I had no idea what a box of worms I was opening when I started this post. It was going to be a simple post about how the Russians and Americans came up with this harebrained idea of sticking jet engines on a train. I wasn’t prepared to find out that Europe had also found it’s way into this mixed bag of locomotive or should I say totally “loco” means of transportation. Who would have know that the Germans would come up with a Zeppelin train and to boot they did this in 1929? Appropriately they named it the Schienenzeppelin, Scotty beam me up?
Then as I dig a little deeper I find the french are in on this too. And like all things french, their versions are racy and a bit on the sexy side. Without spoiling to many of the details the Aérotrain 01 was born in 1965 and had average speed of 200km/h. The Aérotrain 02 was the 01 with the reactor Fouga Magister and booster rockets to boot. Seriously the second one reminded me of some out of a Johnny Qwest cartoon. Can’t you just imagine Johnny, Hadji, and Bandit running to this “thing” in one of the episodes. For more more info on these two birds go to Vadrouille BeBrouille’s Blog. See link below.
Next up in this jet packed adventure, no pun intended were the two that I started out with. It seems that both the Americans and the Russians decided to have a train race. The Americans started it (sound familiar) and the Russians jumped aboard with their version. I could again go into a lot of detail here but it would be a long and boring post. So lets just say like all the other intelligent schemes this one landed in the graveyard. Interestingly enough the American version was supposed to be designed to attain speeds of 1000 mph, it’s top speed never exceeded 184 mph, oh well. On the other hand the Russians wound up reaching 160 mph with their jet-packed model, it’s believed it could have reached 180 mph.
This next one is personally my favorite, it’s kinda classy, nice lines, really just a plane without wings. This little engine that couldn’t, debuted in 1970. This was the Russian Jet powered monorail train – SVL (Russian abbreviation of high-speed laboratory car). During the tests SVL gained a top speed around 180 mph. For some unknown reason after the tests had been completed the project was canceled and that was the end of its life. Thinking about it, seating in the cabin and hearing this screaming jet engine behind me would be a bit un-nerving. Today its rusty fragments still can be found on the grounds of Kalininsky factory.
Finally, I thought I’d finish this post with a tried and proven method of locomotion. Only problem here is Camel Sh_t.