crank driven by a steam engine 
carried in the body of the carriage. The legs carried a 
form of shoe, or "foot", at the ends. The legs themselves 
were iron tubes with a wooden core, a combination 
which was supposed to combine lightness with strength. 

Sir Joseph Paxton, who started his career as a 
gardener, became superintendent of the Duke of Devon- 
shire's gardens at Chatsworth when he was only 25. 
He rose to fame as the designer of the buildings for the 
Great Exhibition of 1851, and is well known as the 
builder of the Crystal Palace. The Palace was, in fact, 
the 1851 Exhibition building transferred, under Paxton's 
direction, to the site at Sydenham still known as Crystal 

One of Paxton's schemes which has had much less 
attention was for a great railway girdle round London, 
which would have obviated any tunnelling work. The 
railway would have run in a sort of extended Crystal 
Palace 11 J miles long, built of iron and roofed with 
glass. It would have been 72 ft. wide and 180 ft. high. 



The great glass structure would have run from the 
Royal Exchange, crossing Cheapside opposite Old 
Jewry, and then across the river by a wide bridge at 
Queenhithe — ^which, like the old London Bridge, would 
have had houses on each side of it. Passing through 
Borough and Lambeth, the girdle would have reached 
the South Western Railway, from which a loop would 
have been built to cross over a new bridge near Hunger- 
ford and ending at Regent's Circus. The main girdle- 
line would have crossed the South Western Railway, 
run over a bridge at Westminster, and thence via Vic- 
toria Street through Belgravia, Brompton, Kensington 
Gardens and Notting Hill, to Paddington and the 
Great Western Railway. From there the girdle would 
have run to join the London and North Western Rail- 
way and the Great Northern Railway, and onwards 
through Islington to the starting point at the Royal 

Houses and shops would have been built on both 
sides of the railway "boulevard'', with an ordinary road 
running between them. Behind the houses would have 
run four lines of railway, built on top of a "raised 
corridor" about 26 ft. above the road level — ^high 
enough to cross over existing streets without trouble. 
Under the "raised corridor" would have been shops or 
flats (or "tenements", as Paxton called them). These 
shops or flats were to have double walls with air passing 
between them — ^what are now known as "cavity walls" 
— ^to prevent the noise and vibration of the trains from 

At least there would have been no smoke or fumes 
from the railways, for they were to have been worked 
on the atmospheric principle. 

The cost of this gigantic enterprise was estimated 
at £34,000,000, and it was hoped that a Government 
guarantee of 4 per cent interest would be forthcoming. 
A profit of £400,000 a year was expected on the enter- 



prise, but the whole thing seems to have been on much 
too grand a scale to win support. 

Some interest was aroused by the mention in Unusual 
Railways of various lines laid with wooden rails. One or 
two more examples of such lines may be of interest. 

An American railway contractor named J. B. Hulbert 
invented a particular type of wooden rail in the 1860s, 
and offered to build Unes using his rails in Canada, 
particularly in Quebec Province. He was sufficiently 
successful to induce the passage of an Act through the 
Provincial ParUament, in 1869, to encourage the build- 
ing of wooden railways of this type by guaranteeing 
interest at 3 per cent, up to a cost of $5,000 a mile, on the 
cost of railways of this nature finished before mid- 1872. 
The Act also guaranteed interest on the cost of major 

The first railway to take advantage of the Act was 
the Quebec and Gosford, of which some 25 miles were 
laid by 1870, closely followed by the RicheUeu, Drum- 
mond and Athabasca. The latter built a 50-mile line 
between Sorel and Dnmmiondville, and had trains 
running before the subsidy offer expired. The line was 
taken over by the South Eastern Railway the next 
year and rebuilt with iron rails. 

The Levis and Kennebec and the Sherbrooke, Eas- 
tern Townships and Kennebec Railway, later to become 
part of the Quebec Central Railway, started work on 
the track formation in this period. They were prepared 
to lay wooden rails, and actually had a considerable 
quantity on hand, but changed to iron before, or soon 
after, track work actually started, it being evident by 
then that the Hulbert rail was not successftd. 

Two further railways, the St. Francis and Kennebec 
and the Three Rivers and Piles, changed plans at the 
last moment and used iron rails instead of the Hulbert 

Hulbert himself built the Quebec and Gosford, using 



his own design of rail. These were baulks of maple 7 in. 
high and 4 in. wide, set in notches cut from heavy 
wooden sleepers. The rails were only 14 ft. long, but 
scarf joints were used, and the sleepers were so spaced 
that the scarf joints always occurred where the rails 
rested in a notch. The rails were held in the notches by 
wooden wedges driven Uke the keys in modem bullhead 
track, and these were the only fastenings used. The 
timber used was cut locally. 

The locomotive for this unusual line was built by 
the Rhode Island Locomotive Works. Named the 
Jacques Cartier, it was a 4 4 with special wheels made 
to cover the entire 4-in. width of the rails. The Jacques 
Car tier reached Quebec in June 1870, and was driven 
under its own steam along a tram track and then over 
temporary rails to the end of the railway. The wood- 
burning locomotive, with its tender, weighed 28 tons. 

Most of the wagons built were flat platform vehicles, 
but four were fitted with passenger bodies and were said 
to have been luxurious and smooth-running. Speeds of 
35 m.p.h. were recorded on this Une. 

Wet weather, however, proved the downfall of the 
Hulbert rail. The baulks warped and wedges fell out, 
and many times the train left the rails. After about a 
year of struggling against difliculties the Une was 

One of the strangest schemes to win official approval 
was the three-tier railway of James B. Swain, sometime 
Engineer to the State of New York. Swain was a com- 
petent and enthusiastic engineer, and carried the State 
Legislature with him, so that in 1872 a charter was 
granted to a company to build the Une. 

Swain proposed to buy a right of way right through 
existing buildings, where necessary, and to lay three 
tracks, one above the other. The bottom level would be 
for freight, the middle one— just below normal road 
level — ^for foot passengers, and the top level for cars 


1 the auiLiiiiaiic Posi Ollke railway in Brussels, 

(Above) Ice locomotive built by Nathaniel Grew for service o 
lakes and rivers. {Pkoro by courtesy of "The Engineer' 

(Below) The Snort track at Inyokem China Lake, California, in use. The 

pilot's scat is being ejected from a mock-up of the X-15, the aircraft built 

to fly out of the atmosphere into the fringes of space and return, carrying 

the first man into space. (Pho/o: U.S. Air Force) 


China Lake, and numerous tracks have been built 
since. The China Lake track held the world's speed 
record for a land vehicle until 1959. It is officially 
known as the Supersonic Naval Ordnance Research 
Track, contracted, in the deUghtful manner which 
makes one suspect that things in the U.S.A. tend to be 
named with their initial letters in mind, to snort. 
There is a second track, prosaically named G-4, at 
China Lake. This track is also interesting and will be 
referred to again later. 

The snort track was built and aUgned with the 
greatest precision. The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey 
marked out a series of points at roughly 2,000-ft. 
intervals, 300 ft. west of the actual hne of the track. 
These were the "master" points, from which the con- 
tractor for the rail track laid out further points at 500- 
ft. intervals only 50 ft. west of the track. These were 
accurately placed to 1 part in 100,000. The concrete 
track beam was laid with reference to these markers. 
The track was surveyed and re-surveyed no less than 
five times. Optical surveying was done on still nights 
when the temperature was less than 70 degrees. Concrete 
for the 4-1 -mile, 6 ft. 7t-in. wide, track beam was 
poured to a vertical tolerance of-0, +i in., and pouring 
continued night and day until the whole beam was 
completed. Immersion vibrators were used to compact 
the two courses placed. A typical track bed, in which 
the concrete was placed, was about 12 ft. wide and 
8 ft. 6 in. deep, properly compacted. 

Sleeper units were placed at 50-ft. intervals, but only 
alternate sleepers were used, so that the track was 
supported by sleeper units at 100-ft. centres. The 
alternate sleepers, also at 100-ft. centres, could be used 
if necessary in the future. At joints, double sleepers 
were used. The sleepers could be adjusted both vertically 
and horizontally. 

The rail used was the Bethlehem Steel Company's