From the convoluted realm of 1980's nuclear deterrence strategy came a plan to base U.S. ICBMs in railcars that would have roamed the nation's rail network. The artist's rendering shown below is the second version of the plan to deploy the MX missile (later named the Peacekeeper) in a sort of shell game strategy. The first iteration would have deployed mobile missile launchers on road vehicle carriers that would shuttle from bunker to bunker in sites located in the Great Basin states of Utah, and Nevada. The next plan was to base special railcars at bases along the nations rail network, and have the cars roam the rails at random depending on the threat level. The cars were to carry markings of commercial railroad companies as shown below, but presumably they would not have confused the Santa Fe with being the Automated Railway, and did the Union Pacific and the Illinois Central merge? The desert scene looks very much like the Santa Fe east of Klondike on the Needles Sub. The SP and C&O highcube cars are interesting, and is that supposed to be a B&O Sentinel car?
Part 2 will cover the political and social aspects of this plan, and more on the train itself, and also what the Russkies are up to with rail deployed missiles.
|Artist's rendering of the Peacekeeper Rail Garrison car running on the commercial rail network.|
|Cutaway view of the Peacekeeper Rail Garrison Launch Car.|
Kit-bashing at its finest. The launcher used a cold launch system using compressed air for the initial lift of the rocket.
|Westinghouse launch car at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio.|
|The road option with rail delivery.|
|Next stop, Chicago Union Station.|
|As can be seen in the video below the Air Force was planning on using large road carriers on prepared roads as part of the land basing system, but they also at least tested the system shown above to launch missiles from road-less areas.|
|The MX Rail Garrison was not the first scheme to deploy ICBMs by rail. Operation Big Star was floated around 1959, but was deemed impractical. |
The key word here is CLUSTER.
And, hey, if cats can figure this out.....