In their 1894 book The Coming Railroad, George Nation Chase and Henry William Kirchner wrote that America’s rail system was the most essential piece of technology to maintain modern life. But the rail system had reached the limits of its capacity for transportation. It was expensive and inefficient. In order to increase the carrying capacity of railroads to keep up with the demands of a growing population, the United States should switch to wind-powered locomotives.
The authors called their proposal the “The Chase-Kirchner aerodromic system of transportation.” In it, cars would rest on elevated tracks. Each car would have “banks of aeroplanes” between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet in area. These planes would catch the air and, supplemented by electric motors, provide movement.