Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Amphibian Monorail (Popular Science, 1934)

The July, 1934 issue of Popular Science features the sleek, modern look we often see in this era of the paleo-future; beautiful images filled with hope that the future could somehow hold promise.


Amphibian trains that can whiz above desert sands on an overhead rail, or plunge into the water to ford a river, are contemplated by the Soviet Government in an amazing plan to tap mineral wealth in Turkestan. They are to travel three projected monorail lines of unprecedented design, totaling 332 miles in length and crossing deserts and rivers.


A single overhead rail on concrete standards could be erected at low cost along these routes, engineers estimate. Air-porpelled cars with twin, cigar-shaped hulls could straddle the track and glide along it, at speeds reaching 180 miles an hour, according to calculations based on tests of models at Moscow. The cars would be equipeed with Diesel-electric drive, and each would carry forty passengers or an equivalent freight load. Where the longest of the projected routes crosses the river Amu-Daria, a mile and a quarter wide, it is proposed that amphibian cars be used. On arriving at the shore the cars would leave the overhead rail and cross the river as a boat. Soviet engineers are reported already surveying the route.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just seems odd: why would it plunge into rivers? Why not just go over them on a bridge?

I suppose if the river were navigable, but still.....

artbot said...

I had the exact same quesion. Maybe ships needed to navigate the river above the tracks?

JAT said...

This is horrible.

I'm convinced my local transit authority would jump all over this idea.

gordon said...

my favorite thing about the future that never came, but should have, is the abundance of monorails. not just for zoos and amusement parks, monorails and do anything. in this case go underwater.