Russia once designed train with jet engines on it that could travel at 220mph

The Soviet Union once designed a train loaded with jet engines that could reach 220mph, in a bid to rival US railways during the Cold War.

The project, dubbed "speedy wagon-laboratory", was also a vain bid from engineers to set a new record for train speed – which they did with the machine hitting 154mph (170 mph, according to other sources).

By 1970, they figured that fitting two AI-25 engines, which were used in the Yak-40 airplane, would help them rival the New York Central Railway's M-497 project, codenamed “Black Beetle”.

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The US effort saw their train hit almost 184mph. The Soviets said that if their tracks could take it, their train could have hit 220mph.

The Kalininsky Carriage Works started designing the futuristic-looking train in the 60s, and the project was discontinued in 1975 after it was deemed a success.

It was officially unveiled in October 1970, and although slower than the Black Beetle, it was quicker than the Shinkansen, the first bullet train in Japan.

The Eurasian Times reported that the train ran on some public stretches of the Soviet railway, but it was ultimately determined that the gasoline engines were too pricey to run affordably.

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The nose and tail cones are often misinterpreted as airplane engines, but they were a vital component in helping the Speedy Wagon counter air resistance.

Reportedly 15 mock-up models of the wagon were built as the testing had to be conducted in a wind tunnel.

However, the only known remnants of the project comes in the form of a rusted wagon in a St Petersburg scrap yard.

In 2008 it was removed and given new life when it was painted over, and placed on a plinth in front of the Tver Carriage Works in Tver, a city northwest of Moscow, at the junction of the Volga and Tvertsa rivers.


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