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A 1909 Plan For Superfast Elevated Transit Between LA and SF

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Never Built: Los Angeles is an incredible exhibition, running through October at the A+D Museum, showcasing an enormous variety of gamechanging projects that were proposed, but never built, for Los Angeles. Throughout the run, we'll be featuring some of the lost opportunities--see them all here.

This week, Tesla founder/real-life Tony Stark proposed plans for the Hyperloop: a magical transportation system that Musk says could shuttle people between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 35 minutes in multi-passenger pods shot through an elevated tube. Genius, maybe! But someone totally had that idea like a century ago, sort of. In 1909, inventor Fletcher E. Felts got a patent for the Elevated Suspended-Track Automotor-Railway, a "torpedo-shaped monorail ... moving along an elevated track supported by steel towers that looked like Erector Set centurions guarding the empty space below." Felts wanted to run a line between Pasadena and Los Angeles: "The main route would have begun in Eagle Rock and proceeded through canyons in both Mount Washington and Elysian Park, terminating downtown."

He said the monorail could run at speeds up to 100 mph and that total travel time between LA and Pas would be just eight minutes. But that was just the beginning--he wanted a line running from LA up to San Francisco, with speeds up to 150 mph: "[H]e planned a running time of three hours, 39 minutes, including stops in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, and San Jose." While Taft-era Twitter surely could not shut the hell up about the idea, it somehow failed to take off.
· Alternate Histories Archives [Curbed LA]
· Here's the Plan For 35-Minute LA-to-SF Hyperloop Tube Travel [Curbed LA]