Which came first, the wild fowl or the
by Bob Mintz
of the more novel items of the postwar cold war period
was the #3665 Minuteman missile launching car. On December
19, 1986, the White House announced President Reaganís
approval to develop a rail garrison system for basing
part of the Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
(ICBM) force. To increase survivability of this force,
50 Peacekeepers would be deployed in existing Minuteman
silos and 50 more would be mounted on 25 USAF trains,
two per train. Each train would consist of two locomotives,
two security cars, two missile launch cars housing the
missiles, one launch control car, one fuel car, and one
maintenance car. Each launch car carried one Peacekeeper
ICBM, in a launch tube which could be elevated to fire
the missile from the bed of the car. The trains would
be parked in shelters located on USAF Strategic Air Command
bases throughout the continental U.S., with the missiles
on continuous alert. When necessary, the trains could
be dispersed onto the nationís rail network, making it
extremely difficult for an enemy to target and destroy
them. Development of the rail garrison deployment system
was terminated in 1991 as Cold War tensions eased.
contractors for the rail garrison system were Boeing Aerospace
Corp., Westinghouse Marine Division, and Rockwell International
Autonetics. Overall body length of the launch car is 87
feet. Fully loaded, it would weigh more than 520,000 pounds.
This prototype launch car was delivered to the Air Force
Museum in 1994.
The next item in question is the new Lionel
Hobby Shop. I first saw this at the 2000
Toy Fair here in New York City. I really
appreciated the three small operating train
displays within the store. But wait, for
Christmas I received a licensed Lionel item,
the key-chain, which for all practical purposes,
wouldnít fit in my, nor anyone elseís pocket.
I was examining the Santa Fe train in it
and couldnít help but wonder, was this the
vision for those three train layouts in
the Hobbyshop? An inquiry about this to
Julie Laird, Lionelís Communications Director,
resulted in a Cheshire cat smile.
on the thumbnail images below to enlarge.