Schienenzeppelin

Schienenzeppelin

The Schienenzeppelin (‘rail zeppelin’) was an experimental railcar which resembles a zeppelin airship. It was designed and developed by the German aircraft engineer Franz Kruckenberg in 1929. Propulsion was by means of a propeller located at the rear, it accelerated the railcar to 230 km/h (140 mph) setting the land speed record for a petrol powered rail vehicles. Only a single example was ever built, which due to safety concerns remained out of service and was finally dismantled in 1939.

Anticipating the design of the Schienenzeppelin, the earlier Aerowagon, an experimental Russian high-speed railcar, was also equipped with an aircraft engine and a propeller. The chassis of Schienenzeppelin was designed aerodynamically having some resemblance to the era’s popular Zeppelin airships and it was built of aluminum in aircraft style to reduce weight. The interior of the railcar was spartan and designed in Bauhaus-style.

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