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The Schienenzeppelin: A Propeller-Driven Train



The Schienenzeppelin, built in Germany in 1930, was a revolutionary locomotive. This streamlined metal tube was pushed by propeller in the rear:

Conceived and built in 1930 by the German rail company Deutsche Reichsbahn, the Schienenzeppelin was a design alternative to the streamlined steam locomotives of its day. It was a slippery, lightweight construction at 20 tonnes, running on but two axles, powered by a 46-liter BMW V12 which was later used to power the light bombers of the Luftwaffe. The engine’s 600 horsepower were channeled into a massive ash propeller, tilted at a 7? angle to produce downforce.[...]

Originally good for 120 mph—comparable to the fastest streamlined steam locomotives—the Schienenzeppelin topped out at a magnificent 140 mph in the summer of 1931, a speed record which stood for 23 years and which has never been surpassed by a gasoline-powered locomotive. Unfortunately, the train never made it into production. Problems with propeller safety and reliability prevented it from attaining mass production and the speed record prototype was dismantled in 1939, on the eve of World War II.


Link | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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