Floating train

As you know, I get sent a lot of stuff.

When this came in, I dismissed it. Then I watched it again. And again. And again…

Now it’s driving me nuts. Can anyone shed any light on this video?

(It all happens in the first 20 seconds).

Latest ebay cheat sheet is is here.

Keep ’em coming.



66 Responses to Floating train

  1. It appears that a large hydraulic cylinder lifts the machine. It is mostly hidden by the workers legs.

  2. Hi Al

    If you slow it down & pause at about 21 secs you can see a jack between the leags of the front man at the machine.

    It does look incredible though.

  3. You can just about see what appears to be a (probably) hydraulic pillar or post between the two guys steadying the unit.

    It then gently lowers to sit on the rails.

    I expect there will be someone out there who knows exactly how it’s done.

    Thanks for the vid. V interesting!

    Dave G

  4. If you look very carefully it looks like there is a pole sticking down from the center of the train and they are just spinning it around the pole. You can see it very early on in the video. You do have to look close though.

  5. Watch closely at the third second. (time 03)
    There is a hydraulic ram extending down from the truck to the track. This is what is supporting the truck and allowing the crew to rotate it into alignment on the rail.
    The angle of the camera makes it look as if the truck is tilted, but it must be perfectly level to be able to be balanced on a single hydraulic ram whilst the crew rotate & align it to the tracks.
    Because of the movement of the crew, after about the fourth second, the ram is mostly hidden from the camera by the men.
    Cheers, Bernard

  6. Behind the vehicle being “levitated” is a pole of some sort, that appears at
    the very beginning, behind where the two workers are standing. It must be
    some kind of jacking mechanism. Other than that, it could be some “computer
    majic” slight of hand.

  7. Ok Al so I to give up WHAT is the answer,,?

  8. Hi Alistair,
    not as spooky as it looks :-)
    There’s a hydraulic ram positioned at the balance centre of the vehicle for turning/re-railing.
    You can see it clearly at around 21 seconds between the bloke’s legs.
    It is retracted when they have the wheels lined up with the rails.
    Great video. :-)

    Cheers, Neal.

  9. There is a cylinder rod in the middle of the unit, you can see it in the beginning the it is re tracked when the wheels are on the track. the men are in the way and is difficult to see. Regards Ronald Jones.

  10. Some very clever editing has removed a mighty big crane I suspect.

  11. At the 3 sec mark, you can see a silver pole either on the far side of the track or under the unit. If the pole is under and connected to the unit, could it be an hydraulic system to turn the unit to face the other way. Or, and this is stretching the imagination, is it using hovercraft technology?

  12. Al, I,m still ij a daze about this “magic train”please please whats the answer? All answers on a used train ticket or me or him.
    love to you all,,Bernard

  13. Hi Al,
    I believe there is a central hydraulic jack type mechanism that when lowered enables the truck to spin on it’s axis, enabling it to turn round.
    Kind regards, Andy.

  14. Hi if you look close a hydraulic ram is lifting the train at its balance point, allowing the train to be rotated. If you follow the video slowly you can see the ram lifting as the train sits on the track.
    Cool video thanks

  15. Hi Al
    It looks, to me, that it has its own central hydraulic jack, in order to reverse direction, but be able to drive forward.
    If you look closely, you can see it slowly withdrawing back into the body of the vehicle after it has settle back on the tracks.

    Keep up the good work, I love all your mails.

  16. They are just turning it around. Have a close look between the left hand blokes legs when the video zooms in and you will see the hydraulic ram it is standing on.

  17. Its plain to see the central jacking post that allows the thing to swing from the shoring piles onto the rails.

  18. If you look close you will see it is on a central pin, best to watch it in full screen.

  19. Hi Al,
    There appears to be a hydraulic jack on the underside of the train. You get a glimpse of its vertical piston in the first couple of seconds of the film and again when the camera zooms in it appears between the legs of the man on the left. Very neat.
    Regards, Dylan.

  20. There is a hydrolic under the train to turn it around… Watch between the legs of one of the guys in the middle of the movie

  21. There is a strong pole in the middle of the truck, which either the vehicle has been lowered with in the down position, and once lined up to a female hole set in the track the vehicle is swung around to align the wheels with the rails and then lowered down ( like a jack) If you pause the video at the beginning you can see this shining pole underneath.

  22. It must be pivoted on a central hydraulic ram for doing just that. If you pause the video several times you can just see something behind the guys as it is moved around. Looks dangerous all the same on a windy embankment.

  23. Hi Alastair,
    At first I thought the video must have been ‘got at’ but the I enlarged it as much as I could and If you look very closely you will see a column behind the men, then it is hidden by them and apears briefly again between one mans legs. So there must be an hydraulic centre column which enables the ‘car’ to be turned round.
    Cheers Mike S

  24. It appears that the crew drives the unit on to the tracks and then lowers a hydraulic “foot” to raise it up and swing it into place on the track..

  25. It’s obvious, Al. If you get as many “science” programs on U.K. TV as we do here in North America where the explanation for everything from the pyramids to the invention of bubble gum is “extraterrestrials,” then that piece of MOW equipment was being levitated by a UFO. Too bad the person with the camera didn’t bother to ask the railway workers. If location info had been provided, more details might have been obtained. Curious stuff, for sure.

  26. Its obvious. Clovis is a mere 110 miles from Roswell – 1 hour 48 minutes drive time, less using anti-gravity. Note the little green men are cleverly disguised in hi-vis circus suits while they shift things around using anti-gravity….

  27. If you look closely you’ll see a post which is hydraulic allowing the vehicle to be turned around

  28. Floating train, If you enlarge the video and watch carefully when to pause it, You will notice that there is a 3″ hydraulic piston that is centered for balance allowing it to be lifted and turned.. One of the MOA workers leg almost blocks the view

  29. Looks to me as if there is some sort of central jack on which can lift the whole vehicle off the ground and rotate it, either so it can be turned round at the end of the line, or driven on to the track at an access point (level crossing etc) and then aligned with the rails. Quite a few bits of British PW equipment do that – I seem to remember something similar happening in one of the Eddie Stobart series.

  30. The “Floating Train” has a center jack underneath so that it can be turned

  31. Wow! I see what you mean. The machine appears to be on a center post that could have a platform at the top to hold it up??? I don’t know; it’s just a wild guess, but I do see a post or something that is quite visible when I pause the video.


  32. No magic at all in this Just clever photography and well placed people. There is a jack which is clear as day, right below the vehicle. Have a better look and notice the steel hydraulic ram.
    Magic solved!

  33. ok if you pause the video on about 3 seconds you can see a bar or pol in the middle of the train, to balance the train from not falling it has extended steel feet on the track that we cant see. then they move the train to position and the pressure is released and the train starts to come down on the rail.

  34. The trick behind the floating train may be the hydraulic ram that descends from the
    centre of gravity point onto the rail bed. As it descends the three men sort of complete the balance point and keep it steady until it is turned around and lowered to the rails again. The ram can be seen in the first few seconds of the video. it is a shiny round post under the engine.

  35. If you look closely between the legs of the man on the left you can see the ram supporting the vehicle. After he steps out of the way and the vehicle is back on the rails, you can see the ram retract. I had to watch several times to see it.

  36. It looks to me like a Jack is in place .. look between the far left man’s legs. although I’ll have to admit that looks like a very small jack to do that big of a job

  37. to me, it looks like it has to have some sort of hydraulicss in it, i see some sort of lift arm on the far back side of the machine before it was set down, im guessing that there is more, but we just dont see it..

  38. it being held up with it stable lisers push down into the ground and the raised then turned to be put on the track

  39. We use hydraulics to raise the machine so we can rotate it to Chang the direction we want it to work in. I work for Metro North Railroad here in the Northeast USA

  40. Hi Al, It can only be a hydraulic lift with a flat footprint located at the centre of gravity. As only a short lift is required I think my theory is quite workable.
    Cheers Werner

  41. look at second 2 you can see an idraulic piston holging the train up
    then look close at second 21 and 22 you can see the big idraulic piston in between the legs of one of the workers

  42. Perhaps you should call Sculley and Mulder in on this one, Al! Good luck!!!

  43. It is a hydraulic piston. This machine is equipped with it to spin the vehicle 180 degrees when the work gang reverses direction so that the operator is driving forward instead of driving backward.

  44. I didn’t get a chance to read all the answers before I said the same thing about the hydraulic ram post. The comments were not visible when I first opened the article for some reason. I thought that I was the first to comment and that was not the case.

  45. The others have it exactly, hydraulics is your answer! Suire beats having to haul your own turntable around with you when you want to turn your toy!
    By the way, Alastair, Now that I’m employed again, I really want to sign back up for the deeper newsletters, but, I never see the deal anymore! Any way you can send a note, or post up next time?

  46. Hey, Alastair, the other guys answered your question, it’s all in the hydraulics! a nice, easy way to turn your MOW car when it’s time to go home!
    Hey, I was wondering, I’m recently employed again, and, wanted to sign up for the deeper E-mails! any chance you could post up or send me a note!

  47. Pause it at the 21 second mark and you can see the hydraulic cylinder piston between the workers legs. Problem solved….

  48. Yes it’s a jack post to orientate the vehicle.ive seen them here like that.they drive up and straddle the track.It has a level sensor on the jack post to tell them it is in the centre.then this piston comes down with a plate and lift’s the whole works and lets them place the wheels..scary being so close to it and it sways back and forth with all that weight on such a small post lol

  49. did you check to see if Merlin is around~~~~hydraulic cylinder

  50. Al, what you are looking is a tie gang machine, tie gangs remove and replace ties and sometimes the machines need to be turned around so they have the built in hydraulic cylinder and turntable for the purpose of turning the machine. These machines are very common here in the U.S. The angle of the video does not provide a detailed enough look at the machine to positively identify it, however, tie gangs require such specialized machines as tie insert, tie extraction, tie cranes, spike pullers, spike installers, anchor removal and installers, tampers and ballast regulation and so on, the machines are hauled on trains or trucks from one location to another and only travel under their own power to get to and from the work site and “clear” of the main tracks. Working on the Union Pacific Railroad as an engineer I see many of these machines working on the tracks on a regular basis. Jim

  51. It’s Capt. James T Kirk trying out his latest antigravity device.

  52. It appears to me that many have answered the question as to how and what is going on. However, nobody commented re the man standing on the “back” side, probably to provide balance, thus keeping the machine approximately level.I I really enjoy all of the the posts and I think I learn something from each one.
    Please keep up the posts for all of us.
    Thank you, Roger Oehmke

  53. I have a friend who works for a railroad in Colorado (he’s a railroad police officer) and he sent me this reply as to how it works:

    That piece of track equipment had a hydraulic post under the center of the car (you can see it as they turn the car to line up with the track). Older track cars had that as well to allow turning a track speeder from the active track to a ‘set out’ track at a right angle to the mainline track. It looks as thought it was leading a string of track maintenance equipment. I don’t know why they had to turn it around but is what it appears to me. – Jim

  54. Be easier if they installed a reverse gear!

  55. It appears to be a track maintenance machine, which has a special privot under it to turn it around.

    The machines may be made by Plasser. There is also a work crew working on the track.

    Paul Otway

  56. There is a large plate attached to the piston just visible by the workmanship legs. The video does not show it being extended. It uses the same device that we use on some speeders to turn them around before reversing course. To check out speeders, google North Anerican Rail car Operators ….NARCOA.

  57. No way is their one hydraulic jack at the center or from the far side of the machine. It floated just as an object being moved around by a crane. My bet someone photo shoped it.

  58. I have modeled this many times on my n scale and I’m quite sure that the tiny little people have never seen the hand of God pick the unit up and spin it around back on the track.

  59. Wondering if they are applying some hovercraft technology. My brother did the welding on the first experimental hovercraft which later was used by the navy I believe.

  60. Pause at the 23 seconds mark to clearly see the hydraulic ram. Would need a wide base to ensure balancing can be achieved.

  61. I like the levitating train idea. Hey, if this is so, then when I turn my locos around digitally, it’s much more prototypic:-). I’m not sure I can fit a turntable in on my narrow layout, but with this who needs one?

  62. I ran a production tie gang on the Kansas City Southern Railway for about 25 yrs. Several of the tie machines were equipped with hydraulic jacks so the machines could be turned on short notice without taking them to a wye. These machines were usually turned when it was necessary to swap sides to extract or insert the ties. Mostly it was the smaller machines that got turned this way. The automatic spikers were about the largest that got turned in this fashion.

  63. It’s not extra terrestials, just a good old fashioned sky-hook> By the way, in 2010 I was moving wind turbine blades from Beaumont Texas to Colorado by rail. I fitted some shock recorders that looked like small land mines. One fell off along the way and we never found it so for all the railmen out there across the pond, and especially the chap with the police connection, it’s not dangerous. It is marked MOBITRON,
    D/ Scotland
    PS, I don’t want it back. I had enough trouble at airport security taking the things over there from Denmark !

  64. Hi Al, In relation to your levitating train, it is very similar to the track maintenance cars we have here in Australia, so I feel they would operate just the same. The middle of the train has a hydrolic platform that when lowered is placed between the sleepers for support, wile the maitenance car is lifted and turned in the oppersite direction as to what it was facing. If ou look at the video from the start you can see the rod that is attached to the plate that goes between the sleepers. I hope this is of help in explaining how and why this operation is performed, as it can be hundreds of miles between turnouts, as these cars are used on single lines, with limited sidings or passing tracks.

    Semar, (Downunder)

  65. Hi Al,

    It is common practice to rotate a regulator so save time going through a wye. I work in Western Australia with iron ore and the practice of rotating a regulator is done using a crane as using the hydraulic rams is considered by the mining company as too dangerous.

  66. “Hey, That’s Cool !” – says the grandson. But, Gramps – why bother ?, when you can just reach over the layout and grab it yourself, like this ………

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