S9: Alfred Beach's Subway Plan
Video duration: 1:31
The first effort to build an experimental subway dates back to the 1850s when inventor Alfred Ely Beach argued that a horse-drawn subway, under Broadway, would put an end to congestion and the filth of New York Citys streets. By the 1860s, Beach had a different idea: a pneumatic subway, pulled by a rope of air. A giant fan would drive a train through a tunnel, as fast as 10 miles per hour.