View of a pneumatic railway, c 1840s.

View of a pneumatic railway, c 1840s.
2 2 c m
40cm
actual image size: 32cm x 14cm

Description

Engraving entitled 'View of the Pneumatic Railway in Operation with Trains on a Double Line Pasing a Station'. The idea of pneumatic, or atmospheric propulsion for a railway originated with George Medhurst in around 1810. His system involved air being pumped along a pipe, pushing a piston which would drag a vehicle along rails outside the pipe. It was considered that pneumatic propulsion had potential advantages over steam, in particular the fact that as a pneumatic railway would not need a locomotive to pull it, trains would be lighter and tracks consequently cheaper to build. A number of pneumatic railways were actually built during the 1840s, including Brunel's South Devon Railway, but the technology could not displace steam, which was by then well established.

Image Details

Image Ref.
 
10413100

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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