Airplane Technology on Rails. In the Twenties of the previous century, aeronautical engineer Franz Kruckenberg, born in Uetersen, Germany in 1882, had the vision of fast railroad passenger service with propeller-driven railroad cars. The plans developed by him were based on lightweight airplane technology and reached their peak on June 21, 1931 in a triumphant record run by his streamlined Rail Zeppelin. It reached 233 km/h / 146 mph, a speed record for powered railroad cars that stood for 23 years. The principle of propeller-driven railroad cars proved to be less than ideally suited during test runs. Yet, Kruckenberg laid the foundation for modern, lightweight high speed rail cars with the Rail Zeppelin and axle-powered successor designs developed by him. The Rail Zeppelin was and still remains a legend and synonym for the rapid progress in railroad technology that has reached its peak in the present with the current high speed powered rail car train technology.