A Different Kind of Pullman

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A Different Kind of Pullman
Posted by Miningman on Sunday, August 2, 2020 2:28 AM


Pullman Snow Cruiser 

 

 

 http://www.joeld.net/snowcruiser/Armour1.html

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, August 2, 2020 4:46 PM

Interesting stuff about "The Snow Cruiser," I've never heard of it.

Looking at the pictures I wondered how it was going to work on snow with those bald tires.  Long story short, it didn't.  It was a flop.  Oh well.

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Posted by Enzoamps on Sunday, August 2, 2020 4:52 PM

Of course, in the snow, they stop and put on chains.

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, August 2, 2020 6:46 PM

 

In motion:

Here is the apparatus visiting Ashtabula, Ohio, crossing the NYC main, on its trek toward Boston:

 Antarctic Snow Cruiser by Ashtabula Archive, on Flickr

Thank you, Ed

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, August 2, 2020 7:58 PM

I clicked on the video gmpullman linked, and after it was over another another Snow Cruiser video popped up, narrated by a young man with a charming Scottish accent!

AND it's got film of the Snow Cruiser in action!

Oh, guess what?  They did try tire chains.  Anyone remember those things?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR0M7KjnJTE  

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, August 2, 2020 8:13 PM

Most trucks still carry chains around here.  Same for any vehicle in the oilfield or related industries, where mud and deep snow can be encountered at any time of the year. 

We have a version of the Russian 'Rasputitsa' (mud season) here, referred to as "spring breakup" in the oilfield.  Vehicle weights are limited on many public roads and travel on the predominantly dirt oilfield access trails (it's a bit charitable to call them roads) becomes difficult if not impossible.

The Snowcruiser's dimensions would seem to make it quite the 'bumper scraper' at the bottom of hills.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, August 3, 2020 3:08 AM
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, August 3, 2020 9:55 AM

I'm surprised the men who designed the snow cruiser didn't remember the French Saint Chamond tank from the First World War, and how its overhanging front kept digging into uneven ground, to say nothing of it being a lousy trench crosser.  They were certainly old enough to remember the war, possibly some were veterans of the same. 

Maybe they never heard of it.  Who knows?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Chamond_(tank)#/media/File:Char_St_Chamond_tank.jpg  

Here's the whole story.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Chamond_(tank) 

And here's a video of the last one in existance, restored by the Armor Museum in Saumur, France.  May not have been practical in the trenches (it came into it's own in open-country warfare) but it sure is cool!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jkYUUGK09I  

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, August 3, 2020 5:17 PM

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, August 3, 2020 5:21 PM

That video I posted mentioned a pre-war German presense in the Antarctic.  This one expounds on it a bit, with some "fun stuff" thrown in. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs0ZaCQrScc  

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, August 3, 2020 9:56 PM

Flintlock76
I'm surprised the men who designed the snow cruiser didn't remember the French Saint Chamond tank from the First World War, and how its overhanging front kept digging into uneven ground, to say nothing of it being a lousy trench crosser.  They were certainly old enough to remember the war, possibly some were veterans of the same. 

The snow buggy wasn't designed to cross shallow trenches.  It was designed to cross glacial crevasses which could be hundreds of feet deep, and are often hidden bneath snow bridges.  If the nose went into the crevasse, rather than resting on the other side, it would be all over.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, August 3, 2020 10:04 PM

That may be, but it never made it that far.  

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 6:07 AM

MidlandMike
 
Flintlock76
I'm surprised the men who designed the snow cruiser didn't remember the French Saint Chamond tank from the First World War, and how its overhanging front kept digging into uneven ground, to say nothing of it being a lousy trench crosser.

The snow buggy wasn't designed to cross shallow trenches.  It was designed to cross glacial crevasses which could be hundreds of feet deep, and are often hidden beneath snow bridges.  If the nose went into the crevasse, rather than resting on the other side, it would be all over.

The assumptions are carefully laid out in the contemporary description.  Previous experience in the Antarctic indicated that crevasses wider than 15' did not snow-bridge but showed as open cracks and could be avoided.  Hence the "safe" margin of over 2' in the approach and departure 'aprons' and the ability to retract wheels to facilitate sliding.

They would have known by the time they recovered from the bridge 'incident' that they were unlikely to have tire traction for a single pair to push the machine across -- but the method for winching, though a bit tedious, would have worked about as well as it does for mudding -- perfectly well enough for the scow-like resistance of the thing with wheels correctly poised and motors assisting.

I confess I can't figure out why at least a set of grousers wasn't provided.  These would have provided 'bite-in' treads and lower ground contact pressure and could in theory have been laterally adjustable and given screw-in spikes.  A better 'solution' would be a proper Christie-like light tread, perhaps on the 'extended' outboard duals as tried, with a set of outboard hydraulically-operated roadwheels, as a 'step up' from their converted tractors -- which I think is the thing they should have adopted if they wanted roadwheel speed too as an option.  Not that it would have been any better.

The expedient thing that probably doomed the thing was the expedient tire sourcing.  To beat the Nazis 'speed was of the essence' and so they conveniently reused the molds and tooling for the Gulf marsh buggy of a couple of years earlier

https://www.macsmotorcitygarage.com/strange-cargo-the-1936-gulf-marsh-buggy/

upsizing the number of plies to make the carcass better cold-tolerant... and not necessary to float.  Even then perhaps some sockets for studs or cleats could have been provided... of course the real problem they had, as with those YouTube videos of people driving on ice, is if you get uphill and then have gravity accelerating you instead of Cummins power Surprise 

Perhaps the strangest thing is why they did not simply revise the undercariage with bogie units that mounted in place of wheels.  I could have bought those as a commercial item to fit my 4wd diesel Suburban in the mid-90s, and made it as useful as a Sno-Cat while retaining the option to convert back to roadgoing if desired...

I look at the pictures of bridge and other clearance, 'read between the lines' in the account of the bridge accident, and ask what idiot puts his fragile wheel-motor transmission to be lateral bumpers???  When the Russians built Antarctic tractors they put their transmissions carefully, and well advisedly, high and inboard...

Can't fault the power at all, except there's woefully little of it relatively speaking.  I wonder if Standard of Indiana dusted off the special fluid formulations when we started building and running BMEWS a few years later... they'd have been highly useful.

Meanwhile there has been no discussion of what was, with the Cummins engines, the best detail of this doomed turkey.  I have been a respectful lover of Staggerwings for over 40 years, since they were eloquently described in, of all places, Playboy Magazine.  I suppose I've always wanted one in the same sense I wanted a Bucciali or a Gar Woo hydroplane, better in the anticipation than the experience, but it was still a thrill to see it pictured there (I was assuming they'd use an 18 for the engine redundancy) and I wonder if the aircraft survives somewhere

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 9:27 AM

Mod-man, if you love the Beech "Staggerwing" you'll love this, Stags and quite a few other lovely machines!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHWiNyoLMoE  

I got "up-close-and-personal" with a Staggerwing at an airshow in Frederickburg VA about 20 years ago.  It was like a limo in there!  Didn't get to fly in it though.

I'd like to know what happened to the Antarctic "Stag,"  I doubt it was abandoned, it would have been easy enough to remove it when the expidition was concluded.

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 8:12 PM

 

Al Wade, the geologist, at the controls of the Snow Cruiser
 
and working on something with Admiral Byrd 

 A different kind of look at it all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MqBLJaehh8

 

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