BY: ZOE MELNYK
What was once a trashed pickup truck and some scrap metal is now the most ingenious form of uncongested transportation that will interest any traveler who’s passionate about taking the scenic route.
Two brothers from Guadalajara, Mexico, Ivan Puig Domene and Andrés Padilla Domene, created the road-rail vehicle called the SEFT-1 to live out a lifelong fantasy of exploring forgotten Mexican landscapes via abandoned railways.
The brothers used recycled automobile parts, mostly from an old truck, to build the base of the vehicle. They built steel tires that could travel along the railways, and also equipped the vehicle with rubber tires for paved roads. Although it travels on train tracks, it still runs on fuel like any regular automobile.
After four years of production the vehicle was ready to travel on railways and paved roads.
From 2010 to 2011, the brothers travelled on 9,000 kilometres of railroad tracks
The expedition lasted for roughly a year, spanning from 2010 to 2011, and covered approximately 9,000 kilometers of neglected land and isolated communities.
The tracks were originally constructed in the 19th century, when Mexico and Britain collaborated on an ambitious project that would connect Mexico City with the Atlantic Ocean and eventually all the way to Europe.
The project ultimately failed, and in 1995, all railways were privatized, leaving most tracks to remain idle — that is, until the Domene brothers put them to use.
The tracks were constructed in the 19th century and were eventually privatized, leaving them unused.
Ivan and Andrés used their mode of travel to visit the forgotten districts that were left isolated after the discontinuation of the railroad tracks. The two documented their expedition through photos, videos, and interviews with citizens of the unvisited lands and shared their findings on a personal blog.
The brothers didn’t stop with their blog: the pair went into even more detail on the history behind the tracks and their adventure in the novel SEFT-1. The book expands on the issue of abandonment, and talks about how, in the midst of technological progress, the “old” can still be useful.
The original SEFT-1 is not in operation and is currently on display at the Furtherfield Gallery in London. The vehicle, along with photos and documents of the adventure, provide inspiration to fellow explorers.
The SEFT-1 is not just an interesting way to travel, but its design and purpose redefines our perception on outdated technologies. Instead of letting our resources go to waste, why not recycle them to create a more exceptional product? The adventures of Ivan and Andrés go to show that creativity and innovation can let you push boundaries and explore the unknown on your own terms.