Would you take this train to Coney Island?

Inventor Eben Boynton hoped you would; he tried to improve current railroad trains and came up with this thin, monorail-riding train design.

Called the Boynton Bicycle Railroad (for the single rail on the bottom and then second rail on top), Boynton first demonstrated his steam-powered train on tracks at Coney Island in the 1890s, shuttling passengers on the abandoned Sea Beach and Brighton tracks.

The BBR got a lot of attention, and it did manage to exceed speeds of 60 miles an hour.

Still, Boynton was never able to attract investors to his project, which could have set a precedent so all trains and even subway cars ran on a top and bottom rail (and were four feet across).

Boynton is the namesake of tiny Boynton Place, between West 8th Street and Avenue X, the location of the BBR demo.

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One Response to “Would you take this train to Coney Island?”

  1. Larry Says:

    Boynton did find financing, c. 1891 or 1892, for what was called the Boynton Bicycle Railroad. Key investors were Frederick W. Dunton and George E. Hagerman, and the company raised at least $60,000. They acquired substantial land or rights-of-way for a cross-island line and built a section of test or demonstration track. Among other problems the project ran afoul of vested interests of the Long Island Railroad, whose rights of way it had to pass, and failed in acrimony within a year or two. There was an entire article published on this venture a few years ago by Natalie Aurucci Stieffel.

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