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STRANGE JET POWERED MONORAIL VEHICLE - EUROPEAN "AEROTRAIN"

Aérotrain

For the article about the passenger train consist built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division, see Aerotrain.

The Aérotrain was a Hovertrain developed in France from 1965 to 1977. The lead engineer was Jean Bertin.

The goal of the Aérotrain was similar to that of the magnetic levitation train: to suspend the train above the tracks so the only resistance is that of air resistance. Consequently, the Aérotrain could travel at very high speeds without the technical complexity and expensive tracks of magnetic levitation.

This project was abandoned in 1977 due to lack of funding, the death of Jean Bertin, and the adoption of TGV by the French government as its high-speed ground transport solution.

The track for most Aérotrains are ferroconcrete monorail in an inverted 'T' shape. All tracks were built and used for experimental purposes.

The first test track was built in February 1966 in Gometz-le-Châtel, Essonne, France, for Aérotrains 01 and 02, re-using an abandoned railway formation. The track was 6.7 km long. The track is visible today, partially demolished for urban expansion, with most of the remaining track in ruins. A section was kept and restored as a memorial at a roundabout in Gometz.

A second track made of aluminium and asphalt was built in 1969 for Aérotrain prototype S44 in Gometz-le-Châtel, built meters away and parallel to the first track. The aluminium guide rail was disposed of after the tests, the rest of the asphalt track was kept intact and converted into a pedestrian path in 2008 and 2009.

In 1969, a third, 18 km test track was built to test Aérotrain prototype I80. This test track was in Loiret, France, north from Orléans, stretching between Saran and Ruan, a location that would enable it to be used in a future Paris-Orléans line. The track was elevated 5 m above the ground, was supported by pillars and allowed speeds of 400 km/h. A platform stood at each end of the line to reverse the train, while a hangar on the central platform at Chevilly housed the test vehicle. This line, while abandoned, became a famous landmark subject to cosmetic disputes after the end of the Aérotrain programme, and exists today, visible to the east of RN20 and the Paris-Orléans railway line.

Until 1974, a fourth, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) test track was to be found at the High Speed Ground Test Center near Pueblo, USA. This test track was built for the UTACV prototype. Due to its length, it was suited only for a top speed of 145 mph (233 km/h).
 

STRANGE JET POWERED MONORAIL VEHICLE - EUROPEAN "AEROTRAIN"






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