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Copyright Reinhard Krischer

With the assistance of experts of the Department of Roman Aqueductology of the Museum of Roman History, Bonn (Germany), it has been possible to reconstruct a model of an "aviaticus aqueductus" that was used as a sports vehicle by officers of the Roman occupation forces of Germany.
The ALWEG ARCHIVES are grateful for the permission to publish first photos of this amazing model.

In the course of research for his book "ALWEG-BAHN" (transpress, Stuttgart, Germany, 2003) Reinhard Krischer researched the fact that Axel L. Wenner-Gren, initiator and financier of the Alweg Monorail, was inspired by the sleeknees of Roman aqueducts and imagined sleek, modern monorail vehicles speeding across similar rights of way to revolutionize the world of rail transportation. The engineers of his Alweg Company designed a very sleek concrete beamway that with its hollow center is very reminiscent of the water carrying sections of Roman aqueducts (see cross-section on the Cologne-page of this website). Remnants and reproductions of such aqueducts illustrate this similarity (see page 28 of "Alweg-Bahn"). When consulting with Roman aqueduct experts from a museum in Bonn, Germany, it surprised Reinhard Krischer to hear that there have always existed vague stories about Roman aqueducts having possibly been used for a type of sports activity known as "aqueduct sailing". But up till recently scientifically serious facts had not been found to verify these rumours. The cross-section of the Alweg beam-way inspired aqueduct researchers to review their archives. The breakthrough was possible after discoveries of plans and parts in the remnants of a Roman game manufacturing shop found during excavations for the current subway construction in Cologne. From these artifacts it has been possible to reconstruct a model of a Roman Aqueduct Flyer.

The Roman Aqueduct Flyer rode on top of enclosed aqueducts on two solid cork rollers (in the color red on the model), stabilized by four wooden wheels on each side of the water carrying aqueduct top sections. A square cloth sail provided propulsion. Braking was achieved by simple levers being pressed against the aqueduct top surface. It is currently not known, how many Aqueduct Flyer versions were built. The Cologne finds stem from a two-seat-model designated as "Janus" with one seat at each vehicle end with sail and brake controls. This arrangement made it unnecessary to turn the vehicle around at the end of an aqueduct line.

Experts from the Bonn museum currently assume that Roman elite officers practiced the sport of aqueduct flying for example in the Cologne area by using the famous aqueduct lines that supplied Cologne with water from the nearby Eifel Mountains. Experts had for a long time been wondering about the scratch marks in the Roman concrete covers that used to protect the most important aqueducts. Efforts to learn more and to find more relevant artefacts have now been initated in areas of Europe where the Romans had constructed viaducts.

Experts of Roman aqueduct history and technology hope that the famous Wenner-Gren Foundation of New York that has up to now shown little interest in the Alweg Monorail concept initiated and financed by its founder in the 1950s will now look with more emphasis at the origins of the Alweg Monorail concept. The internationally renowned Hitachi Company of Japan - leading designer and builder of Alweg-type state-of-the-art monorails - has with great interest looked at this Roman Aqueduct Flyer concept that might well be the "most ancient monorail" prototype yet discovered.  The Cologne finds put the monorail concept into a whole new perspective within the scope of transportation history.

Text, Model, Photo Copyright by Reinhard Krischer
APRIL 1, 2007

Photos by BG
Wooden wheels by LC

Text und Illustrationen (falls nicht anders vermerkt)
Text and Illustrations (unless otherwise noted)
von / by Reinhard Krischer
Reinhard Krischer
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