George Bennie’s Railplane

I want to live in a world where a system of Bennie Railplanes has been in existence for eighty years.

     Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 29, 2015
     Category: Eccentrics | Inventions | Air Travel and Airlines | Trains and Other Vehicles on Rails | 1930s

An solution in search of a problem.
Posted by KDP on 06/29/15 at 04:11 PM
Hm, it'd be more efficient to apply the drive power to the wheels than use a propeller.
Also, if you put all the wheels under the carriage, you could lay the rails side by side, and eliminate all the supporting superstructure above the carriage.
WHOA! I just invented the train! 😊
Posted by Captain DaFt on 06/29/15 at 11:57 PM
Here is a more recent (2008) version, using discarded airplane fuselages as train cars hanging from a monorail:
Posted by Joshua Zev Levin, Ph.D. on 06/30/15 at 12:01 AM
@Captain DaFt -- I hate to disagree (no, wait! I love to disagree because, at heart, I'm a disagreeable person! But anyway . . . ), for a system such as this, driving the wheels would not be nearly as efficient. You'd need a cumbersome transmission to moderate power for starting/stopping. An engine and transmission to take it from standing to 120 mph would be huge and waste a lot of power (gasoline engines of the time produced a tiny fraction of the power they do today and were horribly inefficient).

At full speed, it'd have little traction. You'd have to specifically design the body to induce drag if you didn't want every little gust of wind to lift it, reducing the wheels' contact with the track. Purposely inducing drag is the opposite of efficiency.

Even today, speeds of 120 mph are difficult to achieve on normal train tracks because of considerations inherent in wheels on steel. Propellers bypass 96% of those problems.

If I had a time machine, I'd definitely go back and give him what he needs to establish a line!
Posted by Phideaux on 06/30/15 at 01:06 AM

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