• Chinese Rail Mobile ICBM

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by SemperFidelis
Reviving an idea that received some traction from the Cold War militaries of the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China is testing a rail mobile intercontinental ballistic missile system. The system is designed to operate along the standard and/or high speed rail systems of the People's Republic and, according to the following article, may be camouflaged to appear as either standard freight, passenger, or high speed passenger equipment.

http://www.realcleardefense.com/2016/01 ... 77636.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If made operable, this difficult to track system (when compared to fixed silos) will give the People's Republic a very important (speaking to matters both political and military) second strike capability that will enhance the nation's ability to maintain a force both credible and capable of nuclear deterance.

The nuclear forces of the People's Republic, though certainly large enough to cause planet-wide catastrophe and global economic ruin were they to be deployed, are rather few in number when compared to the unneccessarily vast arsenals of the United States and Russia, so I would doubt this system would lead to any great change in our force deployment or research efforts.

It is interesting to see once again, now in military matters, the difference in value placed upon the railroad by different cultures.
  by SemperFidelis
Sorry, I read the original article a few weeks ago and just got around to posting a version of it. I didn't realize that this version made much more mention of the aircraft carrier program than did the original article. I'll try to find the much more rail oriented, and much more detailed, original article tomorrow and post it.

My apologies.
  by SemperFidelis
Better version of article:

http://freebeacon.com/national-security ... lroad-car/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

American Cold War era system:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaceke ... l_Garrison" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Soviet Cold War era system:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RT-23_Molodets" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

American missile clearance test train:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minutem ... Test_Train" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by CJPat
I have always been curious if the rail-based ICBM concept was ever a real working system and not just a ploy like the Star Wars anti-missile program (notice that the rail based Peace Keeper "disappeared" about the time the Star Wars project was being recognized as not truly functional).

The idea of launching something with that much thrust from on top of/within a rail car while it is precariously balanced on a pair of rails that are only 4'-8.5" apart seems nearly impossible. Even truck launched missiles have outrigger systems to expand their base for stability. The last thing you want is the whole rail car waggling and possibly tipping over during a launch. Further, the heat generated would absolutely devastate the rail car and trackage (as well as adjacent cars).

My expectation is that the Peacekeeper System along with the Star Wars Systems were technologically impractical (at that point of history) but served a valid purpose of deception/bluff against the USSR in that it resulted in the USSR increasing their defense spending to try to duplicate or defeat our technology and ultimately led to their bankrupting themselves and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

Ultimately, I can't see how the rail car can serve as a stable enough launch base without adding quite a bit of mechanical structure that would make the rail car look different than all others (e.g. extendable outrigger legs) and hence defeat the "stealthy" perception of the rail car "disappearing" among other rail cars.
  by RailVet
To my knowledge the program was by no means just a ruse and plenty of money was being spent on seriously developing it. Some GP40s were purchased to pull the trains but never ended up being used for that purpose. I recall when the program was cancelled, too. The USSR had collapsed yet, like any government program, development and testing were still ongoing and the program needed another $30 million at that point to continue, although given the then-recent events, it was clear it was never going to be deployed. Congress said no, there's no point in spending the money for something that's not going to be deployed, so it was cancelled. At the time it was being developed by the Ballistic Missile Office at Norton AFB, CA, which has since closed. Since I was interested in rail I looked into the possibility of being assigned to the BMO when my current tour was done but I learned it was too late, and the project was ending.

Interestingly enough, the bases at which the missile trains were to be located were, if I'm not mistaken, mostly on the BNSF network, and the commander of the Strategic Air Command, General Jack Chain, retired and went to work for BNSF as executive VP for five years.

Here's more information on the system:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peacekeeper_Rail_Garrison" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;