More Bicycle Railroads

Footnotes to Long Island History

More Bicycle Railroads



Thomas R. Bayles




            I have read in the November 1967 issue of Yankee the story of “Boynton's Dream Engine” by John H. Ackerman.  I am wondering if that Boynton was the same man who was interested in the Long Island Bicycle Railroad in 1893.  I am enclosing part of an article I wrote for the local paper, the Patchogue Advance, regarding this.

            The first mention we find of the bicycle railroad, which had a two-mile piece of track at East Patchogue, LI, where the experimental car was run, was the following item in the Patchogue Advance, Oct. 1, 1892.

            “It said that F. W. Dunton is at head of a scheme to connect Jamaica with a bicycle railroad to run to East Patchogue and then across the Island to Port Jefferson where connections would be made for steamer to and from Bridgeport, Conn. Mr. Dunton is a son-in-law of President Corbin of the Long Island Railroad, and became acquainted with Eben M. Boynton who had invented bicycle railroad systems, and they thought they saw in this method of travel great possibilities for safe and speedy travel.”

            Public meetings were held in every village with illustrated lectures explaining the great advantages of the new system of travel, and people rushed to purchase stock in the company. 

            In July 1893 a trial of the bicycle car was successfully made at East Patchogue with President Dunton and Secretary Boynton on board.  A speed of 40 miles an hour was made and the two-mile run was made daily for sometime but no further construction was made.  In 1902 the railroad was torn down and that ended the experiment.  

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