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L’Aérotrain – The Concept Hovertrain that Never Was

The Aérotrain is a fascinating idea that was never fully realised. This is a story about L'Aérotrain - the concept hovertrain that never was.

Designed by engineer Jean Bertin and developed in France from 1965 to 1977, this decidedly retrofuture (from today’s perspective) hovertrain was supposed to bring the French rail network to the cutting edge of land based public transportation, just as Concorde had done for the airways.

The train was designed to glide above the tracks, but instead of using magnetic resistance, the Aérotrain would float on a cushion of air. Sadly however, the project was abandoned in 1977 due to lack of funding. The death of Bertin also played a large role in the project’s demise, as did the adoption of TGV (the Train à Grande Vitesse, high-speed-train) by the French government. This as it turns out was very efficient high-speed ground transport solution.

However, although the project was abandoned in the late 70s, the test tracks were never torn down. Today, the lifeless tracks can still be found high upon the countryside.

There were two platforms for the change of direction of the train at the extremities of the track, one is Saran and one in Ruan.

A middle station in Chevilly is also still visible.

The tall concrete tracks remain essentially untouched from when they were built, save for a small portion above the A19 road which was demolished. The Aérotrain may not have been the future of French transportation, but remains a fascinating relic from its past, and another essential location for keen urban explorers.

 

 

 

 

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[Image Credits: Wikipedianuancierds.fr]