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Huge Off-Highway Road Trains


1. The ETF Haul Train: this thing looks like it's all set to conquer the Moon, or Mars (with little modification):

This huge Road Train (or Haul Train) developed by ETF Trucks of UAE and Germany is a fantastic project - the ultra-powerful, yet highly efficient piece of "monster machinery" looks like a "wet dream" of every miniature train enthusiast, apocalyptic cult follower, or a Mad Max movie sequel producer. United Arab Emirates once again set out to conquer desert wastes - this time with 3,700 camel (er...horse) power engine under each hood.

(all images copyright and under permission of ETF Trucks - click to enlarge)

Here is how ETF trucks look when linked together in a mining haul train (each truck has MULTIPLE engines, totaling up to 3700 hp):

The company promises payloads from 309 to 1520 US tons (280-1370 metric tons) and huge operator cost savings - after all, only one operator is required per train. The concept system also features in-pit loading (with help of addional mechanism) and possibility of easy unloading to cargo ships.

The previous version of this Ultra-Class truck also looked very impressive. This iteration of the Haul Train consisted of two locomotives, one at each end - allowing the train to easily move in either direction.

Each vehicle in this train has its own all-wheel-drive and all-wheel-steering by-wire, featuring the ability of some wheels (middle axle-lines) to be lifted during the empty haul:

The ETF road train uses electric drive system which is unique in the industry; also, the concept of hooking up many trucks provides costs savings of more than 25%. So far, the company has two truck building facilities, one in Germany and one in UAE.

2. Overland Train in Arizona, 1963 - A Beast of a Machine!

Seen at Yuma Proving grounds in Arizona in 1962, this fantastic 565-feet-long Overland Train was tested in a configuration of the control car, ten cargo cars and two power-generating cars. It could deliver 150 tons payload and boasted fully-appointed living quarters inside the leading car:

(images via)

I like this top view, where all cargo cars are forming a circle like pioneer wagons in a Western movie! -

"The control cab is all that remains of The Overland Train today, and it may be viewed at the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center. The rest of the Overland Train was sold to a Yuma scrap dealer." (more info):

(images credit: LIFE Magazine)

Just look at this 200 meter snake! -

(image credit: Carl Mydans, LIFE Magazine)

3. Post-Apocalyptic "Overlander" and "Landmaster"

That Overland Train in Arizona reminded us of this highly exciting and capable vehicle for the zombie apocalypse scenario: the Overlander, the Gerry Anderson's Terrahawks primary supply vehicle. Here is a model of this vehicle (complete with a helijet landing pad) built by David Sisson (more info):

(image credit: David Sisson)

And speaking of the apocalyptic cross-terrain vehicle, don't forget the "Landmaster" from the "Damnation Alley" movie (based on Harlan Ellison's novella "A Boy and His Dog"):

(images via)

4. South African Road Transport Warriors

Miners in South Africa prefer to move loads not by rail (like it is done in the USA, Germany, India and Japan), but - since they have huge open spaces - by means of the HUGE TRUCK TRAINS.

Looking like something out of a feverish Mad Max dream, these otherworldly centipedes are described here and here as a very capable set of machines:

(images credit: Dennis Child, via Tom Despit)

(images credit: Dennis Child, via Tom Despit)

What you are seeing in these images is, in fact, THE LARGEST ON-HIGHWAY VEHICLE IN THE WORLD!:

- 370 ton Siemens generator with a gross combination load of 860 tons
- five Ultra Pacific trucks in one line, producing 4000hp.
- Total length 160m.
- The heaviest load transported: 950 ton (a tunnel boring machine)

They also have the largest trailer (with no less than 338 wheels):

(image credit: Dennis Child)

5. The Classic Australian Road Trains

Traversing the desert route from Darwin to Adelaide in Southern Australia, these trains are often called the "tyre kicker's paradise". They often have more than 60 tires (or "tyres" as spelled in Australia), routinely travel 3,000 km between destinations and look like they can eat your typical Peterbilt for breakfast.

Here is a glorified view of one of these proud haulers:

(image credit: Kelvin Wong)

Heath Raymond thus describes the experience: "Despite being limited to 100kmh, these Road Trains operate on desolate Highways (often single lane) that had unrestricted speed limits until July of 2007 (now 130kmh limit). Often the limiters are tampered with & passing one of these in the opposite direction is chilling enough. But when you get one that pulls out and overtakes you at 130kmh, that's scary!

If you encounter one of these approaching from the opposite direction on a single lane highway such as the Barrier or Tanami, you're left with two options. Pull over & out of there way & quickly, or put your head between your legs & kiss your ass goodbye! Because these things can't & won't swerve."

(image credit: Heath Raymond)

This video segment shows such road trains in action, and also tells about the longest "train" so far - "The Centipede":


6. Nazi's super-truck that nobody expected (and hardly anybody knows about)

Well, these talented engineers of Nazi Germany did come up with a supertruck / road-train for harsh cross-country trips - and what's more important, for crossing mine fields. The concept was quite elaborate, though half-realized:

The modeling society at Militaar has come up with a miniature of this exceptional super-truck:

(images credit Militaar)

As this vehicle was primarily designed for crossing minefields, it featured solid tires (with almost no body structure around them) and the heavily armored cab. It seems to be an ancestor of the MRAP Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles.




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Blogger Lamar The Revenger said...

it's like something out of the george peppard movie "Damnation Alley"!

Blogger elve said...

Those ETF trucks looks fantastic, indeed, but for now it seems to be only a dream of a single (Dutch) engineer, since i haven't seen any picture of the real thing or even a real company building.

Those images of a truck in a mine are rendered from a 3D-model.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not foregt The Overland Train built by R. G. LeTourneau. See it at:


Anonymous SlowJoeCrow said...

The German vehicle at the end is actually designed for crossing minefields. Hence the solid tires with no body structure around them and the heavily armored cab. Think of it as the ancestor of the MRAP.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A hoax, well done!

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you SlowJoeCrow - i updated with your info, interesting.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't insult a good looking Ultra Large Truck by calling it a "monstrosity" as the dictionary defines that word as:
1. Very ugly thing: an object, animal, or person that is very unpleasant or frightening to look at, often because it is large and strangely shaped.
2. Monstrousness: frightening size, shape, and ugliness
a figure of overwhelming monstrosity.

And that ETF 190 Truck is really good looking for a such a large truck.


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