Strange Vehicles > Alaskan Land Train
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.