Retrofuturist Flashback: Robotic Track Layer


Tracks to the future. © Bettmann/CORBIS

When you think future, you think railways -- and that's why this 1955 design featured in "People, Products and Progress: 1975" envisions a robotic train track layer, capable of carrying out all construction and repair jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce produced the film and invited a number of different organizations to send in their visions.

Imagine if this one had come true.

Imagine if they'd gone rogue on an unsuspecting 1970s America.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.