Scottish fact of the day: George Bennie Railplane

The George Bennie Railplane, pictured in Glasgow
The George Bennie Railplane, pictured in Glasgow
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GEORGE Bennie was a Scottish inventor, born in 1892, with a passion for trains. He created the ‘George Bennie Railplane System of Transport,’ comprising an elevated track and a propeller-driven carriage suspended from a monorail.

The engine was powered by electricity, and construction was predicted to be cheaper than conventional railways. In July 1930, he invited a number of guests to try out the test track and carriage that he had built over a stretch of railway on the outskirts of Glasgow. Although speeds of 120mph were possible (only 6mph slower than the record-breaking, steam-powered Mallard), the limited length of track only allowed speeds of 50mph. Bennie bankrupted himself by travelling the world to try and gain backing for his invention, but it was deemed too revolutionary by the existing train companies, although his prototype structure and carriage remained in place until 1956, when it was scrapped.