brennan's gyroscopic mono-rail car

Louis Brennan

Model Gyroscopic Mono-Rail car, scale 1:8, built by Brennan.

The inventor Louis Brennan (1852-1932) built this working model in about 1907 to demonstrate his ideas for a single-tracked rail vehicle stabilised by two linked gyroscopes. Brennan's daughter became a guinea-pig and was enlisted to help him conduct tests and demonstrations to prove the stability of his invention.

Brennan had patented the Gyroscopic Mono-Rail design in 1903 and was commissioned by the United Kingdom's War Department to create a full size prototype. He built his full size version in 1909, and it was 40ft long, weighed 22 tons and could carry a load of up to 15 tons. Demonstrations to the Press took place as well as an exhibition at the White City in 1910, where fifty passengers were driven around a circular track - one of the passengers was Winston Churchill who showed considerable support for the invention. Despite this, investers were not convinced and the Mono-Rail was not adopted.

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National Railway Museum: Warehouse

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