SchienenzeppelinThe Schienenzeppelin was not the first propeller driven railcar. Those laurels probably belong to the Soviet Aerowagon which Valerian Abakovsky designed to whisk important Soviet officials around their huge country. Sadly, on 24th July 1921 it whisked all those on board, including Abakovsky, off the tracks and to their untimely deaths, marking the end of a rarther promising project.
AerowagonThe Aerowagon may be regarded as a precursor to the German Schienenzeppelin railcar, the American M-497 Black Beetle railcar and the later Soviet turbojet train, all three of them being experimental vehicles featuring the combination of railcar and aircraft engine.
Valerian Abakovsky was a Russian inventor who died when his invention, the high-speed Aerowagon train engine, derailed on a test run, killing Abakovsky and five others. The Aerowagon had an airplane engine and propeller and was designed to carry Soviet officials to and from Moscow. Abakovsky's invention worked fine on the outgoing leg of the test run but crashed during its return to the capital city. Abakovsky was just 26 years old.