Hotchkiss Bicycle Railroad

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The Mount Holly and Smithville Bicycle Railway - 1892-1898

The Hotchkiss Bicycle Railroad was a purpose-built monorail on which a matching bicycle could be ridden. It was invented by Arthur Hotchkiss, and the first example was built between Smithville and Mount Holly, New Jersey, in 1892.[1] It closed in 1897. Other examples were built in Norfolk from 1895 to 1909, Great Yarmouth,[2] and Blackpool, UK from 1896.[3]

Smithville - Mount Holly[edit]

In 1892, Arthur Hotchkiss received a patent for a bicycle railroad and contracted with the H. B. Smith Machine Company to manufacture it. The initial track ran 1.8 miles from Smithville, in a nearly straight line, crossing the Rancocas Creek 10 times, and arrived at Pine Street, Mount Holly. It was completed in time for the Mount Holly Fair in September, 1892, and the purpose of the railway was supposed to have been enabling employees to commute quickly from Mount Holly to the factory at Smithville. Monthly commuter tickets cost $2.00. The record speed on the railway was 4.5 minutes, and the average trip took 6–7 minutes. The railway was exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. It only had one track so that it was impossible to pass another rider, and if riders travelling in opposite directions met, one had to pull off onto a siding. By 1897 ridership had declined, and the railway fell into disrepair.[4][5][6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anthony J. Bianculli (2008). Iron rails in the Garden State: tales of New Jersey railroading. Indiana University Press.
  2. ^ "100 years of fun and thrills". Eastern Daily Press. September 10, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  3. ^ "Hotchkiss Bicycle Railway, Great Yarmouth C. 1900". FotoLibra. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  4. ^ "Smithville Conservancey". H.B. Smith Industrial Village Conservancy. Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  5. ^ "The Bicycle Railroad and Its Inventor, Arthur Hotchkiss". New Jersey History's Mysteries. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  6. ^ Douglas Self. "Unusual Pedal Bicycles". The Museum of Retro Technology. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  7. ^ "Of Bicycle Railroads and Moose-Drawn Carriages". Plankton Art Company. 29 June 2005. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19.