Thursday, March 16, 2017

An abandoned Soviet turbojet train

During the 1960's, Americans, followed by the Soviets, experimented with turbojet trains. The idea was that, like a jet aircraft, the train is propelled by the jet thrust of the engines, rather than by its wheels. Turbojet engines were built with the engine incorporated into a railcar combining both propulsion and passenger accommodation. As turbojet engines were most efficient at high speeds, they were applied to high-speed passenger services, rather than freight. 

The Soviets built their own turbojet train, known as SVL (High-speed Laboratory Railcar), in 1970. With a mass of 54.4 tonnes (including 7.4 tonnes of fuel) and a length of 28 metres (92 ft), it was able to reach a speed of 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph), although there were plans for it to reach 360 km/hour (224 mph).

Despite its high speed, the model was considered inefficient due to the very high fuel consumption of the jet engines which made it very expensive to run. Today, the test train still exists in a dilapidated and unmaintained state.





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