The French Aérotrain Prototype, An Hovercraft On Rails

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

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Image credit: Robin Brinaert 

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.

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Image credit: Robin Brinaert 

Consequently, the Aérotrain could travel at very high speeds without the technical complexity and expensive tracks of magnetic levitation.

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The Aérotrain was a forerunner to modern maglev (magnetic levitation) trains, which use magnets to float above the rails and reach speeds of up to 270 miles per hour.

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Image credit: Robin Brinaert 

Tests ran for just a year before being abandoned, though the facility remains in use with the Transportation Technology Center.

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Image credit: Robin Brinaert 

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.

SOURCEwikipedia
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