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The train-plane that almost changed the fate of transport


George Benny wanted to revolutionize the way people were moving until then.

And so by 1920, inspecting an early engine of the era, he concluded that trains would be much more efficient if they left coal for the sake of propeller.

But why should rails be screwed into the ground, affecting the movement of cities? Of course it shouldn’t and that’s what made life worth doing!

Nine years later, he was ready to advertise with what he had and did not have in his pocket what he called Railplane (something like a “rail plane”) and even gave him his name (George Bennie Railplane). A series of electric motors gave life to his creation, which hung on raised rails. To brake even, the propellers would willingly turn direction and neither cat nor damage.

Suddenly Glasgow looked completely different. Although the length of the trajectory heading into the city sky was too short for high speeds, Benny estimated that his invention would run comfortably at 195 km / h, transporting passengers from Glasgow to Edinburgh in 20 minutes. Not bad considering that even today the train takes 50 minutes!


The inventor dreamed of expanding his underground network to London and beyond, why not to Paris? London-Glasgow would be a 3.5 hour journey, two hours faster than it is today.

And while he was a demon, he intended to build his Railplane infrastructure just above the existing rail network, reducing both costs and environmental impact. Even Benny promised luxury, as his wagons had carpets, adjustable chairs, curtains, and even window glass.

And where everything looked like perfect, came the catastrophe! The project never found the funding it needed to take off. The railway companies who feared that Beni’s invention was still effective in preventing it from being caught commercially had an important role to play. And in order to get them the job, they were ready to slander her wherever she goes, exhausting all their influence on propaganda.

By 1937, the inventor had spent every penny he had on the bank to promote his ambitious plan, going bankrupt somewhere along the way. And while the rails he had laid out were eventually sold for scrap metal, the roof on which Railplane was originally built remains lively to this day, with a commemorative plaque for the man who could have changed the way we travel.

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