The Bradford Monorail.

Updated: 20 June 2003
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Left: The Bradford & Foster Brook Monorail of 1878

This machine, with its twin chimneys, looks like it might have had some inspiration from The Lartigue Monorail, but actually it was a modified version of General LeRoy Stone's Centennial Monorail.
The Lartigue came later.

Whether this is the original engine or the new one that exploded (see below) is uncertain.

This monorail was operated on a four-mile line between Bradford and Gilmore, Pennsylvania, USA. It was intended to transport oil drilling equipment and its workforce, but before long was tranporting local passengers as well. The original Bradford locomotive appears to have had a rotary steam engine, but no details are known. However, it was clearly short of power, because...

The Bradford-Gilmore line was the scene of the worst disaster in monorail history, in 1879. A new and larger piston-driven engine was being demonstrated, pulling a flatcar full of officials. The train was being run at high speed to demonstrate its capabilities; the boiler exploded and the train crashed into a creek, killing the driver, fireman and three passengers. The surviving passengers were seriously injured. The line closed shortly afterwards.

This disaster is in contrast to the resilience of the Lartigue monorail, which proved highly resistant to deliberate sabotage in Ireland.

Left: This stereo photograph is believed to be the only other image of the Bradford & Foster Brook Monorail.

Skeletal cow-catchers can be seen at the front, on either side of the central beam.

Picture kindly provided by Robert M Vogel.

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