michael jantzen

michael jantzen

Santa Fe, NM, US




Railtels were designed to offer a new kind of hotel experience in this age of the Corona virus pandemic and our need to isolate ourselves as much as possible, even during our vacations.

The basic Railtel is designed to accommodate two people with three large outdoor open spaces and a large interior space. The interior space is outfitted with a bathroom and kitchen that utilize the latest RV technologies. The space is also designed with a place to sleep, dine, work, and relax, with large windows and a sliding glass door. Two open decks surround the perimeter of the interior space, and a large observation deck (accessed by way of an exterior staircase) is mounted onto the roof of the interior space. A shade roof covers the observation deck and supports a large array of solar cells that are used to supply most of the power for the Railtel.

Each Railtel would be placed onto an abandon railroad track. Each of them is equipped with a series of motors that are powered by an eco-friendly fuel such as hydrogen. The motors slowly move the Railtels on the abandoned railroads. Guests can control the movement speed, but normally the speed is only a few miles a day. The very slow movement is intended to create the illusion that the Railtel is floating on the tracks. This also allows the quests to more fully enjoy the surround landscape that slowly changes around them. The slow moving Railtels also greatly reduces any danger to the guests.

The cowcatchers used years ago on locomotives inspired the aesthetics of the Railtels, with all of the yellow colored angled planes. These angled planes also keep the quests away from the wheels of the Railtels and help to shade the interior space and observation deck. The Railtels are also equipped with sensors that stop the movement if anyone or anything gets in front of the slowly moving structures.

There are thousands of miles of abandoned railroads just in the USA. My vision is that the Railtel company would locate some of the best of these with the most interesting surrounding landscapes and do whatever rehabbing necessary so the Railtels can be placed onto the tracks. I also see the possibility of creating special events and/or attractions along the route for the quests. The vacations can consist of one-way trips where the guests are returned via shuttle to where they started, or the Railtels can backtrack for the return.

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Status: Unbuilt