Forgotten Grumman TLRV in Pueblo, Colorado
In downtown Pueblo, Colorado, two futuristic hovertrains sit idly next the road, looking absurdly out of place next to any cars that happen to drive by, like a forgotten piece of rail travel’s ambitious past.
One is a Grumman Tracked Levitation Research Vehicle (TLRV), an air-cushion transportation prototype that was built to reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour. The hovertrain was intended to glide along the track without wheels on what was essentially a cushion of compressed air, which was squeezed through tubes along the train’s body then pushed downward. It was meant to be a revolutionary form of rail travel.
The train was brought to a hovercraft test track near Pueblo to be put through its paces alongside other futuristic vehicles like the Rohr Aérotrain, which is parked next to it. Because the track was fairly short, the TLRV was never able to reach its potential top speed. And unfortunately, the Urban Mass Transportation Administration stopped funding the test track in the 1970s.
No longer of use, the TLRV was schlepped off to the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum. In 2010, it was moved once again to join the Aérotrain as part of the Pueblo Railway Museum. The museum is planning to open a hovercraft exhibit but hasn't yet, so for now, the hovertrains remain unceremoniously parked along a nondescript road.