Beach Pneumatic Transit Videos

Round-up of You Tube videos featuring Alfred Ely Beach’s subway line!

I mentioned Beach’s pioneering New York subway line a few weeks ago in a post on the Hyde Park pneumatic proposals.

This is the 1st of a couple of posts dedicated to Beach’s pneumatic line that ran under Broadway.

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The real thing! Beach’s subway car at Warren Street station, NY, in 1873.

Yup! Its essentially a blog about New York, not London! Plus ça change!

395-4doc-Secret Subway – SUBTITLED & SILENT VIDEO which is somewhat tongue in cheek re the building of Beach’s subway and the battles with Boss Tweed etc. Gosh everyone in this video looks very young!

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A very youthful Alfred Ely Beach

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Subtitles to keep us on the storyline

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Pneumatic Transit – FANTASTIC RECREATION of the Beach Pneumatic Line down to the lights and the grand piano!

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Even the grand piano is faithfully recreated

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The mysterious interior that is Warren Street subway station

The interior of the subway car is great. Love the fittings! There’s a trip through the tunnel. The sense of actually taking a trip under Broadway’s almost too real!

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The subway car arrives

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En route to Murray Street

One of the comments sums up: ‘Excellent, I have waited almost 50 years for a video of this subway system. Thank you very much for posting!’

The very slight downside to this very accurately portrayed video is at the end of the video when the pneumatic car arrives at Murray Street station. That was never built. But we can see there’s some wishful thinking behind this when the subway car’s door briefly opens, closes, and it departs for Warren Street at ultra high speed.

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The Subway Shining – GREAT VIDEO TRIBUTE to Stanley Kubrick featuring the Beach Pneumatic Transit line.

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Our hero finds the Pneumatic Subway

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A trip down memory lane…..

Our un-named hero travels through various scenes that can be found in Kubrick’s films. First its the NY subway then he finds himself in a mysterious room and the pneumatic car suddenly appears. Our guy gets on the car and it departs, taking the curve into the tunnel proper and then speeding down what seems an endless void before morphing into a sort of Star Gate scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. He then finds himself back on Earth and is able to continue his travels.

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The Star Gate would have existed had they built the subway a bit further

‘Wow, just WOW’ is one of the verdicts given to this video.

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The Physics of the Secret Subway – A good explanation of the Beach Pneumatic Transit line from a scientific viewpoint. Barton Clark, a physics teacher tells us the transit lines could only have small tunnels because the larger they got the more difficult it would be to maintain the seal between the tunnel and subway car. Clearly we learn that the small dimensions of the pneumatic lines was perhaps the major reason in their being able to work, so it seems that any aspirations for much larger and longer lines were not really so easily realised. Of course with technology things have changed but who needs pneumatic railways these days? The Hyperloop may change all that.

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A bit of fisting – not what people usually think of – its about the tight fitting subway car!

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miNYstory: The Life of Pneumatic Tubes – A SHORT LOOK at the history of pneumatic tubes in NY. This is the successful type that was used in stores for transferring messages or money. Do not worry, the video takes a quick look at Beach’s subway.

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Pipes galore! Clearly the pipe is the future to come

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The Secret Subway by Shana Corey – A CHILDREN’S STORYBOOK this is a video trailer for a pictorial storybook book illustrating the work of Alfred Ely Beach and his subway line.

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A puppet Alfred Beach on the platform of his fabled subway car

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Why Did America’s First Subway Fail? –  GOOD BRIEF HISTORY of Alfred Beach’s struggles to establish pneumatic railways and the subsequent discovery of the disused subway tunnel years later.

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Alfred Beach – the man who tried to make the pneumatic succeed

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The Blowing Bowler – STOP MOTION ANIMATION film covering the development of the NYC subway car – and yes Beach’s design makes an appearance! I didnt realise Beach’s car was painted in yellow, green and red but nevertheless fits with his radical ideas 🙂

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The green, yellow and red subway car makes an appearance

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Beach Pneumatic Subway – ALLEGED FUTURISTIC EXPLORATION of the Beach Transit subway. Its actually a clip from one of the old Sci Fi TV series. Its not really relevant as the sole commentator on the video pointed out – ‘What the fuck is this?’

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Pneumatic transit? More like a monorail sort of subway!

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The pneumatic tube’s strange 150-year journey – A HISTORY OF PNEUMATIC RAILWAYS and a look at the future. Beach gets a look in as well as our very own London Despatch Pneumatic line. The video claims Beach’s line wasnt a subway – but an advance in civilisation. Hmmmm its quite a plausible point – one could say that Boss Tweed simply didnt want advanced civilsations to succeed! The video ends with a quick look at the Jetsons and the Hyperloop system 🙂

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Euston – London’s very own subway system – alas it was for parcels only

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The Hyperloop – a possible future for the pneumatic system

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Ghostbusters II – THE FAMOUS GHOSTBUSTERS FILMS had to include this bizarre recreation of Beach’s Transit line channeling a garish pink river of slime! This is the clip where Dan Ackroyd (as Ray Stanz) discovers the old transit station…. whilst on the surface Bill Murray and Harold Ramis battle it out with NY’s officials, unintentionally causing a blackout in NY! Great scenes even though its not quite historically accurate 🙂

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Ray Stanz rediscovers the disused Warren Street station, complete with rivers of slime!

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Not a bad attempt at recreating Beach’s Warren Street subway station!

Next: Are there remains of Beach’s Transit in Broadway?

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