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Fast Petrol Railcars[Inhalt]
Bugatti railcar
France | 1933 | 88 produced
Tow-car variant
Tow-car variant

From 1926 Bugatti produced the Royale car model, which was a superlative with 300 hp, but could only be sold four times due to the global economic crisis. A new application was found for the engines that had already been produced by installing them in a new type of high-speed railcar. Bugatti called this vehicle “Wagon Rapide” or “WR” for short. The original design called “Présidentiel” was a streamlined railcar that was also used by the President. It stood on two four-axle bogies whose wheels were covered with rubber. In the middle were four engines that had been derated to 200 hp. The power transmission for each engine was carried out individually via a hydraulic transmission and a long cardan shaft to one axle each. The driver's cab was located directly above the engines in an elevated position so that the driver could see the track in both directions from his cupola.

In order to reduce the enormous fuel consumption, the WL (Wagon Léger) model was developed with only two engines and two powered axles per engine. There were also two- and three-car variants, in which the driver's cab and four engines were in one car. Since the three-car variant achieved a poorer power-to-weight ratio, a reduction gear for each engine was installed for starting. Because the assembled models had poorer visibility from the driver's cupola to the far end, an additional auxiliary cab was fitted at each end for maneuvering. Later the possibility was created to couple trailers. Some of these came from orders already placed for power cars that were modified before production. Since the two-engine variant did not have enough power to pull trailers, the “Allongé” (extended) variant with a length of 21 m instead of 19.30 m and later the “Surallongé”, which was now 25.38 m long, were created. This increased the number of seats from 44 to 52 to 73.

172 km/h were already reached during the first test drives. This was later improved to 196 km/h, while longer distances were scheduled to run at an average speed of 116 km/h. Customers included the État state railway, the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (PLM) and the Alsace-Lorraine (AL) railway administration. Nine Présidentiel, 39 two-engine, three two-car, seven three-car and five trailers were built. Since the vehicles had to be fueled with a mixture of petrol, benzene and alcohol and used a lot of it, the two- and three-car vehicles were phased out as early as 1952. Another cost factor were the drum brakes, which wore out very quickly. The 13 short two-engine vehicles were converted to trailers in 1945 and then used together with the other single-car vehicles. These were phased out by 1958 and today only the example of the Présidentiel, which was used by President Albert Lebrun, exists.

VariantWR PrésidentielWR doppeltWL AllongéWL Surallongé
General
Built1933-1937
ManufacturerBugatti
Axle config1B1-1B1 1B1-1B1+4-4 2B+B2 2-B+B-2 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Seats48835273
Dimensions and Weights
Length63 ft 3 13/16 in142 ft 10 15/16 in68 ft 10 3/4 in83 ft 3 3/16 in
Fixed wheelbase8 ft 10 5/16 in
Service weight70,548 lbs139,112 lbs
Adhesive weight35,274 lbs39,463 lbs
Axle load10,582 lbs8,818 lbs
Power
Power sourcepetrol-hydraulic
Top speed107 mph75 mph
EngineBugatti
Engine type4x 8-cyl. petrol2x 8-cyl. petrol
Engine output789 hp (588 kW)394 hp (294 kW)
Power Plant
Boiler
Calculated Values
petrol railcar
express railcar
regional
long distance
rubber tires
last changed: 04/2022
Micheline
France | 1933
Micheline Typ 22
Micheline Typ 22
Varianttype 16types 20 to 22typ 23type 33
General
Built19331934-19371936
ManufacturerMichelin
Axle configC-3 D-4 4-D-4 4-D-D-4 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Seats365696108
Dimensions and Weights
Length50 ft 2 3/4 in56 ft 9 1/2 in99 ft 7 1/4 in148 ft 3 1/2 in
Empty weight16,094 lbs32,628 lbs
Power
Power sourcepetrol-mechanic
Top speed56 mph65 mph84 mph
EngineHispano-SuizaPanhardHispano-Suiza
Engine typeV12 petrol2x V12 petrol
Engine output217 hp (162 kW)247 hp (184 kW)662 hp (494 kW)493 hp (368 kW)
Power Plant
Boiler
Calculated Values
petrol railcar
long distance
regional
rubber tires
last changed: 10 2023
Kruckenberg Schienenzeppelin
Germany | 1930 | only one produced
The rail zeppelin in June 1931 on the Erkrath-Hochdahl ramp
The rail zeppelin in June 1931 on the Erkrath-Hochdahl ramp
Franz Jansen

In the search for a rail vehicle for very high speeds, a solution was also considered that would not be propelled by transmitting the power to the rails. Franz Friedrich Kruckenberg therefore constructed the Schienenzeppelin (rail zeppelin). This could reach record speeds of up to 230 km/h or 143 mph, but was not suitable for practical use.

The idea was to create a streamlined lightweight railcar and propel it with a propeller at the rear. Despite being over 25 meters long, the vehicle weighed just 18.6 tonnes when empty. As in aircraft construction, the car body was made of an aluminum frame with a canvas covering. The undercarriage of the rail zeppelin consisted of only two axles, which were 19.6 meters apart. Due to the long wheelbase, the front axle could be steered in order to be able to negotiate curves better.

The power train consisted of a BMW VI aircraft engine and a two-bladed propeller. The engine had twelve cylinders and achieved an output of 600 hp. Since this did not allow reversing and represented a hazard at train stations, there was also an electric motor on the rear axle for maneuvering. In May 1931, speeds exceeded 200 km/h for the first time and on June 21, the record of 230.2 km/h was set.

The vehicle was first modified in 1932. The front was exchanged for another, which resembled the later SVT 137. Below this was a two-axle bogie instead of the single axle, in order to improve the driving characteristics. The propeller was removed and the engine now gave its power to the two front axles via hydraulic power transmission. Now you could only reach 180 km/h, but this solution was more suitable for everyday use than before.

The second conversion took place in 1934, whereby the vehicle received the Maybach GO 5 diesel engine, which was to be used more widely later on. The railcar was then sold to the Reichsbahn, but the planned further trials ultimately did not happen. After a few years, the parked vehicle was decommissioned in 1939, although the very poor condition made it impossible to keep it in a museum and so it was scrapped.

General
Built1930
ManufacturerKruckenberg
Axle config1-1 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length84 ft 9 11/16 in
Wheelbase64 ft 3 5/8 in
Service weight44,754 lbs
Adhesive weight0 lbs
Power
Power sourcepetrol + propeller
Top speed143 mph
EngineBMW VI
Engine typeV12 petrol
Engine output434 hp (324 kW)
Power Plant
Boiler
Calculated Values
petrol railcar
prototype
propeller
Franz Friedrich Kruckenberg
last changed: 02/2022
Polish State Railways Luxtorpeda
Poland | 1933 | 6 produced
Luxtorpeda in 1936 in Zakopane in front of the 1,895 m () high Giewont
Luxtorpeda in 1936 in Zakopane in front of the 1,895 m () high Giewont
Polnisches Nationalarchiv
Variantpetroldiesel
General
Built1933-1939
ManufacturerAustro-Daimler, Fablok
Axle config1A-A1 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Seats7456
Dimensions and Weights
Length73 ft 9 13/16 in
Service weight43,211 lbs48,502 lbs
Power
Power sourcepetrol-hydraulicdiesel-hydraulic
Top speed62 mph71 mph
EnginePuchMAN D4086
Engine type2x 6-cyl. petrol2x 6-cyl. diese1
Engine output158 hp (118 kW)247 hp (184 kW)
Power Plant
Boiler
Calculated Values
petrol railcar
DMU
local
regional
last changed: 08 2023
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