Don’t ask me where I found this image, but it caught my eye. I’ve always harbored fantasies about driving on the rails, and what better car to do it in than Fiat’s iconic Topolino?
Ha! Just stay away from the big trains, and you’ll be fine…
Now strap a JATO rocket to the back and hang on!
This is the sort of kit you need if you want your SUV or pickup to drive on rails:
My dream too….as well as a three blokes in the UK
I think a rail cycle would be more fun, if not highly illegal and potentially fatal!
I got to ride the rails in a Suburban, across a causeway over a lagoon in Manzanillo, Mexico (a major port city for the Mexican domestic market). It was indeed very cool. The causeway has to be one of the biggest single rail infrastructure projects in North America in the last 20 years, but it’s completely unknown among American rail fans. BTW the generic term for a road vehicle adapted for the rails is a “hi-rail”.
Traveling onto the causeway on the hi-rail
Through a rail yard in a Suburban
I have no idea why no one has come up with a computer mouse that looks like a Topolino.
A google image search indicate that this picture was taken in Holland in 1947 .
Right, it was a “track inspection vehicle”, used back then by the Dutch Railways. It could go 50 km/h.
There are even places where a road (albeit a small one!) shares a bridge with an active railroad, so you don’t need flanged wheels on your car. Not too far from me there’s the WINGO bridge on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. It’s even a MOVABLE bridge, a hand-cranked bascule span. Oddly enough it has to be opened once a year to maintain its status because when it was put in, the creek which it spans was considered navigable, and that Coast Guard requirement is still in effect.
On each end, gravel roads approach the bridge, and a wooden deck accommodates vehicles.
Google Earth view.
The town where I used to live did this, there were traffic lights to stop cars when a train came through once or twice a day, they have since built a new rail bridge alongside.
Wow, this many posts and no “it handles like it’s on rails”?
wow that is a tiny car. european rail standards or rail gauge is ~1.43 meters or ~4′ 8″. note the overhanging rims to meet the rails.
Yay! Fiat day. Dad had a horizontal grille Topolino, I’ll have to show this pic to him.
That must be a really narrow track car. I spent many thousands of miles inspecting rail in a high rail vehicle in my time with NS. Driving on the rails is easy – no steering required or allowed by a locking mechanism on the steering column. The wearing of a seatbelt is prohibited in case you have to jump out real quick – occasionally an operator or dispatcher screws up and there is a collision with a train! High rail vehicles do not complete the circuit across the rails and show up in the block they are occupying, so the dispatcher does not “see” you, he assumes you are where he told you to be. It happened once during my time when the driver and passenger did not realize they set on the wrong track in a double track section. They were able to jump out when the train came up behind them.
Traction can be a problem on wet rail, especially near a rail greasing mechanism (they squirt grease on the rail in curves to keep rail wear down). High rail vehicles are heavy and run on narrow inset tires – no aggressive driving. They derail easy on points and frogs as well.
A lot of fun if you ever get the chance.
A guy I knew drove onto the rail with some buddies in an Austin 1100 without any tires on the rims, they were having a great time until one spotted a train behind them. Luckily they came to a level crossing where they were able to get the car off the rails, but they were getting ready to jump!
I drove on the rails a few times it is fun. I worked for a trolley museum as a teenager and they had a A100 pickup with high rail wheels. drove it a few times on the rails when they had issues with the track out at the end of the museums line. Fun
Ever since my wife made me watch Roman Holiday I have liked these cars. After reading about them and their unique drivetrain layout I was all the more fascinated. If only the new 500 looked as good!
Here’s one I saw a while ago, a flatbed rail wagon that is propelled by a car lashed on the deck. I’m not sure what it was intended for, the only advantage I can see is transporting a car to somewhere served by rail track but not roads!
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
About Arras WordPress Theme
Copyright 2011 - 2020 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.