The Epsom Salts Monorail

A late odd railway: In 1922 a Los Angeles florist built a 28-mile monorail to carry hydrated magnesium sulphate from the Owlshead Mountains to a siding of the Trona Railway in San Bernardino County, California. Steel-framed locomotives crawled along a steel rail pulling carriages bearing low-slung loads like saddlebags. Its downhill speed touched 56 mph, briefly earning it the epithet “fastest monorail of the world,” but the beams warped as they dried, landslides further damaged the track, and the railway shut down in 1926, just two years after opening.

“In the late 1930s the rails were salvaged and sold for scrap, and the longitudinal timbers followed suit,” writes John Day in More Unusual Railways (1960). “In 1958 a long line of ‘A’ frames still marched across the wastes to show where the line once had run.”