Here is a list of ten most amazing and off-beat trains that you didn't know the existence of. One of these trains has a propeller blade at the rear and there is another one with two jet engines strapped on it. Well, humankind loves to experiment and here are a few results of those experiments. Almost all of these trains were put to service, and served travellers well during their time.
A Rotary Snowplow is a tool used by many railroad companies to clear heavy snowfall which blocks railway tracks. It uses a set of circular blades on its front end to slowly cut away and channel the snow away from the track. The first rotary snowplow was designed by a Canadian dentist named J.W Elliot way back in 1869.
However, no prototype was built, and the design rights were later sold to the Leslie brothers who put it into production. Rotary snowplows became a common sight on Canadian and American with heavy snowfall over the next few years. Now though, these wonderful machines are a rare sight.
Companies are doing away with rotary snowplows due to high maintenance costs. In today's time and age, if one would want to see one of the few existing snowplows, Donner's pass in California at the peak of winter would be a good time.
The RE-620 is the most powerful electric railway locomotive in the world. It produces a power output of 10,500bhp and mind-boggling torque output of 1,20,667Nm. To put it in perspective, the Bugatti Chiron which is known as the fastest car in the world has a torque output of 1,600Nm.
Thanks to its high output, the RE-620 is capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in just 5.8 seconds. However, that is not what it does on a regular basis. The Swiss railway has 88 of these heavy-duty locomotives which use all that torque and power to pull/push trains up the steep tracks in the Swiss alps.
Normal railway locomotives are incapable of scaling the twisty tracks up high on the Swiss Alps. This is when the RE-620 comes into play and assists the engine of the other train in crossing the alps from Switzerland into to Italy or the other way around.
There's only one reason for this train to exist — Sheer Speed, and that is exactly why it is awesome. It is a model of the Japanese Shinkansen Bullet Train that is capable of travelling at speed of up to 360km/h, giving it the name Fastech 360. Just two of these trains were built and were operational for a short period of time in the mid-2000s.
It was an electric train and was made out of aluminium. There were two models developed - Fastech 360S and Fastech 360Z. The 360S was an 8-car rake that would only run on the main Shinkansen line and the 360Z was a 6-car rake that could run on the main as well the mini-shinkansen lines.
Black Beetle - The Jet Train:
This is a train that not only looks weird but also looks pretty unrealistic at first glance. How could a jet engine power a train? Well, the Black Beetle was an actual working train and was a locomotive test bed for the New York Central Railroad Corporation.
They took an existing diesel-powered locomotive and plonked in a pair of used jet engines. The jet engines were taken from the Corvair B-36 Peacemaker intercontinental bomber and were mounted on top of the Budd diesel locomotive.
The locomotive was given a streamlined cowling up front and was tested on an arrow-straight stretch of rails. The Black Beetle performed outstandingly well, doing a top-speed of 295.6km/h way back in 1966. It has since then held the American Rail Speed Record, which stands to this day.
LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard:
At first, the name might sound like an encrypted top-secret code used in the army. It is actually the name of the fastest steam-powered locomotive ever built. Turns out, it isn't just fast but it is extremely beautiful as well - something like the Bugatti of the rail world.
It achieved a top speed of 202km/h way back in 1938 and permanently sealed its place as the fastest steam locomotive ever built.
The UAC TurboTrain was the genesis of the modern ultra fast trains. Designed in Canada, it was powered by a gas-turbine engine similar to the ones found in a commercial airliner. It was also one of the first trains to come with a tilting mechanism for high speed cornering capabilities.
The UAC TurboTrain was used in Canada between 1968 and 1982 whereas America used it between 1968 and 1976. The 1973 oil crisis played a major role in killing the UAC TurboTrain, since fuel was becoming expensive by the day. Other disadvantages were that it was very noisy and would heat up considerably. There were a total of eight such trains and none of them exist today.
Finnish Armored Trains:
Over two World Wars, several civil wars and many other crisis', several countries ended up building armored trains. However, none of the other armored trains come close to the one used by Finland during their civil war.
What they basically did was, take a regular locomotive and cover it up in layers of brick and sandbags and then finished it with welded sheets of metal on top of it. This allowed them to use the train against their rivals during the Finnish civil war. The armored train was one of the main reasons for their victory.
It isn't just the name which is weird but, the train itself was one of the weirdest ones ever produced. The Schienenzeppelin was inspired by the Zeppelin airships of the early 20th century and hence received the name Zeppelin. The train with its beautiful-looking aerodynamic rear end still holds the world speed record for the fastest petrol-powered rail vehicle.
Way back in 1931, the Schienenzeppelin did a top speed run and clocked 230km/h.No such train has been produced since then. The only schienenzeppelin produced by Germany was dismantled in 1939 and material from it was used to contribute to the World War II effort.
While the other trains in this list harked back to the past, this one looks up to the future. Maglev technology is said to be the future of the entire rail industry. It uses electromagnets to float above the tracks, thereby eliminating friction.
Once friction is taken out of the equation, it opens up a world of opportunities, at least in terms of speed. The Shanghai Maglev is known to go as fast as 431km/h. It currently runs between Shanghai city and the Pudong International Airport.
Wuppertal Suspension Railway:
It is one of the few working suspended trains in the world. The fact that it is suspended from the rails being supported by the rails makes it unique. It is located in the city of Wuppertal, Germany. Such systems in India have been dismantled including the one in Goa. Though it is around 105-years-old, it still ferries around 82,000 passengers per day.
DriveSpark's Thoughts On The Ten Most Amazing Trains Ever Built:
The existence of trains such as these shows the capabilities of mankind, to engineer and build machines so offbeat and unique. Though most of these trains never really caught on, they will remain unique for centuries to come.