1886: Meigs Elevated Railway. 227 feet of BS.

The Meigs Elevated Railway was an experimental steam-powered monorail invented by Josiah V. Meigs of Lowell, Massachusetts. He wrote an extensive explanation of how the railway worked, complete with diagrams and statistics, which was published in 1887. The weight of the train was carried on a 22 inch gauge track. The train was balanced by an additional set of horizontal wheels which operated against a second set of rails 42 inches above the load carrying rails.

Josiah Meigs

Josiah Vincent Meigs, 1840-1907, was an inventor, widely known for the Meigs Elevated Railway built in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1880s. Josiah Meigs was born and grew up in Tennessee, was an apprentice to his brother James, an engineer; and also served in the Union Army before moving to Massachusetts in 1866.
  • Will appreciate any help finding more info on Mr. Meigs, for this is all I was able to find.
  • The guy died in 1907. Where is his photograph?
  • Joe Meigs built his elevated railway to demonstrate the benefits and capabilities of a monorail under widely varying circumstances. A 227-foot demonstration line was built in 1886 in East Cambridge, Massachusetts on land abutting Bridge Street, now Monsignor O'Brien Highway. Never expanded, it ran until 1894.
  • The trial road, beginning at the shops of the company on Bridge Street (now Gore and Monsignor O'Brien Highway), East Cambridge, had one curve of 50 feet radius, 165 feet long, on a grade of 120 feet, and on level and curves has grades of 240 feet, 300 feet, and 345 feet. Everything has worked in the most satisfactory manner, the train rounding the exceedingly sharp curves easily, and mounting the steep grades without trouble.
  • A fire, supposedly of an incendiary nature, broke out on the night of Feb. 4, 1887, and destroyed Meigs's car sheds along with the experimental coach and tender and severely damaged the locomotive.
  • KD: This "supposedly incendiary in nature" fire happened in 1887, and destroyed the "experimental" coach. What did run on this 227 foot line until 1894?
  • Meigs Elevated Railway - Tons of details in there

Does this look like an experimental 1886 system? They even came up with window curtains to experiment with. Scroll up to the very first image showing experimental 227 feet, which look a bit longer than 227 feet to me. What part of those 227 feet is this segment below?






After the Fire
This photo shows the extensive fire damage to a Meigs Elevated train car. Men are seen inside the damaged car, possibly (lol) investigating the incident.

Joe_Meigs'_test_train_after fire damage_1.jpg


KD: As you can see, we do not really have much info, neither on the monorail, nor on its creator. Most importantly we do not have any evident Research & Development which could lead to the creation of this "experimental" train.

Obviously, I only have my observations of the train photographs, the lack of info on the designer, the totality of circumstances and no proof but... am I the only one who thinks that this train was not an experimental model? In my opinion, this could be a fully developed, and working model created by somebody unknown who belonged to the society we so desperately trying to figure out. In 1887 they considered re-using it, but for whatever reason it did not materialize.
The parasites that control our world hide a lot of technologies because they don't want the public to figure out how to advance themselves - they also brag that they have technologies, military weaponry, etc., that they don't have - to make us think they are more powerful than they are and to distract us from the truth in order to confuse us.
  • Will appreciate any help finding more info on Mr. Meigs, for this is all I was able to find.
  • The guy died in 1907. Where is his photograph?

Haven't found a photo yet, but "Joe's" (as he preferred to be called, it's claimed) family is pretty influential. Here's his obituary:

Capt Joe Vincent Meigs, inventor of the Meigs single track elevated railroad, died last night at his home 22 Cordis st, Charlestown, of cerebral hemorrhage...

Joe Vincent Meigs was born in Nasheville, Tenn, in 1840, the son of Return Jonathan Meigs, a distinguished lawyer of whom President Lincoln was especially fond, and who was nominated by him for the bench of the U S supreme court.

Joe Vincent Meigs Obituary, Meigs Elevated Railway News, November 15, 1907

Meaning he's related to the Josiah Meigs that does warrant a wiki:

Meigs was the 13th and last child of Jonathan Meigs and Elizabeth Hamlin Meigs. His older brother was Return J. Meigs, Sr., whose son (Josiah's nephew) was Return J. Meigs, Jr., who served as a United States Senator and Governor of Ohio.

So original Josiah is Captain Joe's grand uncle. Not to get too off the topic at hand, but:

Josiah Meigs (August 21, 1757 – September 4, 1822) was an American academic, journalist and government official. He was the first acting president of the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, where he implemented the university's first physics curriculum in 1801, and also president of the Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences.

Both Athens, Georgia and the Columbian Institute pop up here, which have come up before in my "travels" and have their own amounts of strangeness about them. Point is, this Josiah was definitely a forefather of modern academia/physics in the US. And he has a photo at this link:

Josiah Meigs (#98)

That site has a write up on the railway from an 1886 Scientific American article, where they refer to Joe as a simple Mr., not Captain. Kinda rude.

Janna Meigs #12

Also, just for another layer of confusion, if you do try and look up Joe Vincent Megs, you'll find another relative of our dear Captain:

Joe Vincent Meigs (October 24, 1892, Lowell, Massachusetts – October 24, 1963), was an American obstetrician and gynecologist.

Meigs was a grandson of Captain Joe Vincent Meigs, who invented an experimental steam monorail known as the Meigs single-track elevated railroad.

Meigs syndrome is named after him

Joe Vincent Meigs - Wikipedia

BTW, going back to the obituary, what do we think this means?

Soon after the war Capt and Mrs. Meigs took up a residence in Washington, where he was an employee in practice in the court of claims; then he "fell in" with Gen B. F. Butler, who induced him to come to New England to live. With his family he came to Lowell, and purchased the residence adjoining that of the late general.

Just a quick note on Butler:

According to biographer Hans L. Trefousse:

Butler was one of the most controversial 19th-century American politicians. Demagogue, speculator, military bungler, and sharp legal practitioner--he was all of these; and he also was a fearless advocate of justice for the downtrodden, a resourceful military administrator, and an astonishing innovator. He was passionately hated and equally strongly admired, and if the South called him "Beast," his constituents in Massachusetts were fascinated by him....

Benjamin Butler - Wikipedia

The obituary also seems to add some more confusion to this 1886/1894 business:

Capt Meigs' invention, the single-track elevated railroad, created great public interest about 13 years ago when a demonstration section was erected in Cambridge and models were displayed in many of the business places of this city.

Obit is from 1907 so this seems to be stating that the demonstration section was built in 1894. Which doesn't jive at all with the rest of those articles on the celebrateboston site, half of which are supposed to come from the same source, the Boston Globe.

There's also this, amazing this guy doesn't have his own wiki:

By U.S. patent 36,721 Meigs got protected a sliding breechblock locked by a pivoting strut. Few of such guns were made. .50 caliber Meigs cartridge, 25" round barrel, 50 round magazine rifle, sliding guard action repeating carbine. Based on his U.S. patent no. 54,934, improved in August 1868. Production was only three, numberedumbered 1 to 3. The gun is nickled and the reciever is made out of brass. Instead of a fore stock only a twined cord was placed.

One is in private collection in the US and one with number 2 is at the Cody museum, donated by the army who received it from Meigs for trials. These trials lasted four years in which about 38,00 rounds were fired without failure.

Meigs, Josiah (Joe) Vincent

That first patent was filed in 1862.
Patent PDF

The biographical information here better explains the connection between the General's interest in the Captain and his role in firearm development (placing him in charge of the United States Cartridge Company. It also neglects to mention any fire:

With General Butler's financial backing, Meigs and others began in 1881 the difficult task of seeking permission to build an elevated railway in Boston. Opposition by street car lobbyists kept a charter from being granted until 1884. In order to encourage capital investment and to fulfill one of the terms of the 1884 charter, the Meigs Elevated Railway Construction Company was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By 1885-1886, one-third mile of track had been laid and an engine, tender, and car were operational.

By 1887 the elevated railway was both an engineering and a popular success. Lack of financial support, however, and continued opposition from street railways interests plagued Meigs and his enterprise.

Years of legal battles resulted in approval for the Meigs-Subway bill in 1894. Unfortunately Meigs' refusal to accept electricity as the chief source of motive power for the railway lost him financial support

Collection: Joe Vincent Meigs papers | Archives at Yale

Maybe our answers as far as development of the railway would be those papers at Yale.

Meigs designed an "extraordinary" type of elevated railway—described best in his pamphlet in the folder "Misc. re Meigs Rapid Transit,1," in Box 7—which was installed in Boston on a limited scale in 1884. (The line failed quickly, but not because of engineering difficulties; rather because funds were lacking.)

Funds were lacking? The Governor General Butler does die in 1893, so that makes sense actually. These dates are sloppy as usual though.

Anyway, as usual, I can't really make heads or tails out of this. It does seem odd I can't find a picture of Captain Joe, and that he's obscured by relatives of the same name on both ends of his life. And obviously the chronology of this train is pretty inconsistent.

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