High-speed rail buses in Galicia in 1930

Carpathian narrow gaugeLux-torpeda was the so-called “motor” – a wagon with integrated internal combustion engine. At modern “Ukrrailways” such transport is called a rail bus. The “torpedo” itsef also looked like a hybrid of a bus and limousine.

“Rocket” had an ultra-modern car design in the 1930s and as the train passed the station, he attracted attention. Aerodynamic shape and lack of locomotives and the corresponding column of smoke radically differentiated “torpedo” from trains at that time.

The first “Luxury torpedo” was built in 1933 in the Austria by the Austro-Daimler-Puch firm. The Polish government, wanting to develop rail transit industry to raise decadent, bought one motrys, and then license for it.

Something similar current Ukrainian government does as well, but instead of buying a train – and then develop domestic product in domestic plants on the base of it – just buying a dozen and talking about building in Ukraine of the foreign company.

Carpathian narrow gaugeIn interwar Poland after the first successful tests of the Austrian “torpedo” they started adapting it to local needs. Since 1936 these railcars were built at the Polish factory Fablok, with adding more powerful diesel engines located in front of the driver’s cabin – one on each side.

These motorcars’ wheels relied on the bandage over pneumatic tire of automotive design, explains the newspaper UZ “Highway”. This improved smoothness and reduced dynamic loads on the rails that were important at high speeds.

Speeds were truly outstanding. Maximum reached 120 km/h, but structural in operation was set at 115 km/h. In general, the velocity reached 100-105 km/h.

The average speed of motorcars at their work was significantly higher than that of conventional locomotives. Thus, the fast train at the area Lviv-Krasne overcame 75 km per hour. While using motorcars the average speed in these areas was to 90 km/h.

Flick provided by existing of two cabins – at opposite ends of “torpedo”. Each of them had the driver in it, who directed “his” engine.

This design allowed to avoid prolonged maneuvering at corner stations when the train was moving in the opposite direction. It wasn’t necessary  unhook and distill locomotive. Cabins at both ends of the car were combined by light and audible alarm.

Carpathian narrow gaugeOfficially “luxury torpedoes” were called Pociąg Motorowo-Ekspresowy MtE – “express train of an internal combustion engine”. Seeing the prospects of such transport, Polish industry undertook to produce other railcars – though without recognizable design, but with good performance speed.

The first “torpedo” connected Krakow with fashionable resort of Zakopane. In 1936, the train traveled this distance (150 km) in 2 hours and 18 minutes – the record is not beaten yet. Later were opened flights like “Krakow-Warsaw”, “Warsaw-Katowice”, “Warsaw, Lodz,” “Lions-Zakopane” and others.

In Galicia as of summer 1939 “torpedoes” served routes “Lviv-Stry-Drohobych, Borislav,” “Lions-Galich-Stanislaviv [Ivano-Frankivsk] Colomia,” “Red-Lviv-Zolochiv-Ternopil” and mentioned at the beginning “Ternopil-Chertkov-Zalischyky.”

The average speed of the route to Zalischyky was 58 km/h. Not too much, considering that on the route “Lviv-Ternopil”, the figure reached 75 km/h, and on the route” Lviv-Kolomyya “- 93 km/h.

Carpathian narrow gaugeFor comparison, the recently adopted classification of passenger trains “UZ” provides the fastest express route will move with a speed of 70-90 km/h, and the ordinary passenger and commuter – 50-70 km/h.

195 km from Lviv to Kolomyya “Lux-torpedo” drove in 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Modern train “Moscow-Sofia” drives the same distance in 3 hours 25 minutes, and does one stop less. A passenger train “Lviv-Chernivtsi” spends the same 195 km in 6 hours and 52 minutes.

For such an unattainable velocity today passengers of “torpedoes” had to pay – tickets from Warsaw to Krakow worth nearly 40 zlotys, while the average monthly salary at the end of 1930 was 100 zlotys.

Each motorcar had 48-52 seats, all of first class. Amid disastrous state highways in interwar Poland “luxury torpedo” had standard speed, comfort and chic.

The Second World War was the end of the railway express trains. Most of the “torpedoes” were killed by an air bomb, merely two cars in Krakow station survived.

They used a train “Only for Germans” on the line to Zakopane, as well as special transport for employees of General Government.

The Red Army, which got the cars from the Nazis returned them to socialist government in Poland in unfit for passenger traffic form. Sometime one of the “torpedoes” was taken to work for miners, and the other one was twisted for parts in case of repair.

Around 1954, both “luxury torpedoes” were given for scrap-metal and are not existing nowadays.

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