Thursday, February 7, 2008

Los Angeles Monorail 1st Proposed in 1887


So reads a February 22, 1887 headline from the Los Angeles Times.

The paper detailed a porposal to build an elevated train to run from Pasadena to the coast--either Santa Monica or Long Beach. Electric cars would run on tracks that stood 14 to 16 feet high.

"In this system a single line of posts supports by means of brackets at right angles to the road, an open lattice girder four feet high. On top of this girder is the carrying rail; on the bottom is the steadying rail. Upon this girder runs the little motor, with two wheels on the upper and two on the lower rail."

This wondrous new design would alleviate the traffic problem, caused by 45,000 residents, many of whom rode horses through the streets of Los Angeles. Some worried that the clearance of 14 to 16 feet would not be high enough to avoid the tops of hay wagons.

The project, estimated to cost $25,000 to $35,000 per mile, was put before the Board of Public Works in April 1887. Many officials liked the proposal, but it seems one board member blocked it.

Even then, Los Angeles was an innovative city. The first monorail actually built appeared in Germany in 1902.

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