Bennie's Rail Plane

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Postby AMcD » Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:55 am

turbozutek wrote:And they have known that since Jesus left Galston.

Chris...


::):
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Postby caine » Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:58 am

having lived in bearsden for a number of years, i seem to remember something like this in tha area behind the allander sports centre, it was the kind of place youngster go to drink and smoke etc at night. not that i ever joined in of course, i was a good little boy....

i think there was a long line of stilt like girders. cant remember much else though.
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Postby Apollo » Thu Oct 07, 2004 2:53 pm

turbozutek wrote:I don't mean direct drive in terms of energy transmission, I mean direct drive in terms of driving the WHEELS

Em... so did I.

What other form of direct drive did you have in mind that they might have been using in 1930?

The railplane concept only worked at that time because of the employment of aero technology. Had they started to build gearboxes, axles, wheels, conventional (for the period) engines etc. then the resultant vehicle would have been too big and heavy to go overhead. And, as noted, noise and vibration, not good, certainly not for the up-market clientele they appeared to have in mind.

They could have put the resultant vehicle on big wheels, separated it from the passanger carying area, laid a track to run it on and coupled more than one compartment to it.

Hey :twisted: There's one of those pictured under the railplane. Now...what's it called, it'll come to me in a minute... em... tr.. loco.... steam eng....

Shame, we can hardly get maglev and its pals working today. Sad, innit.
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Postby turbozutek » Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:02 pm

Apollo wrote:What other form of direct drive did you have in mind that they might have been using in 1930?


I think electric direct drive would have been more than possible - trams were having a lot of fun with it.

Apollo wrote:
The railplane concept only worked at that time because of the employment of aero technology. Had they started to build gearboxes, axles, wheels, conventional (for the period) engines etc. then the resultant vehicle would have been too big and heavy to go overhead. And, as noted, noise and vibration, not good, certainly not for the up-market clientele they appeared to have in mind.


Had these been the only design considerations, then an electrified track with motor drive would have worked as well if not better. Even better than that would have been a hollow track with steel drive cable and the actual powerplant not even in the train - given that the runs here were fairly short.

Anyways, seems that the idea sucked big time - which explains why no one bought it then and no one has adopted it since.

Chris...
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Postby Apollo » Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:25 pm

They'd never have got the speed with the small wheels the suspended track would have required, plus the control gear for trams (remember how slow they go too) of the period was an engineering nightmare. Electrically, they were still in tha dark ages then. Paper, varnish, metal and wire were order of the day, fire hazards too. No thyristor or inverter drives then.

(I wouldn't like to see motive power transmitted electrically to such a vehicle, but how about bringing the original up to date with a couple of jet turbines strapped on the back 8O )

Bennie's plan was to run above conventional rail track, so the cable drive would suffer horrendous drag losses over distance, and again, speed would be an issue, and he was selling speed.

I agree that, although inspired, it was doomed based on the available technology, not to mention those gantries.

Kind of like someone coming up with the typewriter today, as a solution to wanting a printer that doesn't need power/electricity :wink:
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Postby DVF » Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:17 pm

I went looking for the site last year, didn't find it exactly but there are some interesting old railway lines and old factory sites next to the Allander Centre, worth a look and easily accessible from the centre's car park.

One of the pictures in the link earlier shows the sheds etc. opposite a petrol station. The only petrol station in the area is the one just along from Hillfoot train station and I had been told that the monorail ran parallel to this line, which runs behind Allander Sports Centre a little further on. Incidentally, aren't there newish flats built just opposite that petrol station?
The hill goes up and down.
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Postby exdurandal » Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:55 pm

a friend of mine lived very close to that area when i was young, so we spent a fair amount of time messing around there. there are some of the concrete bases left, though i can't remember there being any metal or anything. there was also the sleepers from the railway track that ran under it, but no trace of any rails. realistically after that amount of time i'd be highly unlikely for any of it to have survived. i do ever so slightly vaguely possibly (etc) remember something we thought might've been related to it.. but i cannot for the life of me remember what it was.

also i believe that a lot of the land in that area is ready for building on after years of planning disputes.. so any last traces of it will probably be erased forever soon.
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Postby Strike Team » Wed Oct 13, 2004 5:10 pm

At last I've been able to figure out exactly where it was :) .

Image

Looking at this photo it's clear that the railplane ran above the short freight branch from the Hillfoot-Milngavie line to the former Burnbrae dye works. The goods shed type building in the picture was part of the dye works, and is now Kelvin Timber. The petrol station on the other side of Milngavie Road was demolished a few years ago to make way for LA Fitness.

Railscot has some info too (click on the Burnbrae branch):

http://www.railscot.co.uk/Glasgow_and_Milngavie_Junction_Railway/frame.htm
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Postby allyharp » Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:43 pm

There used to be a garage across Milngavie rd, next to Mcdonalds where the gym is now.

I heard that Tesco was to be moving to the site, building a new 2 storey store. The area doesn't look very big when you consider that a car park is needed also, so I'm not sure how reliable that info is.
There has also been talk of a train station at the allander, which would include a car park that would probably take up some of that land also.
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Postby radar » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:44 pm

Some of the previous posts suggested that this sort of system wouldn't have been viable, from both the propulsion system and the complicated gantry structure aspects. I have however seen a not dis-similar gantry structure used for a railway system in Germany, Wuppertal area IIRC and that was in the late 80s. Admittedly it used traction applied to the wheels that the carraiges were suspended from rather than a propellor. When folk are trying to be innovative there will always be some ideas that don't quite hit the target first time and some that wont hit the target ever but where would we be if we didn't have them trying to "boldy go where no man has gone before?". I don't think that it is fair to knock inventors like George Bennie, you sometimes need to go in a particular direction to find that you've gone off course.

Before I forget, I have seen articles about things that were experimented with in the USA (probably 60s) where they put 2 jet engines on top of a monorail vehicle. Don't think the idea really took off (thank goodness!!) but the linear motor that was being worked on at around the sametime in the UK continues to be developed with a test system again in Germany.
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Postby radar » Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:37 pm

Although there is no guide rail underneath, there are similarities with the structure and suspension of the carraiges. No propellors though!!

http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/de/mis ... n/pix.html[url]

It does seem a complicated system even if it does save on land by running above roads, rivers and buildings.
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Postby Strike Team » Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:25 pm

A working link:

http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/de/misc/Wuppertal_Schwebebahn/pix.html

Interesting design, although as you say, rather complex and expensive-looking. I wonder how viable a solution it would be to Glasgow's transport problems? I wonder what the maximum speed, and maximum passenger capacity are?

Answers on a postcard please.....
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Postby Apollo » Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:25 pm

Excellent item. Very much a monorail rather than Bennie's top and bottom guided system. However it predates Bennie's 1921 project as it dates to 1898 (more below). As noted, same problem with the material consumed in suspending the line though.

No speed figures found (though my German isn't that good) but it would seem to be fairly sedate public transport, rather than his ambitious luxury high speed system:

The Schwebebahn operates with 2-car-trains (24 m long with 4 doors) from 5.20 until 23:00. The basic daytime interval is 5 minutes with trains every 15 minutes after 21:00. One train can carry 48 passengers seated and 130 standing. The Schwebebahn transports more than 70,000 passengers a day and is operated by Wuppertaler Stadtwerke (WSW).

But already in 1898 construction of Europe's most peculiar metro, the Schwebebahn, began here. The line started passenger service on 1 March 1901 between Kluse and Zoo. The western section between Zoo and Vohwinkel followed on 24 May 1901. Two years later, on 27 June 1903, also the eastern section between Kluse and Oberbarmen was brought into service. The line was quite damaged during World War II, but service was resumed one year after the end of the war. The destroyed Kluse station was only rebuilt in 1999.

The Wuppertal Schwebebahn is the continent's only suspension urban rail line, which for most of its length runs 12 m above the river Wupper (10 km). Only the westernmost section between Sonnborner Straße and Vohwinkel runs 8 meters above streets (3.3 km). This line can be called a full metro line because it's totally independent, absolutely urban and runs on a 4-6 minute headway. For almost 100 years this was one of the safest means of transport in the world, but unfortunately in April 1999 a bad accident happened after repair work had been carried out during the weekend and 3 people died and more than 40 were injured as a train fell down into the river Wupper. The single rail which carries the train is supported by 472 iron arches that span over the river bed. Currently all these arches are being replaced and also stations are being restored, most of them in their original Jugendstil design.

Fascinating :)

Almost forgot, link to 3 webcams too http://www.wuppertal.de/livecam/
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Postby viceroy » Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:29 pm

Apollo wrote:No speed figures found


I had a look at the Schwebebahn article on this link and it actually does mention the maximum speed: 60 km/h, so just under 40 mph. The train takes 35 minutes to travel from terminus to terminus.
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Postby james73 » Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:09 pm

A staggering amount of steelwork used on that German system. Imagine
the maintainence costs!



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