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Manufacturer Valerian Ivanovich Abakovsky
Built at Russia
Constructed 1917
Scrapped 1921
Number built 1
Prime mover(s) aircraft engine

The Aerowagon or aeromotowagon (Russian: Аэроваго́н, аэродрези́на) was an experimental high-speed railcar fitted with an aircraft engine and propeller traction invented by Valerian Abakovsky, a Russian engineer from Latvia. It produced speeds of up to 140 km/h. The aerowagon was originally intended to carry Soviet officials.

Crash incident[edit]

On 24 July 1921, a group of communists led by Fyodor Sergeyev took the Aerowagon from Moscow to the Tula collieries to test it. Abakovsky was also on board. Although they successfully arrived in Tula, on the return route to Moscow the Aerowagon derailed at high speed, killing 6 of the 22 on board.


The following people died in the accident:

  • John Freeman
  • Oskar Heilbrich
  • John William Hewlett
  • Fyodor Sergeyev (Artyom)
  • Otto Strupat
  • Abakovsky himself, at the age of 25.

All six were buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.


The Aerowagon may be regarded as a precursor to the German Schienenzeppelin railcar, the American M-497 Black Beetle railcar and the later Soviet turbojet train, all three of them being experimental vehicles featuring the combination of railcar and aircraft engine.


Alexey Abramov / Алексей Абрамов, By the Kremlin Wall / У кремлёвской стены, Moscow / Москва́, Politizdat / Политиздат, 1978, pp./стр. 399 (Russian)