Friday, November 30, 2007

Road Train

In the 1950s, the U.S. Army experimented with a 13-car, 600-foot-long wheeled train that could haul more than a hundred tons of supplies over sand or snow. The kicker: it was a hybrid-electric with many of the same features of the latest military prototypes.

The TC-497 “Overland Train,” designed by earthmoving pioneer R.G. Letourneau, was briefly used to supply Alaskan radar stations and construct remote oil pipelines. “The first models were so successful that a Mark II version was developed,” says WIB-pal Steve Weintz. ”This was an amazing machine: gas-turbine-electric hybrid drive, 150-ton payload, a crew of six provided with bridge, bunkhouse, and galley and a self-tracking steering system. Additional power cars and cargo cars could be added as needed.”

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