Turbojet train

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ER22 turbojet train

A turbojet train is a train powered by turbojet engines. Like a jet aircraft, but unlike a gas turbine locomotive, the train is propelled by the jet thrust of the engines, rather than by its wheels. Only a handful of jet-powered trains have been built, for experimental research in high-speed rail.

Steam and diesel engines, due to their weight, are usually designed into a dedicated locomotive car; because turbojet engines, similarly to gas turbine engines, are lighter, they have been built with the engine incorporated into a railcar combining both propulsion and passenger accommodation rather than as separate locomotives hauling passenger coaches.

Turbojet engines are most efficient at high speeds[note 1] and so they have been applied to high-speed passenger services, rather than freight.


Main article: M-497 Black Beetle

The first attempt to use turbojet engines on a railroad was made by the New York Central Railroad in 1966. Their railcar M-497 was able to reach speeds up to 184 miles per hour (296 km/h).[1][2]


Monument at the rail-car factory in Tver depicting a Turbojet train

Another turbojet railcar, SVL (High-speed Laboratory Railcar), was built in the USSR in 1970.[3] The SVL was able to reach a speed of 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph).[4][5] This locomotive was built on a basis of the main engine railcar of ER22 electric multiple unit. It had a mass of 54.4 tonnes (including 7.4 tonnes of fuel) and was 28 metres (92 ft) long. The power car was planned to be used as a part of "Russian troika" express.[4] In 2014 the train still existed, but in a derelict state.[6]

See also[edit]

A contemporary French hovercraft train, also powered by a jet engine
A German propeller-driven railcar of 1929


  1. ^ Their efficiency increases as vehicle speed increases to the speed of the exhaust jet, although this is considerably more than railway speeds.


  1. ^ "It's a Jet! It's a Train! It's M-497". Dark Roasted Blend: Weird and Wonderful Things. 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  2. ^ Wojdyla, Ben (2008-02-21). "Retro: New York Central's M-497 Jet Powered Train". Jalopnik.com. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  3. ^ "Турбореактивный вагон СВЛ (Turbojet engine SVL)" (in Russian). Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  4. ^ a b "Flying on rails". Pravda. 1972-03-17. 
  5. ^ "Soviet Jet Train. Some More History.". English Russia. 23 May 2007. 
  6. ^ "Abandoned and Rusty Soviet Turbo Jet Train". English Russia. 26 May 2014. 

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