The GM Aerotrain: A Project Gone off the Rails


What’s longer than a football field, made by General Motors but rarer than a Bugatti, and lives an unloved life in middle America? The GM Aerotrain. While we only get fleeting glimpses at concept cars from the American auto giant before most of them are whisked away to the Heritage Collection warehouse, two concept trains from the 1950s are substantially more accessible.

The streamlined Art Deco fantasy on rails could almost be accused of luring customers back to trains with sex appeal. This seems particularly odd because the Aerotrain was a product of General Motors, the company that actively pushed trolley traffic out of cities so people would buy their cars.

In the mid-1950s, GM’s Electro-Motive Division was responsible for producing train engines, and the locomotive business was shrinking thanks to the effectiveness of automotive travel. This was an era when GM’s industrial might seemed like it could solve any…

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