The Schienenzeppelin

train 1

When asked, most people will tell you the first bullet train came out of Japan in the 1950s. This isn’t exactly true.

Between 1930 to 1939, the Schienenzeppelin, or rail zeppelin, could be seen in Germany. A high-speed train, the Schienenzeppelin could reach speeds of up to 210 kilometers per hour.

train 2

The Schienenzeppelin was developed in 1929 by Franz Kruchenberg, who had previously designed Zeppelins. To create the Schienenzeppelin, Kruchenberg empowered a bullet train with an aircraft propeller.

train 3

The Schienenzeppelin was just over 85 feet long, just over nine feet tall, weighed over 40,000 pounds, had a steel frame with a fabric and wood exterior, was powered by a BMW aircraft motor of 600 hp via wooden propeller. This bullet train held 24 passengers.

train 4

However, because additional train cars couldn’t be added to the base model, the BMW engine failed at upward gradients, the Schienenzeppelin couldn’t be started by propeller alone and because the train couldn’t function at high speeds over a significant period of time, only one Schienenzeppelin was ever ordered and used.

Via Xazina and Black Sun Redux.

This entry was posted in Culture, Gadgets, History, Science by spikemarlowe. Bookmark the permalink.

About spikemarlowe

Spike Marlowe and her Siamese twin sister were born to academics in Provo, Utah during the region’s speculative fiction renaissance. Since her teenage years, when Spike’s parents and sister entered the Federal Witness Protection Program--which necessitated the surgical separation of Spike from her sister (if you buy her a couple drinks and ask nicely, Spike may show you the scars)--she has held a variety of odd jobs, including a performer in a wild west show, detective, Bigfoot researcher and writer for an Internet content farm. Recently she found her calling as a Bizarro author. When she’s not writing fiction she works as a street busker in San Francisco. At night she fights crime. Her first novel, Placenta of Love, will be released by Eraserhead Press in November 2011.

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