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It was supposed to be the first high-speed train in the country, but faced a fierce revolutionary struggle.
What if you cross a train and an airplane? Will it "fly" on the rails?
This question was asked a hundred years ago by engineers from many countries. Steam locomotives, whose advantages still outweighed their disadvantages, were popular and were in no hurry to recede into the past, but attempts to remake them into something more promising were constantly being made. First of all, they experimented with speed. The idea of attaching an aircraft engine and a propeller to the carriage lay on the surface.
It was first brought to life by the German Otto Steinitz in 1919. His prototype self-propelled carriage with an aircraft power plant Dringos developed a speed of 120-150 km / h.
But the Dringos aerial car was not put into series - the Versailles Treaty interfered with the ban on the production and use of aircraft engines. But a year later, one Soviet chauffeur tried to implement the same idea.
His name was Valerian Abakovsky. A native of the Russian Empire, after the 1917 revolution, he ended up in the city of Tambov (460 km from Moscow), where he worked as an ordinary driver in the local security agencies to combat counter-revolutionary activities. Abakovsky, 24, idolized tech and heard a thing or two about the Dringos experiment.
He convinced him to let him into the Tambov railway workshop and in the early 1920s he designed his own air car.
Nothing is known about the education of Abakovsky, but his project was treated with great attention. It would be perfect for the fast transportation of senior government officials and especially important documents between Russian cities.
To achieve streamlining and good aerodynamics, the front of the cab was made wedge-shaped, and the roof was slightly sloped. An aircraft engine was installed in front of the cockpit, which rotated a wooden two-blade propeller with a diameter of almost three meters. The middle and rear parts of the cabin were allocated for seats for passengers: 20-25 people could carry such vehicles at a time.
Abakovsky's car accelerated to 140 km / h. By the summer of 1921, tests began, and by mid-July the aerial car had successfully rolled over three thousand kilometers. The development was considered successful - and for the first time it was decided to ride especially important people on it.
Disaster on the Kursk road
In July 1921, the aerial car came in handy. Several meetings of the Communist International were held in Moscow at once, with the arrival of foreign delegations. The Soviet Bolsheviks decided that it was best to talk about the significance of the Russian revolution in close proximity to its driving force - the proletariat.
The delegation was headed by Fyodor Andreevich Sergeev, known as Comrade Artem - a close friend of Stalin, in 1918 he founded the Donetsk-Kryvyi Rih Soviet Republic, popularly called the "Republic of Donbass". The choice fell on a small tour to a coal basin near Moscow near Tula.
On the morning of July 24, Artyom, Abakovsky himself, the German communist Oskar Gelbrich, the Australian communist John Freeman and other foreigners went to the Soviet miners. "Aerodrazina of a new design" moved at a speed of 40-45 kilometers per hour and without incident drove them first to the mines, and then to the Tula arms factory.
Having visited the local theater at the ceremonial meeting of the City Council, the delegation hurried back - and the air car was dispersed to 80-85 kilometers per hour. At 6 hours 35 minutes in the evening, 111 km from Moscow, near Serpukhov, the air car flew off the rails all the way and “crashed into chips”. Two days later the newspaper "Pravda" under the heading "Catastrophe on the Kursk road" will write: "Of the 22 people in the car. killed 6: Otto Strunat (Germany), Gelbrich (Germany), Hsoolet (England), Yves Konstantinov. (Bulgaria), chairman of Ts.K. union of miners t.Artem (Sergeev) and Comrade Abakovsky ".
Later, the state of the railways in Russia was called the official cause of the tragedy. Allegedly, the air car jumped on bumps and went off the rails. The investigation was terminated. The development of the air car was also stopped.
But the son of comrade Artyom, one of the founders of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the USSR Artyom Fedorovich Sergeev (at the time of the disaster he was four and a half months old, three days after it was taken up by Stalin in his family), over the years, a different version appeared. He recalled:
“As Stalin said, if an accident has political consequences, we need to take a closer look at it. It was found that the path of the air car was littered with stones. In addition, there were two commissions. One was headed by Yenukidze [Abel Yenukidze, CEC secretary and godfather of Stalin's wife], and she saw the cause of the disaster in the flaws in the carriage design, but Dzerzhinsky [Felix Dzerzhinsky, revolutionary and founder of the first USSR security agency] told my mother that this must be dealt with: stones do not fall from the sky.
The fact is that to counteract the influence of Trotsky, Artyom, at the direction of Lenin, created the International Union of Miners. The organizing committee of the union was created a few days before the disaster. Trotsky at that time represented a very great force: on his side were both a significant part of the army and the petty bourgeoisie … ".
Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the revolution, had the most likely chances to lead the Soviet Union after Lenin's death. In 1940, he, already expelled from the country, was killed in Mexico on Stalin's orders. And according to Sergeev, it is Trotsky who is to blame for the planned death of his father.
After the failure to start the air car again in the Soviet Union, they ventured only in 1970 - with the AI-25 turbojet engines installed on the roof. The car was accelerated to a maximum of 250 km / h, these tests helped in the development of the next generations of trains.
The air car itself, after the completion of the tests, first stood idle at the station for a long time, where it gradually fell into disrepair. In 2008, the nose of the jet car was cut off, painted and erected as a monument in honor of the 110th anniversary of the Tver Carriage Works.