Elevated railway

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"Elevated" redirects here. For the short film by Vincenzo Natali, see Elevated (film).
Liverpool Overhead Railway, 1951.
J train crosses the East River separating Brooklyn and Manhattan via the Williamsburg Bridge.

An elevated railway (also known in Europe as overhead railway) is a rapid transit railway with the tracks above street level on a viaduct or other steel, concrete or brick structure. The railway may be standard gauge, narrow gauge, light rail, monorail or a suspension railway. Elevated railways are usually used in urban areas where there would otherwise be a large number of level crossings.

History[edit]

The earliest elevated railway was the London and Greenwich Railway on a brick viaduct of 878 arches, built between 1836 and 1838. The first 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of the London and Blackwall Railway (1840) was also on a viaduct. During the 1840s there were other schemes for elevated railways in London which did not come to fruition.[1]

From the late 1860s elevated railways became popular in US cities. The New York West Side and Yonkers Patent Railway operated with cable cars from 1868 to 1870, thereafter locomotive-hauled. This was followed by the Manhattan Railway in 1875, the Boston Elevated Railway (1887–), and the South Side Elevated Railroad, Chicago (1892–). The Berlin Stadtbahn (1882) is also mainly elevated.

The first electric elevated railway was the Liverpool Overhead Railway, which operated through Liverpool docks from 1893 until 1956.

In London the Docklands Light Railway is a modern elevated railway, opened in 1987 and since expanded.[2] The trains are driverless and automatic.[3]

Suspension railways[edit]

During the 1890s there was some interest in suspension railways, particularly in Germany, with the Schwebebahn Dresden, (1891–) and the Wuppertal Schwebebahn (1901). H-Bahn suspension railways were built in Dortmund and Düsseldorf airport, 1975. The Memphis Suspension Railway opened in 1982.

Monorail systems[edit]

Most monorails are elevated railways, such as the Disneyland Monorail System (1959), the Tokyo Monorail (1964) and the Sydney Monorail (1988–2013). Maglev railways are also elevated.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

SkyTrain

Proposed Designs[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jack Simmons and Gordon Biddle, The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, Oxford University Press, (1997), p.360.
  2. ^ "DLR History Timeline". Transport for London.
  3. ^ "Where are the drivers?" Transport for London.