Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Miniature railway, Coney Island, c.1905. The mini locomotive is a Cagney (thanks Steve!)


The Miniature Railroad was built by the Cagney Brothers in 1904 to replace an earlier version that was lost in a November, 1903 fire. It made a circuit of the park running underneath the promenade. The locomotives, which could pull three of the two-passenger cars, were built by the Cagney Brothers' Miniature Railway Company in New York.

These pygmy locomotives were built in the Niagara shop of Thomas and Peter McGarigle; however, since their sister Winifred married Timothy Cagney, it was considered to be all in the family.

Peter, an engineer, was mostly likely the one who designed the first of the miniature locomotives, ostensibly in 1885. In the early 1890s Timothy and his brothers David and John, were running a ticket brokerage company known as Cagney Bros. in New York, but by 1898 decided to fully concentrate on marketing the McGarigle locomotives and so incorporated The Miniature Railway Company, of Jersey City.

For years the two businesses were nearly indistinguishable from one another, and were in fact interchangeable as far as miniature railways were concerned, as they worked together on various projects. In 1903 the Cagney Bros. Co. was ensconced in the Planter's Hotel in St. Louis—there to build the eight mile miniature railroad that would run through the grounds of the St. Louis Purchase Exposition (the 1904 World's Fair). Timothy Cagney was listed as President, and Peter McGarigle as Chief Engineer.


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