Jump to content


Photo

Train Buried In Crystal Palace Park


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Uncle Wilf

Uncle Wilf

    Avuncular Legend

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,163 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 07:30 AM

When I was but knee high to a grasshopper (as elderly folk might say), I was told a "true" story that some inventor or somebody had developed a train of some kind and the invention or experiment took place somewhere in Crystal Palace Park. The story went on to say that this train or tunnel where it took place is somewhere underneath the park but nobody knows where.

Now was this just drivel to distract me as a child from stealing the kindly storytellers Wether's originals or is there a grain of truth in this?
Fighting Nighthawks in the sky
Brave and loyal are these guys
Brothers turning wrong to right
Never running from a fight, fight, fight
Fighting Nightingales

#2 Guest_Rowena_*

Guest_Rowena_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 August 2005 - 07:47 AM

I was told the same story by my father, but much more recently (i.e. when I moved here). He is a historian, so ought to know what he is on about (okay, that's not necessarily true but anyway....). He said it was a train which needed an elastic band or something to work, and the lines were a different gauge and, all in all, it didn't work. It was all something to do with the Crystal Palace exhibition, which had several technological advances demonstrated.

You can tell that I wasn't paying a lot of attention. If you would like me to, I will ask him for a source for his story. Or even, ask him to tell me the story again, and pay attention...
:unsure:

#3 Uncle Wilf

Uncle Wilf

    Avuncular Legend

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,163 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 08:25 AM

If you wouldn't mind, Rowena.... you could even make some notes for me....
:P
Fighting Nighthawks in the sky
Brave and loyal are these guys
Brothers turning wrong to right
Never running from a fight, fight, fight
Fighting Nightingales

#4 weeble

weeble

    Moderator

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,302 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 08:29 AM

The atmospheric railway?

link

#5 Uncle Wilf

Uncle Wilf

    Avuncular Legend

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,163 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 08:44 AM

Yeah that's the one.
Thanks for that.

is this tunnel accessible? is anyone clear on where exactly it is?
Fighting Nighthawks in the sky
Brave and loyal are these guys
Brothers turning wrong to right
Never running from a fight, fight, fight
Fighting Nightingales

#6 Guest_Rowena_*

Guest_Rowena_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 August 2005 - 09:39 AM

That's the one. I am SO glad I haven't got to express an interest and let my father lecture me doubtless with some glee and at great length.

Can someone tell me, was I right about the elastic band analogy, or was I simply misremembering?

#7 weeble

weeble

    Moderator

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,302 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 09:50 AM

When trying to find a link I read something about it not working because rats ate through the rubber seals needed to maintain the pressure?

I don't know if that is where the rubber bands came from??

#8 andyb

andyb

    Moderator

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,245 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 09:50 AM

No, it sounds like it worked on a vacuum principle - imagine sucking a pea up a pipe.

And Wilf, that article seems to suggest that nothing is left, which is a shame.

Interesting stuff, though, thanks all.

#9 Chris Doran

Chris Doran

    Member

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 195 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 11:32 AM

It is necessary to distinguish carefully between "pneumatic" and "atmospheric" railways. Rammel's pneumatic railway, as described in the link weeble gave, was, indeed, a demonstration of a "pea in a pipe" system which ran between Penge and Sydenham entrances of the park for a few months. Surprisingly considering all the effort to build it, it seems to have been almost completely removed. Some excavations in the last 20 years or so have found remains of tunnels. We had a discussion on this a while back, here. It gives rise to the myth of a buried train full of skeletons.

Atmospheric railways used a different principle: A long tube with a slit in the top was laid down the centre of the track. The "engine" connected with a piston in the tube fitted with valves. A pump at the end of the line pulled the piston down the tube and by cloing or opening the valve the train would move or stop. It suffered from two problems: (1) You could only go in the direction the pump was running, so if you overshot the station, tough! and (2) the top of the slit was sealed with tallowed leather which the rats loved. It's said they used to put a bag on the end of the pipe to catch them when the pump started up in the morning! Nonetheless, atmospheric railways ran for some years in a number of places, including a line from Croydon to London Bridge which I believe ran through Penge West. See Mike's Railway History website.

Edited by Chris Doran, 25 August 2005 - 11:36 AM.


#10 weeble

weeble

    Moderator

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,302 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 12:15 PM

ah, I've clearly got my pneumatic and my atmospheric all mixed up - thanks for the clarifications!

#11 Uncle Wilf

Uncle Wilf

    Avuncular Legend

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,163 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 01:12 PM

So this buried train has nothing to do with the elusive 8:53 Victoria service from Norwood Junction......

'cos that might explain 2 years of missing trains........

BTW this was not a punchline I was working up to.... I was genuinely intrigued....

Edited by Uncle Wilf, 25 August 2005 - 01:13 PM.

Fighting Nighthawks in the sky
Brave and loyal are these guys
Brothers turning wrong to right
Never running from a fight, fight, fight
Fighting Nightingales

#12 Silver

Silver

    Member

  • Sponsors
  • 1,643 posts

Posted 25 August 2005 - 10:49 PM

It was at the bottom of the park, Crystal Palace Park Rd side of Cricket Pitch and was dug up and had a look at and was then filled in again. Don;t think they found anything too interesting.

#13 Mr Beckenham

Mr Beckenham

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 08 February 2006 - 06:31 AM

Some years ago a guy who disappeared did some excavations near the one-o-clock club building, and revealed a set of tracks leading into hummocky ground that housed the tunnel - there is a picture in a local history book

Edited by Mr Beckenham, 08 February 2006 - 06:32 AM.


#14 Chris Doran

Chris Doran

    Member

  • Members 3
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 195 posts

Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:37 AM

Not exactly new news, but located since my last post on the subject, and since someone has just raised the subject again: Those with access to The Times Digital Archive (try your local library) can see contemporary reports at:

The Times Monday, Aug 29, 1864; pg. 5; Issue 24963; col F (description of the demonstration at the Crystal Palace).

The Times, Saturday, Jun 10, 1865; pg. 3; Issue 25208; col C (where Rammel's trying to sell the idea for a permanent railway under the Thames, and refers to the experiment which he says was at the Crystal Palace).

#15 Rikaitch

Rikaitch

    Member

  • Members 2
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 125 posts

Posted 29 October 2006 - 01:33 PM

I remember this story well. As a child we had a calendar with pictures of the Crystal Palace and surrounding features. One of the pictures was an etching of the railway, which was a very rectangular tram. I believe this was the train that was later buried. A few years later, my father and a friend got the opportunity to go down one of the man holes underneath the palace itself. The found a load of hidden tunnels etc, probably parts of the foundation, but never actually found the train itself. They still reckon it's under the palace site itself, but could have collapsed follwing the fire.
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Fart, and you're on your own.