Compresed air engine , 1881.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from the 'Illustrated London News'. The idea for a pnuematic railway was first devised by George Medhurst in 1810. This proposed that a carriage could be blown along rails in an iron tube by the action of compresed air. Medhurst's idea was revived in 1860 by the Pneumatic Despatch Co for the transport of small goods, particularly mail. Subsequently, a four foot diameter tunnel was built between Euston Station and a district post office, and later the General Post Office itself was also connected, but the scheme was not a lasting succes. Beaumont compresed air machines were later used engineering work, for example for boring tunnels and in mining.