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Discussion Starter #1
Have any of you ever heard of a "one-rail Railroad"? This is not the modern monorail. A friend came across this while doing some research on our hometown of Opelika, Alabama. The pictures below are not very clear but they are the only ones we've found. I have some more data about the railroad I will post tonight when I have more time.
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Thanks for any help on this,

Dan
 

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Many years ago, I stumbled on a web page about a demonstration railway a guy in England built in the late 1800's. It ran around his yard standing on a single rail, held up by 2 counter rotating gyroscopes. For bridges across a stream, it rolled onto a cable stretched across the stream. His daughter used to ride it around, and demonstrating its capabilities, would stop on one of these cable bridges right over the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This type of railroad was, the best that I can determine, actually constructed in Opelika in late 1871. It was used as a passenger rail. It was called "The Prismoidal Railroad". The line was built from the local depot in downtown Opelika to the local fishing hole about 1/4 mile from town. The depot was across the street from the hotel so folks staying in the hotel could hop on the one-rail railroad and go fishing.

Dan
 

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Well you guys know that all you have to do to see a "modern" monorail operating train is come down here to Florida in the Kissimmee area in a place called Disney World. This monorail system has been operating successfully for over 30 years now.

Ed
 

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The one at DisneyLand in California has been there over 50 years.

But I have trouble calling any of these things 'Monorail". Sure there is but one monolithic structure supporting the vehicle, but at each wheel support point there are at least 4 support points... two on the top of the "rail" supporting the weight and two more horizontally mounted wheels pressing on the vertical sides of the "rail" to prevent tipping (and maybe two more below the "rail" clamping the whole thing down aiding gravity to keep it on the "rail"

Even the Prismodial Railroad has THREE rails, (to me, anyway). One at the apex supporting the weight and two more along the sides preventing tipping. Would you call a regular railroad (with what we see as two rails) be called a "Monorail" if we filled in the space between them with metal that is forged as part of the two "bumps" that the wheels contact?
 

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That's the one, Chris. Yes, I was looking at the small demonstration model, about the size of a modern ride-on 1 1/2 inch scale.
 

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I am going from memory that the term "Prismoidal" was the 1800s term for Monorail?

Interesting stuff, I will have to run this by an Alambama rail historian I know to see if he has even heard of this, cool find!
 

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A few issues back Narrowguage and shortline gazette did a story on a monorail out west in the desert. Garden Railroader did an issue on the editors RR and he has a monorail that runs point to point in the middle of it. I believe his is all scratch built.
 

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Check out the 'Listowel and Ballybunion' (thinks thats the spelling)that ran in Ireland many years ago.Monorail,steam powered.I think the model refered to that was in GR mag is based on that.
Bunny
 

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That's it, Greg! I had to run out to the garage to make sure you hadn't swiped mine!! We have one just like it that comes out every Christmas!! Even the train running next to it looks like the Lionel one we have traveling around with our monorail!

Working there part-time, we have a special attraction for the place, and Kathy just loves riding on the monorail.

Ed


Hmmmm--- upon further examining of that photo, where did you get that????!!!
I don't even remember taking that picture!
 

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The Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette has had numerous articles over the years about various forms of "mono" railroads. Some steam powered, some gas or diesel. There used to be one in the Mojave desert near Trona that ran on a wooden "A" frame track, and was powered by Fordson tractor engines.
 

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I read that there had been a similar demonstration track long ago near what would later be the Lechmere terminal of the Boston MBTA green line.

Cheers
 

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Wasn't there a prismodial in garden Railways a couple of issues back?
 

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There was a live steam model of one at Diamondhead in 2003 Pics can be seen under the photo pages @ southernsteamtrains.com go to photos then scroll down to Diamondhead 2003
 
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