1902: Germany’s Flying Train

August 12, 2020

Museum of Modern Art:

The Flying Train” depicts a ride on a suspended railway in Germany in 1902.

Technology could have gone another way. We could again.

13 Responses to “1902: Germany’s Flying Train”

  1. jimbills Says:

    Fascinating to watch old footage like that. Pretty good quality film for that era, too.

    Apparently, the suspended railway has been in continuous use since then:

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Don’t think “technology will go that way again”

      It was handy to have a river to follow, which allowed for the wide base and spindly support structure. The suspended cars had to be rather smallish and light in weight also.

      In the US, where most elevated railways run above streets in cities, the “EL” design proved more useful, particularly since it allowed pretty good-sized and heavy cars to be piled on top of a strong, street-wide support system—the footprints for a city street and an elevated railway line are identical. And the volume of traffic would require bigger cars. Also, would the whole thing have to be higher to allow for hanging rail cars above and trucks below?

  2. peaksurfer Says:

    I imagine all those whose lovely homes had looked out on the channel before and to lovely distant views beyond were absolutely appalled by the lack of regard for the urban esthetic. Yes, the route greatly reduced the cost and perhaps the destructive impact of other routes, but it destroyed the beauty of the waterway. A less rushed lifestyle might have gotten around by public boats.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      You have something against progress and better living through technology? What were the Germans supposed to do with all that steel they made by burning all that coal? Build battleships and huge railway cannon?

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I tend to associate fuel-powered boats with oil-slicked water.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Oh, the poor dharlings. Too bad, so sad.
      Wind towers, on the US east coast,were delayed 17 years (?) to protect the views of the Kennedy’s et al. Try setting up a solar farm near upmarket property or creating a lacustrine environment with a hydro dam. No hope!
      All while the planet fries. Perspective!

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Am sure they squawked, and despite presumed pull of wealth were disappointed. Today, probably would have worked. Interesting but moot.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Tangent: The MoMA clip led to a recommendation for this comprehensive look at Dubai’s man-made islands.

  4. redskylite Says:

    Thanks for sharing this great 1902 film taken in the town where I was born.

  5. J4Zonian Says:


    The world’s first megawatt-size wind turbine on Grandpa’s Knob, Vermont, 1941 (2MW)

    Externalizing the costs of dirty fuels has led us down a dead end.

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