1910-14: Pelham Park and City Island Monorail

I think the story of this monorail is somewhat weird. They say it existed for 5 years, but it only had one operational car... why only one?


The Pelham Park and City Island Railroad was a short street railway in the Bronx, NYC, which connected City Island with the Bartow station of the Harlem River and Port Chester Railroad in the mainland Bronx.
  • For most of its existence it was horse-drawn.
  • Between 1910 and 1914, the portion on the mainland operated as a monorail system.
    • The lone operational monorail car was nicknamed The Flying Lady.
I find it interesting that these two technologies were operating side by side.


The monorail, between the Bartow station and Marshall's Corner, opened for regular service on July 16, 1910, although the cars unofficially began carrying passengers two days earlier. The monorail car toppled over on its maiden voyage, and operation was immediately suspended.
  • I assume this image is supposed to represent this "maiden voyage".
  • In other words, everything we are looking at was supposed to be brand new.

Service was ultimately restored on November 14, 1910.



The monorail was not a success and the IRT forced the companies into bankruptcy on December 4, 1911. The monorail on the line's western end and the narrow gauge horsecar line on the eastern end continued to operate.

And this here is what the interior view of our "Flying Lady" was supposed to look like.


Links and Sources:

KD: Somehow this story does not make sense to me. We only have one car running on this entire monorail system. After approximately one year, a chunk of the monorail was shut down due to not being successful, while the monorail on the line's western end continued to operate for four more years until 1914.
  • What do you think we have here?


Feb 4, 2021
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That car is absolutely hideous. Flying Landfill is more like it! Those chairs in the interior look pretty odd and uncomfortable too (so does the old man boy near the front.) But they put some crappy columns in, so I guess it's classy? The car also looks rougher in the supposed derailment photos than the subsequent ones. Maybe someone told them to shine it up, you're scaring away customers?

Overall, I don't have any problem believing that this trash can, which crashed shortly after being opened, wasn't popular and in panic, they reduced the route available to try and increase the frequency of service. Sure, they could have built more cars, but maybe no one wanted to invest in that, given what had already transpired.

Still though, maybe I'm missing something here. From your second source:
For some mysterious legal reason the Interborough Rapid Transit Co. bought the two tiny horse car lines in 1903 so as to use their charters as the basis of its vast subway-elevated system.
Mysterious legal reason? Seems like Interborough was buying up everything at the time though:
Founded on May 6, 1902, by August Belmont, Jr., the IRT's mission was to operate New York City's initial underground rapid transit system after Belmont's and John B. McDonald's Rapid Transit Construction Company was awarded the rights to build the railway line in 1900, outbidding Andrew Onderdonk. On April 1, 1903, over a year before its first subway line opened, the IRT acquired the pre-existing elevated Manhattan Railway by lease, gaining a monopoly on rapid transit in Manhattan...
The monorail, between the Bartow station and Marshall's Corner, opened for regular service on July 16, 1910, although the cars unofficially began carrying passengers two days earlier.
Unofficially. But we know they did!

This sort of stuff always reminds me of stores that have their Grand Opening celebration months after the business actually opened. If similar practices with "constructed", "founded", etc dates were conducted in the past, then who knows what any given date is referring to.
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    Oct 29, 2020
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    From the sheer amount of different technological innovations we see during this time frame, at the very least (that is if were to play on the narrative writers’ side), we should expect a seriously developed educational system supported by many other strongly developed industries.

    Instead we see single geniuses with questionable biographies, and the only strongly developed industry appears to be agriculture.

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