Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Ultimate SUV


So, The Mrs. and I have a guilty pleasure - we like to watch The History Channel. At least, I know that I like to watch The History Channel, and she doesn't throw things at me. Anyhow, we were watching a show on "Extreme Tech" or something like that, and they showed black and white movies of the silliest idea I've ever seen - a "Land Train." This Land Train was built in the 1950's to move troops around in the Arctic tundra. Now, just why the Soviets would want to claim the tundra wasn't at all clear from the documentary. Perhaps they wanted to convert the caribou to communism? I digress.

So, some defense company put together the idea of having a huge train that could move troop effortlessly about the tundra, chasing the Soviets back across the Bering to Siberia. Kind of like the 1950's version of Knight Rider, maybe. Anyway, I guess the thing never worked as intended, and the Army discovered that these things called airplanes and helicopters were continually needed to move the mechanics in to fix the train when it broke. So, adding one plus one, they noticed that they had two other ways to move people around that didn't involve massive orange vehicles that moved at 2mph. The Land Train might have been a good idea if it had actually worked, and if all Soviet pilots were legally blind. Instead, the Land Train goes figuratively into the scrapheap of history. And literally into the scrapheap near my house.

There are three lasting legacies of the Land Train:
Beyond that, I'm coming up empty. Happy Easter.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Rafagani Dangereux said...

So beautiful pictures!
Greetings from Italy!

10:25 AM  
Blogger Quackin' Mad Duck said...

Awesome! You are soooo making me want to move there! Maybe I need to stop looking at your blog!

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the Land Train vehicle still exist in Fairbanks? Would knowing the yard where the train is at be possible? I wish there was a way to know more. There is hardly next to nothing about it anywhere.

Any assistance will greatly be appreciated.

Thank you.

phantomphan50@hotmail.com

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Ben Berry said...

Yea the main bits and pieces are left and a junkyard by the name of greasy Pete, old man, has 3 or 4 of the vehicles, and many tires, I have lived in city for about 10 years, my father knows Pete personally, the yard is on Badger Rd, next to the Richerson Highway.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Michael ("FastMikie") McCafferty said...

There is a HUGE land train at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma Arizona. I saw it there last weekend. Quite amazing!

1:11 PM  
Blogger Sven said...

There are two of these that I know of, the one in Yuma at the Proving Ground (YPG) and the one pictured in this article. My college buddies dad, a good friend as well, owned the Yuma one and had it in his surplus yard for decades. It is currently on display at YPG. My buddy traded it back to the Gov. for the museum. He and a business partner purchased the whole 13 cars, I think, in the 60's, I also think. It consisted of the control car, a fuel car, a couple of power units, and some cargo (as I recall my buddy telling me). They scrapped it all out, aluminum mostly. Sold the turbines from the turbin/generator cars and had a mighty pile of big sun rotted tires in his yard for years before he scrapped them out. Last I knew the fuel tank from the fuel car was still sitting in his yard.
The control car is larger than the one in the article, 6 tires. It has a 360 degree control tower with four seats as I remember. A radar seat, driver and a couple others. Somewhere I have some pics. The thing is way cool. Still had 1960's boxes of some food in the pantry when I saw it in 1989. My buddy also had a movie of it. Unfortunately I never saw it.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous generic cialis said...

Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Close on the date of the sale, but I was in the Army at Yuma Proving Grounds from 70-72 and it was towards the end of my tour that they sold it to a surplus yard in Yuma, AZ.

4:03 PM  
Blogger World History said...

Landrover was also developing at the same time a vehicle intended to compete with the large pickups selling well in the middle east, and so they designed what was basically an oversize Landrover, identified as a 129” due to its longer wheelbase.

1:50 AM  

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