The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

Held to the ground by rails (and a lot of gravity), trains are some of the fastest, most powerful land vehicles humans have ever built. Jalopnik readers have found the ten coolest trains of all time.

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Photo Credit: GM

10.) Rotary Snowplow

Suggested By: Proud to drive a beater.

What makes it cool: When there's too much snow for an ordinary train to pass, this train-bearing a striking resemblance to a tunnel-boring machine-comes out and clears the way. Only a few are still in operation today due to their high maintenance costs, but they can still be found regularly clearing the Donner Pass.

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

9.) Swiss Re-620

Suggested By: killernoodle

What makes it cool: This is the world's most powerful electric train. It really doesn't need anything to make it cool beyond that, but it also has 10,500 horsepower and can accelerate from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds. Why so powerful? So that it can pull weaker trains through the steep, twisting railways of the Alps.

Photo Credit: gnm2010

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

8.) Fastech 360

Suggested By: Car-less Hoonigan

What makes it cool: "Fastech" is a combination of fast and technology (bet you couldn't have guessed that) and 360 stands for the 360 km/h, or 224 mph that this test Shinkansen intended to reach. What makes this the coolest of all the cool Shinkansen trains is its emergency airbrakes which, when deployed, look like cat ears. This feature earned the train its Japanese nickname Nekomimi Shinkansen, or "cat-eared Shinkansen."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

7.) "Black Beetle" Jet Train

Suggested By: beefStu

What makes it cool: The looks alone of this train alone could have earned it a place on this list— do many other trains look like they're genuinely, actively, trying to kill you right this instant? But the "Black Beetle" has the special distinction of being powered by aircraft jets and holding the record for fastest train for over 40 years, having topped 183 mph-in 1966. Oh, and it took 30 days to build.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

6.) LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard

Suggested By: Myloh

What makes it cool: The Mallard is the world's fastest steam locomotive. In 1938 it took the title from a German train by hitting nearly 126 mph on a slight downward slope. In addition to its speed, the Mallard is quite a looker. If Bugatti had made a train based on the Type 57, it might have looked something like this.

Photo Credit: gabludlow

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

5.) UAC TurboTrain

Suggested By: DocWalt

What makes it cool: The TurboTrain was one of the first high-speed trains, one of the first gas turbine trains, and one of the first tilting trains. But this wasn't just a science experiment for the Canadians that built it: versions of this train were in service for over a decade in Canada and the United States.

Photo Credit: Bengt Mutén

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

4.) Finnish Armored Trains

Suggested By: Stig-a-saw-us wrecks

What makes it cool: A few countries, throughout various periods of history, have employed armored and armed trains. None were quite as cool as Finland's though, which were built mostly from regular locomotives covered with bricks, bags of sand, and what sheets of metal they could find. It was, after all, a period of civil war in Finland. Somehow, the Finnish Whites (with their improvised armored trains) beat the Finnish Reds (with their much more advanced Russian trains). Everybody likes an underdog.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

3.) Schienenzeppelin

Suggested By: magman007

What makes it cool: It's a train with a propeller on the back. What more do you want? Ok, it was also the fastest train of its time and was designed to look (here's the front) and work like a zeppelin (hence the name). It was dismantled in 1939, however, due to safety concerns, and because Germany had some other projects going on at that time.

Photo Credit: German Federal Archives

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

2.) Shanghai Maglev Train

Suggested By: Conky's Evil Twin

What makes it cool: The Shanghai Maglev Train, which runs from Dowtown Shanghai to the airport, is the first high-speed commercially operated maglev train and only the second commercial maglev train in the entire world. On a typical run, it reaches about 268 mph, which sure beats sitting in airport traffic. Oh, and maglev technology may well be the future of locomotives the world over.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Ten Coolest Trains Ever BuiltS

1.) Wuppertal Schwebebahn

Suggested By: Apollon

What makes it cool: Adopting a car-suspended-under-elevated-track format similar to modern rollercoasters, the Schwebebahn seems like it would be a blast to ride. And some people get to do just that everyday, because it isn't a modern rollercoaster, but rather a commuter rail system in Wuppertal, Germany, that was built in 1901. Even if they'd have built it in 2001 it would still be near the top of this list fo its awesome strangeness.

Photo Credit: Getty Images