Large Scale Central

Well this is interesting - Atmospheric Railway?

Came up on my feeds today. At first glance I thought it was a joke. But evidently it’s real. There is even a more modern system called Aeromovel in brazil.

Weird! I guess you sucked the air out of the end of the pipe and it pulled the car long the tube.

Not the same (at all) but I was taken by some compressed air locos that were evidently used in places where fire wasn’t a good idea:

And here’s one that seems to have set some kind of speed record:

So many oddities, so little time!

I think the Atmospheric Railway was a Brunel invention from memory. Main pitfall was the leather valves not being able to seal IIRC, amongst others…

Pretty amazing for the time though.



The ‘atmospheric caper’ as Brunel’s invention was called by locals, was a great invention but far too ahead of its time and technology. It achieved very high speeds for the time - up to 60mph. It seemed fine on the level ground between Exeter and Newton Abbot but would not have coped west of Newton Abbot due to the steep grades. There are three of the original pumping houses in existence, one a Museum the others incorporated into other uses. The nearest to me is twelve miles away.

Neil mentions among other things - they were sea water and rodents. (

Thanks Dan. It reminds me of the pneumatic railways.

The Vectorr system is related to the Aeromovel system, and there’s a few YT videos on it such as these.

I’ve heard of a lot of weird ideas that were tried in the early days of railroading, but that atmospheric railroad is new to me.

Also the compressed air “truck” loco. I’ve seen lots of photos of various compressed air locos, but nothing quite like that.