The Man Who Built A 196 MPH Train In 30 Days Using Jets

Don Wetzel is 83-years-old now, but back when he was 35, he made history with General Electric by setting a speed record for trains using a pair of jet engines salvaged from a bomber. The M-497 is still America's fastest train.

The job was to build a 200 mph train in 30 days. The cheapest way of getting 5,000+ horsepower for it was by salvaging a pair of GE J-47-19 jet engines removed from a Convair B-36H bomber named the "Peacemaker" in Tucson, Arizona.

You could say it was almost easy for Wetzel as the former military pilot previously invented and patented a railroad snow blower utilizing the GE J-47 jet engines. Still, designing snow blowers and the TGV of the sixties is hardly the same.

The Man Who Built A 196 MPH Train In 30 Days Using Jets

On that sunny day in 1966, his hi-speed train might have been 4 mph shy of the 200 mph goal, but only because they didn't floor it. Read a full interview with Mr Wetzel here, but if you want to see the M-497 jet train in action, just hit play:

Photo credit: GE. The awesome Lego model was build by Aleksander Stein.