> Strange Vehicles > Alaskan
The Alaskan Land Train (or Overland Train) was an enormous leviathan
developed by LeTourneau, a heavy-equipment maker based in Longview,
Texas for the US Army in the 1950s. The vehicle was developed in order
to help transport people and cargo through the demanding arctic conditions.
Its massive wheels and tires, coupled with its immense power meant
the vehicle could travel over all but the roughest terrain.
Power for the Alaskan Land Train came from four 1,170 horsepower gas
turbine/electric engines - not entirely unlike the units used on diesel/electric
railway locomotives. One engine was located in the "control car"
while the other three were spread out within the train.
Manned by a crew of six, the standard setup was capable of hauling
up to 150 tons of supplies and equipment. However more power/haulage
units could be added to the convoy for additional power and larger
loads. On flat ground the Alaskan Land Train could carry 150 tons
of cargo at about 20 mph. Range at full load was normally 350 to 400
miles, but additional fuel trailers could be added to extend the range.
The Alaskan Land Train was used for a little over a decade - including
the previous prototype (VC-12 Tournatrain). However as helicopter
technology developed, the need for a land based vehicle capable of
accessing inhospitable areas became more and more obsolete. The last
time the vehicle was used was in 1962.
The Alaskan Land Train was eventually sold off for scrap. Various
elements of the vehicle still reside in various scrapyards in the
US. Some of the wheels have been used on monster trucks, including
the world famous "Bigfoot".
To this day the Alaskan Land Train holds the world record for the
longest off-road vehicle.