Tanfield Railway shows 1920-1950 on an industrial/minor railway, featuring items built/used in NE England.

  East Tanfield DH9 9UY takeaway tearoom open daily.
  No public passenger trains or access to Marley Hill site.
  Please donate to our GoFundMe appeal.


Friday, 1 January 2021

Kearney Tube part 2

Extracts & diagrams below are from the 1939 LNER promotional leaflet, unless otherwise stated:
The tube was proposed between North & South Shields stations
From near the surface at N Shields station, diving down & along Rudyerd Street .....
..... under the Tyne & rising up into S Shields station yard, with minimal surface disturbance

Kearney saw this as an excellent opportunity to promote his tube as a practical proposition

The 1 in 7 gradients would have helped accelerate a carriage quickly to 60 mph ..... 
..... & assisted in bringing it rapidly to a stand at the opposite station

The 1939 Shields' Tube was probably Kearney's best chance to put his ideas into practice, but political manoeuvres & WWII stopped it.

Chapter 21 of Hearse's Tramways of Jarrow & South Shields covers proposed crossings at the mouth of the Tyne, including the Kearney Tube.   The tramways, railways & river crossings were to be an integrated system - if the TIC & local councils agreed, & funding allowed!
(book cover photo eBay)

Never one to give up, in early 1941 Kearney proposed a tube connection between Portsmouth & Gosport - to serve a very similar populace & their work - but additionally promoted use as air raid shelters.   Again, this was shelved due to higher wartime priorities.

Sketches of Kearney cars from Historic Gosport web 

Kearney may have been originally attracted to the UK to promote schemes for London earlier in the 1900s.
The Kearney proposal based along Edgware Road would have stations very close to the surface, without lifts, for cheaper construction & easier public access
(diagram from Wikimedia Commons)

When his first London schemes failed to bear fruit, Kearney promoted his tube in Brighton, New York, Sydney, Boston, Toronto, Venice & Monte Carlo, to no avail.   His 1919 Woolwich scheme also failed, but this Thames crossing was followed by great focus on the Tyne, where we came close to realizing his radical ideas.

Kearney promoting his monorail tube system at Crystal Palace in 1910
(from Piers Haslam's blog)

As a history student as Goldsmith's, Piers Haslam recently stumbled upon a collection which obviously belonged to Kearney.   This incredible find contained drawings, photos & details of Kearney's tube, along with press cuttings & personal papers.   Haslam's blog post tells a very interesting story based on his find.

Based on another set of box files, there's a blog started in early 2020 solely dedicated to Kearney's work: https://thekearneyhighspeedrailway.blogspot.com/ 
to which the author seems to be adding every day!
(photo from this blog)
There's a newspaper cutting on the above blog stating that Elfric's grandfather Rev JB Kearney was a mathematician from Newcastle on Tyne.   Elfric's father Rev Alan Wells Kearney emigrated to become a maths teacher at Geelong grammar school in 1878, married a local lass in 1879, leading in 1881 to their first-born Elfric, who therefore probably had an affinity with & connections on Tyneside!


Michael Denholm said...

Totally interesting article(s). I'd never heard of the Kearney Tube. We all 'live and learn' - into ripe old age!

Derek said...

I've found a blog solely about Kearney's work, based on ANOTHER set of box files. Kearney was dedicated to promoting the high speed monorail, but either his box files ended up in several places, or other people were involved or interested enough to keep their own material. I've added a link to the blog post, or go directly to https://thekearneyhighspeedrailway.blogspot.com/