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British Industrial History

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George Bennie (1891-1957)

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1929.

1891 August 29th. Born in Auldhousefield, Harriet Street, Pollokshaws, near Glasgow, the second of four children of John Bennie and his second wife, Elizabeth Gillespie. His father had eight children with his first wife, Elizabeth Fisher.

George was brought up at Auldhousefield, the family's mansion.

1921 had applied for a patent for his 'Railplane', a high-level suspended monorail system, which was granted in 1923.

1930 A prototype was installed over an LNER siding at Burnbrae Dyeworks at Milngavie, near Glasgow. The design of the electrically-powered, propeller-driven Railplane was undertaken by consultant engineer Hugh Fraser. It was built at the Dalmuir works of William Beardmore and Co.

Despite high levels of enthusiasm at the July 1930 launch, Bennie was never able to get sufficient financial backing to develop the idea further. Early proposals for lines between Blackpool and Southport and in the South of France came to nothing as did many other subsequent schemes.

In May 1936 Bennie was ousted from the board of the Railplane company, Inter-Counties and played no further part in the Railplane at Milngavie.

He was declared bankrupt in 1937

In 1946 and 1951 formed two new companies; the George Bennie Airspeed Railway Ltd and George Bennie Airspeed Railway (Iraq) Ltd. Proposals, including lines between city centres and airports, combined passenger and desert irrigation systems between the River Nile and the Dead Sea and Baghdad and Damascus, were unsuccessful.

The Railplane at Milngavie and its structure were demolished for scrap in 1956.

1957 Bennie died

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