Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monorails of the 19th Century by Adrian S Garner

Monorails have been the future for a very long time. Right back to 1821 according to this book.

Adrian Garner has been interested in monorails for a very long time. I remember his excellent models of the Listowel & Ballybunion railways from model magazines a long time ago. Because of this, you'll not be surprised to find that this line and the other Lartigue monorails occupy a sizable chunk of the book.

At a whopping 287 page though, there is a heck of a lot else in here. This is a well-researched and scholarly work but even if you just enjoy looking at the pictures then it's worth a go. The author has unearthed photos showing lines from around the world. Photo credits tell of a long and extensive search. Additionally, there are clear drawings that would be a boon to any modelmaker who fancies something very different.

Some, if not most, of the schemes are a bit crackpot in the way that Victorian inventions are wont to be. I love the idea from Mr CW Stewart to run an underwater monorail that would lift ships out of the Mississippi to save the effort of dredging it.

There's a real line up Mount Vesuvius and Captain Meigs amazing looking steam powered contraption. The delights keep on coming.

It's easy of course, with the benefit of hindsight, to spot the duds but since the inventors and investor didn't have this, they ploughed on with the oddest of schemes. This means we get to enjoy and learn from them in this book.

Not everything has vanished. Some of the machines are now preserved and of course there is still the Schwebebahn in Germany available to riding.

A fantastic book for anyone with an eye of the off-beat. I can see a number of projects I'd love to have a go at in model form. For the price, it's a bargain and I look forward to a follow-up for the 20th Century, if it appears, there will space on my bookshelf.

Monorails of the 19th Century from Amazon


Bill Luty said...

Thank goodness for that, went on first thing and thought you must be ill, or worse giving up!

Phil Parker said...

Sorry, the time settings aren't adjusted for BST so I keep getting confused. Don't worrry, tomorrows is already set!