Go-Fast Technology

I’m Leaving On A Jet Train…

er22

…don’t know when I’ll be back again. A Soviet ER22-based jet train, that is. One that achieved 180 mph. The SVL (which stands for High-speed Laboratory Railcar) was built around 1970. It added two Ivchenko AI-25 turbofans from a Yak-40 passenger jet in lieu of the electric drive. Details are skimpy surrounding this train, and nobody seems to know why it was cancelled. The one prototype is now rotting near the Kalininsky factory that birthed it.

The jet train isn’t a wholly Soviet experiment, though. The New York Central Railroad toyed with the idea and built and tested the M-497 Black Beetle in 1966. Even though it’s construction was relatively inexpensive (it used a modified Budd Rail Diesel Car with two secondhand General Electric J47-19 jet engines from a Convair B-36), it was deemed commercially nonviable. It did allow for the collection of data regarding high speed rail travel on the existing infrastructure.

[Image Credit: kolobkov.net via English Russia]

  • I'm glad this didn't come to pass. I wouldn't be able to stomach repeated interviews with Engineer Sully on the Today show after each jet-rail accident.

    • Vairship

      Although landing it in the Hudson would still be pretty impressive!

  • Mad_Hungarian

    The noise level must have been astounding — as well as the fuel consumption. Propeller-powered cars were tried and found to be inefficient, noisy and unsafe. I can't imagine this is any better. Conventionally motorized vehicles use the traction of the wheels on the road or rails to move the vehicle forward. In an air-powered land vehicle, the wheels are literally just a drag.

    • fodder650

      I SAID THE NOISE LEVEL MUST HAVE BEEN MADDENING
      WHAT?!
      I SAID THE NOISE LEVEL MUST HAVE BEEN MIND NUMBING
      WHAT THE NOSE OF NUMB MIME?
      FORGET IT!
      YOU'RE RIGHT ITS JUST DAMNED LOUD

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