Human Powered Night Train

FeaturedContest Winner
Picture of Human Powered Night Train
This is a human powered parade float for a Christmas night parade. It was built by the Human Powered Vehicle Operators of Ottawa (HPVOoO) . More details can be found on .  The base platform is a human powered tandem recumbent tricycle towing a home made 4'x8' tandem axle 3/4 ton flatbed cargo trailer which in turn is towing a kid's wagon.  The trike lies entirely underneath the bottom locomotive boiler line.  The rest is added superstructure.  The red, green and blue lights are 130m of 2.5mm electro-luminescent wire.  The horn is a real diesel locomotive air horn.
BillCraft2 years ago
I would love to build this for Christmas time!!! I was just wondering where you bought all of the EL wire, inverters, and connectors.
rggb (author)  BillCraft2 years ago
Here's a description of the wiring:
tanmanknex3 years ago
Approximately how much did it cost?
rggb (author)  tanmanknex3 years ago
The EL wire is about $1.20/foot and there is about 400'. There are also 8 inverters that are $10 each? Connectors all told were maybe another $50?

The wood was almost all recycled. The bike rims were in a scrap heap, as was the stove pipe.

A friend gave me the diesel locomotive air horn, but those can fetch anywhere from $300 to $900. The air tank and connectors were $75-$100.

The tandem recumbent trike you can find here:

The trailer was about $200 in metal plus labour.
katerlyn3 years ago
Can we see it in daytime? I would like to do this to my Rhoadescar.

rggb (author)  katerlyn3 years ago
Sure, there's lots more photos linked from here in a number of levels of detail:
2qwe3 years ago
An interesting article. Thanks)
At first I thought this was a light-painting but this is way cooler!
Charlie133 years ago
how heavy is this thing?
rggb (author)  Charlie133 years ago
Here's a rough guess:
tandem: 80 pounds
trailer: 100+ pounds
kid's wagon: 25 pounds
diesel loco air horn: 20 pounds
On top of that is three 10' sections of 2x6", a bit of 2x2" and smaller lumber, 1/2" conduit and the lights basically weigh nothing compared to the rest of this.
So, 275 pounds as a guess? Then you have two adults pedalling, 12 kids in the big trailer and a couple of kids in the wagon. The big trailer is good for 1500 pounds (3/4 ton).
JasonYMN3 years ago
That's incredible. If I had the time I would so make something like this.
I was searching for the right words to sum up my thoughts, but all I could come up with is "WOW!"
JerryMopar3 years ago
On eof the most awesome thing ive seen someone make in awhile
Super Awesome
snelpiller3 years ago
ElvenChild3 years ago

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!