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Pueblo's Rocket Cars: Futuristic vehicles from the past

Tracked Air Cushion Vehicle (TACV)
Posted at 3:15 PM, Jan 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-22 17:15:20-05

PUEBLO — Out next to the Pueblo Railway Museum, you can find three "rocket cars," or high-speed transportation prototypes/test trains, that showcase a bygone era of experimental over-land travel that never came to fruition.

Before we go any further, here are some brief descriptions and links to each test vehicle:

The Garrett

The Garrett, designed to be a high-speed passenger train, was created to run at speeds of about 250 mph and was, at times, equipped with aircraft turbines or jet engines to provide electricity and speed respectively.

The Grumman

The Grumman, according to the Pueblo Railway Foundation's website, was a true hovercraft designed to run at 300 mph. Design inputs from NASA are the primary reason that its appearance resembles that of the space shuttle.

The Rohr

The Rohr vehicle straddles a 33-inch high aluminum “inverted-T” reaction rail, with no other rails or wheels on the ground. In operation, the vehicle is supported on a thin cushion of air, and propelled forward by its Linear Induction Motor. The interior of the Rohr looked like the first class cabin of a jet airliner, and was designed to seat 60 passengers.
Pueblo Railway Foundation

According to those at the Pueblo Railway Foundation (PRF), this set of futuristic train-like contraptions is so outlandish in appearance, that plenty of passersby mistake them for odd airplanes or even space ships.

To briefly summarize a vast amount of history, these prototypes, curated and looked after by the Pueblo Railway Foundation, represent a period of time in the 1970s when the Department of Transportation was actively funding the research of new and varied options for high-speed and mass transit vehicles.

The testing for these vehicles took place at what used to be called the Pueblo High Speed Ground Test Center, which has since been renamed to the Transportation Technology Center.

Each vehicle was run through a battery of tests over a period of about five years before funding from the DOT dried up as the department turned their focus to other areas.

From there the vehicles were donated to the city of Pueblo, which housed them at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum for a number of years.

After some time, the experimental "rocket cars" needed to be moved again, this time to make room for expansions at the museum; so the city donated them to the Pueblo Railway Foundation.

Following some complicated moving procedures, the items in question finally made it to their new home at the Pueblo Railway Museum, where they have remained stationed ever since.

The Foundation is hoping/expecting to make some large construction moves over the next few years, this includes a tentative plan to move the "rocket cars" to their own building where they can be out of the elements.

The Foundation would love to work towards restoring these test trains to their former glory and is always looking for help from the community to accomplish this goal.

For more information on these fascinating, futuristic vehicles or on Pueblo Railway Museum, CLICK HERE.