The twenties. The industrial revolution was still in full swing and there had been a lot of scientific discoveries. Einstein, Bohr, Schrödinger and a lot of other scientists came up with a fundamental new view of matter/energy and space/time.

After the first world war, a spirit of optimism developed. A tech-boom followed...
New household appliances were invented (some idiotic) like the refrigerator and the washing machine. Important new technology included for example the telephone, radio, the first television, cars, the zeppelin and planes. The world became a smaller place. The world became a place of adventure. A common expression at the time was “what will they think of next?”.

Completely in line with the zeitgeist, a German aircraft engineer called Franz Kruckenberg managed to build the SchienenZeppelin. It was named like this because it looked like a zeppelin. It consisted of a specially made rail carriage – formed almost entirely from lightweight aluminium – into which was fitted two BMW 6-cylinder aircraft engines. The engine drove a propshaft which poked out through the rear of the train at an angle of 7 degrees (to push the train onto the tracks at speed), onto this shaft was fitted a massive propeller.

On May 10 1931, the SchieneZeppelin managed a speed in excess of 200km/h. After this high-speed run the train was shown-off everywhere – although it never operated as part of a normal service. In June of 1931 the SchienenZeppelin managed to break the world speed record for a train with a top speed of 230 km/h!

A speed which is still impressive today…