They say necessity is the mother of all invention. When the particular necessity happens to be the detection of Soviet Union bombers carrying nuclear warheads old mother invention is bound to have some outrageous children of her own. Remember those awesome Mack trucks used to ferry men and supplies to the distance radar bases that would make up the DEW Line? It was A land where man is closer to his God. Apparently they had some help in the form of this LeTourneau Sno-Freighter.
David came across this unique piece of truck and American history just sitting by the road in Fox, Alaska. Can you believe this massive beast has just been abandoned and left to rot? Alaska Freight Lines had the contract in the early 1950’s to transport supplies for the construction of the before mentioned DEW Line. They commissioned heavy equipment specialist Le Tourneau Technologies to build a one of a kind land train capable of fording semi frozen rivers and deep snow. Powered by two Cummins engines generating 800 HP the Sno-Freighter was capable of pulling 150 tons of material through temperatures as low as minus 68 degrees fahrenheit. Much like a rail based locomotive the diesel engines powered electric motors located on each of the 24 combined wheels of the power unit and the trailing wagons.
Here is a shot of the 88 inch tall, 38 inch wide tubeless tires that went flat long ago. Exposed is part of the gearing of the electric motor.
After completion of the DEW Line it was used to transport supplies for the exploration of the North Shore Oil fields. While the highly specialized nature of the Sno-Freighter made it so adept at its job it also was its greatest weakness. As the years rolled on spare parts became fewer and general maintenance costs increased. Eventually it was parked and left to rot by the side of the Steese Highway where it can be seen today.
What an ignominious fate for such a unique machine. If I had the green backs this rig would be rotting in my back yard. While you cry into your beer take a gander at how it once was in these old promotion films.
We are in your debt David. Thanks for sharing.