This Space for Rent

It’s not like Disney, so it would never fly in the United States

A full-sized replica of the Listowel & Ballybunion Railway has been built (for values of built that mean 500 meters of line) in Listowel, Republic of Ireland. It's a monorail, but not as we know it; before the advent of the Alweg-style rubber-tired monorails (like the one in Seattle, which is going to be ripped down so the monorail loons can replace it with a not quite compatable straddle monorail) most of the designs for monorails (at least the ones I've seen) used steel wheels on steel rails, the way G-d intended railroads to be.

Image copied from the L&B Rwy's photo page

The L&B Rwy was never a great financial success (not because it was a monorail; Ireland used to be littered with various narrow gauge railways that were only barely profitable at the best of times) and it folded pretty much immediately after (most of) the island got their independence from the UK, but from a modellers viewpoint it would be pretty cool. I'm thinking of modelling it (Russell wants a model monorail), but not as a steam monorail; I'm imagining it as a monorail interurban, with boxcab locomotives, double-decker interurban cars (like the cars that ran on the Feurs-Panissières railway in France), and a small fleet of hopper cars and gondolas. It would run mainly on the ground, of course, but there would be viaducts and cuts to bring the interurban over or under roads. It wouldn't use overhead wire; it would get electricity from a thirdsecond rail that would sit halfway between the running rail (at the top of the A-frame) and the balancing rails.

Of course there's still the problem of switches. Monorails are pretty sucky when it comes to switches. The L&B Rwy used pieces of curved track on a turntable for switches, but that's a kind of terrible solution. Lartigue monorails use steel rails, so I could probably build railroad-style stub switches that take advantage of the flexibility of steel (probably as a hinged bridge structure with rollers on intermediate piers. With lightweight equipment, this might actually work.


Oh my. I want one! Maybe two. Damn that's pretty. If I keep reading your journal, I'm going to have to get a job just support the reborn model RR bug. :)

Lynn Wed Nov 24 22:13:32 2004

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