Henry Robinson Palmer
Henry Robinson Palmer was a British civil engineer who designed the world's first monorail
A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track...

 system and the first elevated railsystem

Palmer writes in the study presenting his system: "the charge of carrying the raw material to the manufacturing district, and the manufactured article to the market, forming no small proportion of it's price to the consumer.[...] The leading problem in our present subject is, to convey any given quantitiy of weight between two points at the least possible expense.[...] In order to retain a perfectly smooth and hard surface, unencumbered with extraneous obstacles to which the rails near the ground are exposed, it appeared desirable to elevate the surface from the reach of those obstacles and at the same time be released from the impediments occasioned by snows in the winter season"

Palmer made his patent application for his design in 1821: an elevated single rail supported on a series of pillars in an ordinary distance of ten feet, inserted into conical apertures in the ground, with carriages suspended on both sides, hanging on two wheels the one placed before the other. A horse is connected to the carriage with a towing rope, proceeding on one side of the rail on a towing path.

The first horse-powered elevated monorailway started operating at Cheshunt
Cheshunt is a town in Hertfordshire, England with a population of around 52,000 according to the United Kingdom's 2001 Census. It is a dormitory town and part of the Greater London Urban Area and London commuter belt served by Cheshunt railway station...

 on June 25, 1825. Although originally designed to transport materials, it was here used to carry passengers.

1826 German railway pioneer Friedrich Harkort had a demonstrational track of Palmer's system built by his steelfactory in Elberfeld, one of the main towns in the early industrialised region of Wupper Valley
Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in and around the Wupper river valley, and is situated east of the city of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr area. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land...


Palmer's monorail can be regarded as the precursor of the Schwebebahn Wuppertal
Schwebebahn Wuppertal
- Current modernisation :The Wuppertal Schwebebahn nowadays carries up to 82,000 passengers a day through the city. Since 1997, the supporting frame has been largely modernised, and a lot of stations have been reconstructed and brought technically up to date...

 and of the Lartigue Monorail
Lartigue Monorail
The Lartigue Monorail system was developed by the French engineer Charles Lartigue . He developed a horse drawn monorail system invented by Henry Robinson Palmer in 1821 further....



Palmer was one of three young engineers key to the founding of the Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers
Founded on 2 January 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers is an independent professional association, based in central London, representing civil engineering. Like its early membership, the majority of its current members are British engineers, but it also has members in more than 150...

in 1818.

In his study, Palmer describes as one of the first the principle of containerisation: "The arrangement also enables us to continue a conveyance by other means with very little interruption, as it is evident that the receptacles may be received from the one, and lodged on to another kind of carriage or vessel separately from the wheels and firame work, without displacing the goods;"


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