Atlas Obscura is Hiring! Join us in pursuit of wonder.

Chevilly, France

Aérotrain d'Orléans Test Track

The experimental test tracks of a retro-futuristic monorail still stand in the French countryside. 

Designed by engineer Jean Bertin, the Aérotrain was a hovertrain developed in France from 1965 to 1977. Similar to a magnetic levitation train, the train was designed to glide above the tracks, but instead of using magnetic resistance, the Aérotrain would float on a cushion of air.  

The project was abandoned in 1977 due to lack of funding, the death of Bertin, and the adoption of TGV (the Train à Grande Vitesse, high-speed-train) by the French government as its high-speed ground transport solution. However even though the project was abandoned, the test tracks were never torn down.

Today, the lifeless tracks can still be found high upon the countryside. There were two platforms for the change of direction of the train at the extremities of the track, one is Saran and one in Ruan. A middle station in Chevilly is also still visible.

The tall concrete tracks remain essentially untouched from when they were built, save for a small portion above the A19 road which was demolished. The Aérotrainmay not have been the future of French transportation, but remains a fascinating relic from its past.

Know Before You Go

First platform is in Ruan, Loiret: 48.1157, 1.904.
The middle station is in Chevilly, Loiret: 48.0282, 1.884.
The last platform is in Saran, Loiret: 47.9581, 1.892.

Edit Place