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If A SWAT Team Needed A Truck That Was Also A Train It Would Look Like This

Illustration for article titled If A SWAT Team Needed A Truck That Was Also A Train It Would Look Like This
Screenshot: Proxibid
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

America’s public transit infrastructure may not be as lauded as Europe’s or Japan’s, but this country still has a vast and wide-spread railway system. That system requires protection, which apparently might sometimes include a rail-truck like this full of skull-cracking law enforcers.

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This 2006 International medium-sized cargo truck, built out for tactical operations on railways, is the first of such things I’ve ever seen but, dang, it’s pretty cool.

A Jalopnik reader found it for sale at a surplus auction, and as of the time of publication the high bid is $950.

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My cursory research didn’t yield anything about this vehicle specifically, and the auction listing is comically vague. But flipping through the pictures, it’s pretty clear that the truck is set up to carry a large group of people over train tracks and quickly deploy them into a likely hazardous situation.

There’s some kind of crane mechanism, armoring, and big benches that a team could easily get off from. I can’t make out any markings on the truck so I can’t tell what organization it belonged to, but, I can tell you that both private rail companies and government agencies employ pretty serious security forces to keep the peace on America’s railroads.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of that, The Railroad Police website has some pretty interesting old photos and info from the days of horses and single-shot rifles to modern mechanization.

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Anyway, on to the important stuff: who’s going to buy this and take “tacticool overlanding” to a whole new level?

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Hat tip to Todd!

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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DISCUSSION

I don’t exactly doubt that it’s real - it looks like a Los Angeles Metro logo on the back, and they might have tried a truck like this. I’d guess that it’s designed to be a support unit if there was ever an incident in the subway.

Based on the armor (or lack thereof), I’d guess the idea was that the truck was supposed to come in backwards, with the load of officers sitting on the benches. The floor of the truck would be level with the subway platform, since there’s not ladders or handrails for people to climb down off of this thing. (These suckers are tall to begin with. When in rail mode, on the rail wheels, they’re even taller.)

I’m not sure if the crane was part of the tactical plan, or just one of those things that usually comes standard on one of those trucks. (For normal railroad use, a crane like that its fairly standard. You’re not going to load the truck by hand.) I suppose you could put a bomb squad robot on there with the crane if you wanted to.


I can see a few reasons why it’s a good idea on paper, but a bad idea in practice. Say that there’s a situation at an underground subway station - the station is shut down, and so is passing train traffic. The problem is, all the trains stop where they are in the tunnels. To get to the station by rail requires emptying out one of the tunnels, and moving all the trains. It’s not usual to run the trains backwards. It’s not that the trains themselves can’t do it, but most of the signals might be set up to run one direction, all the door controls are set up to be on the wrong side of the train, etc. etc. (For example, the cab is usually on the platform side going forward - the right side. Going backwards, the cab at the rear is now on the left side.) You can do it, but it will take time to empty the tunnel. Time isn’t always something that a SWAT team has. Once this truck shows up, anyone in the station is going to know it. Tunnels echo, and the diesel engine in the truck isn’t exactly quiet. If you were trying to get a team into the tunnel quietly, you’d be better off just having them go down the existing stairs at the next station and walk down the tracks through the tunnel.

TL;DR - Tacticool, but not practical.