You remember the Luxtorpeda? Well, I have a page on my Facebook feed that gives me posts by a guy who posts some amazing b&w photos – some, but not all, from the old days in the Soviet Union – message me if you’d like the links.
Anyway, today he posted a two photos that intrigued me – the first was of the last Czar standing looking out of the door on the royal train, the second was of the Schienenzeppelin. Given a vague interest in trains, I checked the latter out.
The Schienenzeppelin is not the first or only train to have been propelled by a propellor, nor are prop-driven trains the only ones to be propelled by aircraft engines, but it’s the most successful. NOT in terms of waiting passengers cut to shreds by a high speed propellor, but in terms of speed achieved. The Schienenzeppelinstill holds the record for the fastest petrol-engined train, at 230.2 km/h (143.0 mph), achieved on 21 June 1931 on test on the Berlin to Hamburg line. No train achieved a higher speed until 1954.
Russian Aerowagen, 1917
Russian ER22, 1970
Built in 1930 and subsequently re-engined and re-engineered several times, the Schienenzeppelin was, like the Luxtorpeda, aimed at the premium market – it would hold 40 passengers in a Bauhaus-style minimalist interior. Sadly, due to issues like the potential for decapitating peope, the impossibility of linking units to make longer trains and the fact that it could not go up hills, it never made it into operation and it was scrapped in 1939 (so the aluminium body could be used for aircraft).