America's first jet-powered passenger train left Washington on Thursday (12 August) at the start of its first nationwide tour.
America's first jet-powered passenger train left Washington on Thursday (12 August) at the start of its first nationwide tour. Powered by gas turbine engines, the train has been in experimental use in the United States and Canada for two years, but the 12,000-mile (approximately 19,200 kms) tour marks the first time most Americans will see the train. Normally the train travels over 100 miles an hour (160 kms), but it has been tested to 170 miles an hour (272 kms).
SYNOPSIS: It's called the wingless jet -- or just turbo -- and it is literally a jet on wheels. The turbo train uses small gas turbine engines for power, and its suspension system takes it through curves forty per cent faster than regular trains. The Turbo weighs just a third as much as a conventional train. It has been in experimental service in the U.S. and Canada for two years. For millions of Americans, however, this will be their first chance to see a really modern train -- on built like a jet.
The interior is like an airliner's -- modern and comfortable, with reclining seats, stereo music and movies. The ride is at its best when the train is running at over a hundred miles an hour. The turbo has gone as fast as a hundred and seventy miles an hour, but on this trio it will operate at less than a hundred. The month long twelve-thousand mile national tour will cover cities and towns in thirty states, and is being sponsored by the Department of Transportation, Amtrack and United Aircraft, the train's builder. In the past few years, the majority of Americans have stopped riding the train and relied instead on airliners, buses or their own cars. This tour gives Mr Average American a chance to see that the train can be luxurious. Amtrack hopes that trains like the turbo will win passengers back to the rails.