Ball-Shaped TRAIN Pulled By Magnets (Jul, 1935)

Ball-Shaped TRAIN Pulled By Magnets

THE “bullet-flash,” most radical idea in railroad design since the recent advent of streamlining, has just been conceived by a Swiss engineer. Based on electro-magnetic principles, the new ball-shaped iron horse is expected to roll on standard-size rails at a speed as high as 300 m.p.h.

The outer rotating ball contains a stationary inner chamber for carrying passengers. Giant magneto arcs, located at 300-yard intervals, are expected to provide the pulling power. After passing under an arc, the ball automatically throws a switch shutting off the electro-magnet and is attracted to the next magnet-arc on the rails.

One of the special features of the unconventional “bullet-flash” is that it can be operated over normal rails and roadbeds without radical changes. The one-wheel system is claimed by its inventor to be especially practical for use in mountainous areas.
The engineer displayed his model to railroad officials. If further tests are satisfactory, a full-size test train may be built in Switzerland.

1. Slim says: May 20, 200810:06 am

Talk about claustrophobic? It might be good for astronaut training.

2. Rick Auricchio says: May 20, 20087:14 pm

So if those magnets are powerful enough to pull the “ball” from 300yds away, what will they do to all ferrous material nearby? Cars sucked to the magnets as the train goes by? “Don’t nobody wear no watches!”

3. Rick Auricchio says: May 21, 20084:53 pm

Some reality calculations:

1. Width of standard railroad track is 54.5″
2. Assume the ball extends 6″ below the tops of the rails.

The ball’s outside diameter is then 129.76 inches. Allowing for the wall thickness and gimbal mount for the passenger “box,” we have about 10ft (120 inches) inside diameter.

Assuming an 8-foot tall passenger box, its floor area can only be 6×6 feet.

So you can only get four people in there? This is hardly worth building!

4. Rick Auricchio says: May 21, 20084:55 pm

I realize I added wrong on the track gauge. It’s 4ft 8-1/2 inches, not 4ft 6-1/2. So it’s 56.5 inches.

But the two-inch error won’t make any difference in passenger capacity.