The Remarkable Bennie Railplane

Futuristic travel in Milngavie

The Glasgow suburb of Milngavie isn’t somewhere where you would think to find a plaque to commemorate the trial site of a railplane.  But here it is. the Bennie Railplane..

bennie railplane plaque

Inventor George Bennie envisaged a bullet-shaped transportation system that would link Glasgow to Edinburgh.  Bennie believed his railplane cars had the capability of travelling up to 120 mph (193 km/h) and would offer a “fast passenger and mails and perishable goods service”. Slow and heavy goods freight and local passenger services would continue on the traditional rail service below. Each car could carry a maximum of 48 people.  If you have travelled to Japan or China, you will know how amazing their high-speed train system is, so the Bennie Railplane would have been wonderful.

japanese bullet train

Japanese Shinkansen

A similar, but slower, idea can be found in Wuppertal in Germany.  Known as the Schwebebahn (suspended railway)


By Max Grobecker – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

I visited Wuppertal on a school trip and loved it, but unfortunately don’t have any photos as this was old school proper film time.

The plaque in Milngavie marks the site of where the Bennie Railplane prototype was built in 1930, on a trial stretch of track over a 130-yard (119-metre) line at Milngavie.  Bennie could not obtain the financial backing he required and he was bankrupt by 1936.  The prototype railplane lay rusting in a field at Milngavie until it was sold for scrap in 1956. The original shed where the carriage was built can still be seen and is a timber merchant.

bennie railplane poster

By Unknown author – Google Books – Railway posters, 1923-1947: from the collection of the National Railway, By Beverley Cole, Richard Durack, p.155, Public Domain,

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123 Main Street, Milngavie. G62 6JA


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