Forgotten Technology — Some Deservedly

James H. Burns says he never heard of this “jet-powered train” before running across the YouTube video. The M-497 (nicknamed Black Beetle) was an experimental jet-powered locomotive, shown here in a trial run from 1966.

Yet I’m confident James has heard of the atom-powered The Big Bus (haven’t you?) Fans cherish this truly awful 1976 dud.

8 thoughts on “Forgotten Technology — Some Deservedly

  1. I recognize that jet nacelle. It’s from a B-47 bomber, the inboard pod of either side. Primitive Hoover by today’s standards.

  2. Yup. The M-497 was basically just a military surplus jet bolted to roof of a Budd car. That was the New York Central’s rather sad response to the emergence of actual fast trains in Japan and Europe.

  3. An interesting concept, and worth a try, I suppose. But, like Batman’s jet-powered Batmobile, the idea deservedly never caught on. Think about the noise! (The Soviets made an experimental jet-powered locomotive, but it never caught on there either.) There are–or were–jet- or rocket-powered experimental cars for setting speed records; and some people have installed rockets into the trunks of ordinary cars for obscure reasons, and not usually lived to tell about it. Some dragsters are also jet- or rocket-powered. Turbojet-powered locomotives and cars are not to be confused with gas-turbine-powered vehicles.

  4. Mike: I haven’t seen THE BIG BUS in years, but it came to mind when I read about a luxury bus in Texas that has a boardroom so that suits can have high-powered meetings while riding the bus! Martin

  5. The “Big Bus” a DUD?? Wash your mind out with Lysol!! it is an unjustly neglected cult classic. who can forget the scene where the bus driver who had been stuck in a Donner-party tragedy in the mountains walks into a bus driver bar. all talk stops, and he cries out,”eat one lousy foot, and you’re a cannibal for the rest of your life.”

  6. Absolutely John. A day never goes by I don’t think, “Eat one lousy foot and you’re a cannibal.” Really. (We need a Skype connection so you can see the sincerity of my expression.)

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