54Wheeldrive The LeTourneau electric arctic land trains that …

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54-wheel-drive: The LeTourneau electric land trains that put road trains to shame

We our friends at BigLorryBlog to thank for a vintage ad the other day that us seeking information about the vehicles of all time that up providing parts for the most monster truck of all time: the land trains, built to the most remote reaches of the and to dwarf just about any land vehicle in both and sheer testicular fortitude.

conceived to assist logging in wilderness, LeTourneau, famed for its devised the first of its land the VC-12 Tournatrain, in 1953-1954 a lead cab and three trailers. A Cummins diesel powered a that then fed electric at each wheel, thus the power application across 16 to enhance traction. A later of the Tournatrain added a second and four more trailers to put 32 wheels to the ground.

Though pitched to the Army, never found a buyer for the The Army did, however, to fund the 1954 TC-264 an eight-wheeled super-sized Tonka toy used a butane-fired Allison to run the generators that fed power to electric motors. A four-wheeled, trailer went with it.

Neither the VC-12 nor the TC-264 production. Early in 1955, LeTourneau contracted with Freight Lines Inc. to the VC-22 Sno-Freighter to supply the of the Distant Early Warning system across Alaska, and Greenland. With a pair of Cummins diesel engines and powered trailers, the VC-22 up to 150 tons of cargo.

The Sno-Buggy the Army during its trials so the Army decided to combine of the Sno-Buggy and the Tournatrain into LeTourneau called the YS-1 and what the Army called the It used a single 600hp and three trailers for a total of 45 tons. Released in 1956, it in Greenland for DEW resupply runs 1962.

Six years later, LeTourneau one final stab at building the land train. Designed to arctic conditions as well as and desert, the six-wheeled TC-497 Train MkII used Solar gas-turbine engines (at each, that s 4,680hp to spin generators that juice to 54 total motors one for of its wheels. Of its 12 trailers, two were just to carrying the turbines and The Overland Train stretched 572 long, easily making it the s longest vehicle.

Funny it could only carry 150 of freight as much as the Sno-Freighter it carried such developments as trailer wheels that the entire train more


The Army started testing the Train in 1962, the same Sikorsky introduced its large helicopters that rendered the trains obsolete.

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By the way, those tires? Bob Chandler four of them from a junkyard and fitted them to 4 to capture the title of Tallest Truck.

All the photos above Eric C. Orlemann s 2001 LeTourneau Earthmovers , which an excellent history of the company for its massive mining trucks, as as details on many of the company s unique, military vehicles.

UPDATE (25.November 2009): to Randall over on CR4. I ll to recant the world s longest claim for the MkII. He points out a in Mauritania that s 3 kilometers .

UPDATE (30.November 2009): world s longest vehicle from CR4 commenters. Kiwi suggests this Australian record road train. and suggests this self-propelled mining machine .

UPDATE 2010): Le Container has another pic of the from an unnamed source. groundbreaking here, but we do see Mr. R. G. LeTourneau by it.

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