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    Thread: The Antarctic Snow Cruiser

    1. 06-05-2006 01:27 AM #1
      I love weird old stuff like this. So I just found this one and wanted to share.

      http://www.joeld.net/snowcruiser/snowcruiser.html


      The original conception of the Snow Cruiser is most often credited to Dr. Thomas C. Poulter. Dr. Poulter served as second in command of Admiral Byrd's Antarctic Expedition II. During this expedition, Admiral Byrd nearly lost his life when he was isolated by the weather at the Advanced Base. It took three attempts for Dr. Poulter to rescue the Admiral due to the difficulty of traveling a mere 123 miles in the inhospitable conditions. This incident is believed to have been the spark that inspired Dr. Poulter to first visualize the Snow Cruiser.


      Idea to Design
      After returning from Antarctica Dr. Poulter took the position of scientific director of the Research Foundation of the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Poulter is said to have presented the idea for the Snow Cruiser to Harold Vagtborg, the Director Research Foundation and the rest of the staff of the Foundation. The Foundation elected to undertake design of the Snow Cruiser, and assigned it Project Number I-69. Under the direction of Dr. Poulter, the staff of the Research Foundation worked for approximately two years (1937 to 1939) on the design.


      Design to Reality
      In the spring of 1939 the Research Foundation learned that the government was considering appropriations for a possible Antarctic expedition. Mr. Vagtborg and Dr. Poulter presented the completed plans for the Snow Cruiser to the expedition officials in Washington on April 29, 1939. The officials were enthusiastic over the idea and it was agreed the Foundation would supervise the construction and finance the cost, estimated at $150,000. The Snow Cruiser would then be loaned to the U.S. Antarctic Service, who would defray the costs of operation and maintenance, and then return the Cruiser to the Foundation upon return of the expedition.


      Construction
      Work on the Snow Cruiser was begun on August 8, 1939 at the Pullman shops in Chicago Illinois. The Foundation had just eleven weeks to build, test and deliver the completed Snow Cruiser to Boston, Massachusetts where it would be loaded aboard ship for transport to Antarctica.


      Chicago to Boston
      On October 24, 1939 the nearly completed Snow Cruise began a 1021 mile trek to Boston. This trip would be the shakedown cruise as well as a race the reach Boston before the North Star sailed for the Antarctic. If the Cruiser did not arrive in time, she might be left behind. On November 12, the Snow Cruiser pulled alongside the North Star at Boston Army Wharf. To fit on the deck of the North Star, the Cruiser's tail section had to be temporarily removed. At high tide Dr. Poulter drove the Cruiser onto the North Star.


      Boston to Antarctica
      The North Star put out to sea on November 15, with the Snow Cruiser safely lashed to her deck. As she neared Antarctica, rough seas caused the Cruiser to shift during the night giving Dr. Poulter and the Snow Cruiser crew a bit of a scare. They tightened up the chains and the Cruiser was secure for the remainder of the trip. The North Star arrived in Antarctica on January 11 and began the search for a suitable place to unload the Cruiser.


      South to the Pole
      On January 12 the North Star anchored at the Bay of Whales. To unload the Snow Cruiser from the deck of the North Star, a large ramp was constructed of heavy timber. Unloading of the Snow Cruiser took place on January 15, with Dr. Poulter at the helm. Half way down the ramp the timbers began to break. Dr. Poulter quickly gave the Cruiser full throttle and she lurched from the ramp to the safety of the ice.


      On the Ice
      The Snow Cruiser failed to perform up to expectations. The tires sank deeply into the snow and spun too easily. In an attempt to improve the cruiser’s performance, the crew attached the two spare wheels and tires to the front front wheels, increasing the surface area of the tires by 50 percent. To improve traction, they installed chains on the smooth rear tires.

      the coolest part is the vid clips.

      http://www.joeld.net/snowcruiser/snowvids.html

      some more to the story

      http://antarcticsun.usap.gov/o....html


      The Antarctic Edsel
      The unsolved mystery of Byrd's doomed cruiser
      By Bob Hanes
      Special to the Sun
      In the fall of 1939 I was only 12 years old, but I vividly remember the "event of all events" that took place near my hometown of Lima, Ohio. One of the greatest explorers of all time, Admiral Richard Byrd, was leaving for Antarctica. Once there, he planned to use a newly-designed and -constructed "snow cruiser." Although Byrd himself wouldn't be in Lima, the snow cruiser would be coming past town, en route from Chicago to Boston, where Byrd's ship was waiting.

      Everyone in school was talking about the cruiser. Newspapers contained articles about the "coming spectacular." Life magazine carried details and drawings of the device. Even the newsreels at local theaters were publicizing the vehicle.

      The machine's magnificence lay in its size and technology. It carried a crew of seven, measured 55 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 12 feet high. It was powered by twin 150 horsepower engines, and tipped the scales at 37 tons. Each of the four wheels was 10 feet tall, weighed 700 pounds and was perfectly smooth and treadless.

      The cruiser was designed to cross crevasses up to 15 feet wide, by sliding its front wheels forward, crossing the gap, then retracting its back wheels. It could carry a ski-equipped biplane on top. It was to be the last word in polar transportation, with a price tag of $150,000--a lot of money in those days. One inspired writer described it as a "fantastic dream."

      I saved all the newspaper articles I could find on the subject, including the six pages from Life magazine. I couldn't wait to see it.

      But the cruiser's trip from Chicago to Boston was plagued with problems. In Columbia City, Indiana, a truck sideswiped it. In Ft. Wayne, Indiana, a fuel pump developed trouble. Then, within six miles of our town, the cruiser struck the corner of a bridge and plunged eight feet into a small creek. It was stuck in the creek for three days.

      During that period, an estimated 125,000 people went to view the "unstoppable machine." Route 30 was crowded with traffic jams for miles.

      For me, the big moment arrived when my parents fought their way through the traffic to the site. There it was! But what a sad sight. Helplessly stuck nose-down in the mud, the magnificent monster was fast becoming a national joke. When they finally got it back on the road, two new electric motors had to be installed. The trip to Boston took a total of 19 days.

      Once the cruiser arrived in Antarctica, it was based out of Little America, Byrd's station on the continent. But it was quickly discovered that the vehicle's smooth tires developed very little traction in the Antarctic snow. It took only a small amount of snow in front of each tire to stop the "unstoppable."

      Though two spare tires were mounted on the front axles to provide extra traction, nothing seemed to help. That's until someone discovered the vehicle operated better in reverse. The cruiser's longest venture was 92 miles--all driven backwards.

      Byrd's expedition extended into 1941, and with World War II pressing, Congress would not approve funding to continue. In May 1941 the group returned to the United States, its experiments terminated.

      What happened to the cruiser? It was left behind in Antarctica in an underground ice garage. In the late 1940s another expedition found the vehicle and discovered it needed only air in the tires and some servicing to make it operational. It was again rediscovered in 1962, still perfectly preserved.

      Where is Byrd's snow cruiser now? As of 1985 there has been speculation as to its whereabouts. Antarctic ice is in constant motion, and the ice shelf the cruiser was on is constantly moving out to sea. In the mid-1960s, a large chunk of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off and drifted away. The break occurred right through Little America. On which side of the break was the snow cruiser? No one seemed to know at the time.

      The end of this story is still uncertain. Either the vehicle is buried under many, many feet of ice--where it might possibly be discovered by future explorers. Or it could be resting on the bottom of the Southern Ocean.

      Whatever its fate, it was still a magnificent machine. But what a flop!


      http://www.sethwhite.org/old%20mcmurdo.htm


    2. 06-05-2006 01:30 AM #2
      Wow that thing is sweet.
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    3. Member Deflated_97's Avatar
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      06-05-2006 01:31 AM #3
      That is ridiculously awesome! It's so far-fetched, it's almost science fiction.

    4. Member Datic's Avatar
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      06-05-2006 01:38 AM #4
      AAAhh! How cool! The first (and only) time I have heard about this was in a recent Clive Cussler "Dirk Pitt" novel, the name of which escapes me.

    5. 06-05-2006 09:57 AM #5
      I would have thought they would have studied tracting more first

    6. Member Avus's Avatar
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      06-05-2006 10:03 AM #6
      when i see this thing... the first thing i am thinking of is that thing in Alien.
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      06-05-2006 10:35 AM #7
      no tread on the tires? i wonder how he expected this to work. and 300hp moving 37 tons? talk about under-kill.

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      06-05-2006 10:41 AM #8
      Quote, originally posted by Avus »
      when i see this thing... the first thing i am thinking of is that thing in Alien.

      x2

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      06-05-2006 11:03 AM #9
      Isn't there some sort of artic snow train that the army developed to use in Alaska? (similar, but slightly off topic...)

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      06-05-2006 11:32 AM #10
      wonder why they didn't use tank treds?

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      06-05-2006 11:39 AM #11
      Quote, originally posted by Datic »
      AAAhh! How cool! The first (and only) time I have heard about this was in a recent Clive Cussler "Dirk Pitt" novel, the name of which escapes me.

      Can't remeber the name either. Great books though. I've read close to every one.



    12. 06-05-2006 01:38 PM #13
      Iam glad you can use the search function. I however choose not too and its not like one more thread will kill TCL

    13. 06-05-2006 01:43 PM #14
      repost

    14. 06-05-2006 01:43 PM #15
      so who wants to come with me and find this thing?

      When we get back, we'll restore it and sell it at Barrett Jackson for 80,000,000,000 dollars.

      (and WTF is with the slicks?! I'm pretty sure that TREAD serves more than just an aesthetic purpose in snow...)


      Modified by rx7racr at 10:47 AM 6-5-2006


    15. 06-05-2006 01:46 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by konigwheels »
      no tread on the tires? i wonder how he expected this to work. and 300hp moving 37 tons? talk about under-kill.

      Yeah, they should have used a chipped 1.8T.


    16. 06-05-2006 01:48 PM #17
      Quote, originally posted by jayseal22 »
      Iam glad you can use the search function. I however choose not too and its not like one more thread will kill TCL

      Grumpy monkey. I posted those links because there is more information/history in there.


    17. Social Media Iron Man(and Administrator) jebglx's Avatar
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      06-05-2006 01:54 PM #18
      hahahahaha...i wanted to say "repost"

      but this thing is seriously cool! too bad it didn't work

      bill

      EDIT- my thread was back in 2003 ??


      Modified by jebglx at 1:55 PM 6-5-2006


    18. 06-05-2006 02:44 PM #19
      how about a cabby sea cruiser

    19. 06-05-2006 03:39 PM #20
      weird

      I hate when peopel say repost without seeing that others have already said it and responded


    20. 06-05-2006 03:42 PM #21
      and yes Iam not a grumph monkey. Iam a grumoapotomis

      ahhh land train



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      06-05-2006 07:38 PM #22
      We laugh now, but that is actually a well-disguised test mule for the top secret Hummer H1 replacement
      Some restrictions may apply. This post void where prohibited.

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      06-05-2006 08:14 PM #23
      love his books.

    23. Member PlatinumGLS's Avatar
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      06-05-2006 08:16 PM #24
      Awesome story. My favorite is what happened to it. Some day in the future I bet there will be an expidition to find this thing!!

      Quote »
      What happened to the cruiser? It was left behind in Antarctica in an underground ice garage. In the late 1940s another expedition found the vehicle and discovered it needed only air in the tires and some servicing to make it operational. It was again rediscovered in 1962, still perfectly preserved.

      Where is Byrd's snow cruiser now? As of 1985 there has been speculation as to its whereabouts. Antarctic ice is in constant motion, and the ice shelf the cruiser was on is constantly moving out to sea. In the mid-1960s, a large chunk of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off and drifted away. The break occurred right through Little America. On which side of the break was the snow cruiser? No one seemed to know at the time.

      The end of this story is still uncertain. Either the vehicle is buried under many, many feet of ice--where it might possibly be discovered by future explorers. Or it could be resting on the bottom of the Southern Ocean.

      Best image of the Snow Cruiser:


    24. Moderator Gary C's Avatar
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      06-05-2006 09:12 PM #25
      Quote, originally posted by jayseal22 »
      and yes Iam not a grumph monkey. Iam a grumoapotomis

      ahhh land train


      Random note. The tires used on that land train in Alaska wound up being used on bigfoot.. remember the horrendsly tall big foot? Yeah.. those tires came off a US army alaskan train.. just like THAT one pictured. Might even be that one for all I know. Totally random..but there you have it.

      make shiny.
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    25. 06-05-2006 09:43 PM #26

      Arctic Snow Train wagon from US army 1960's ? - by hwy north of Delta
      ( there were 8 wagons plus tractors at front and rear for winter travel - 572 ft long ! )




    26. Moderator Gary C's Avatar
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      06-05-2006 09:45 PM #27
      random note. I want one of those!!
      You wouldn't by chance happen to have any nfo on them would you? those are very intruiging!
      make shiny.
      If crazy paid the bills.. I'd be freaking rich.

    27. 06-05-2006 10:02 PM #28
      wtf are thoes 6-wheeled vehicles?

    28. 06-05-2006 10:13 PM #29
      Quote, originally posted by PlatinumGLS »

      That's so cool. I love vintage tech stuff.


    29. Member subgraphic's Avatar
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      06-06-2006 11:25 AM #30

      The tires were all bought by Bob Chandler, and went on to crush more than snow

      Have a on me...

    30. 06-08-2006 12:11 AM #31
      http://www.krug.com.by/work-archives-arctic_e.html

      those vehicles were made for the KRUG tv company outta russia. I think they are specfic to them.

      in other russian craziness. They see to have understood the game better.


      Russian South Pole Traverse

      The seismic traverse had originated at Komsomolskaya (335 miles north of Vostok) on 11/6/59, using five tractors and ten towed sledges for the first leg. The Vostok-South Pole trip, 800 miles each way, used 3 large tractors and 4 sledges. The first two vehicles seen here are heavy 35-ton Kharkovchanka ("snow tractor") machines. These were the second generation of Russian heavy traverse vehicles, designed for the annual inland station resupply trips. They had been delivered to Mirny and driven to Komsomolskaya the previous summer. Powered by 520-hp V-12 diesel engines, they were truly huge and heavy--14' wide and over 30' long. The cab could seat at least six people; the rear of the hermetically sealed body was divided into multiple compartments--perhaps a bunkroom for 10 people, along with galley, head, office and comms rooms. Below are two additional photos of #23, the second vehicle in the lineup above. The one at left was taken at the Malyshev factory in the Ukraine before shipment (source: the factory web site). The photograph at right was taken by Vladimir Evseev at Mirny in 1965. Source and credit: Russian "Antarctic Research and Investigation Program," http://south.aari.nw.ru/ (the photo pages are in this frame). Note the size of the vehicle relative to the man on the roof!

      After arriving at Vostok on 11/29, the equipment for the trip to Pole was selected and serviced. The 16-man team left Vostok on 12/8. They stopped for seismic readings every 125 miles and arrived at Pole on 12/26. In addition to the seismic work at Pole, they also drove their vehicles "around the world" (circling the ring of 55-gallon drums) in 15 minutes, for which they were given special certificates. The group departed on 12/29 and reached Vostok on 1/8, from where the party was flown out to Mirny.


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