It seems appropriate that the Space Age and the Railroad Age connect at Promontory, Utah, where the Golden Spike was driven in 1869 to complete the first transcontinental railroad. For over three decades, the solid rocket motors that have boosted the Space Shuttle and other American endeavors into outer space have been built at the ATK plant in Promontory and shipped by rail to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Cape Canaveral.
The Shuttle booster sections, which traveled the route from 1981-2010, were each 12' wide and weighed 150 tons, half again the capacity of a typical freight car. Thus the dedicated trains assigned to this route consist of 4-truck heavy-duty flat cars with large steel covers for both protection and secrecy; each fully loaded car weighs over 250 tons. Often bringing up the rear is a retired Southern passenger car housing ATK and NASA engineers, keeping watch on what is essentially a load of 4-5 million pounds of explosives. On their way from the Southwest to the Southeast, the rocket trains travel over Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, CSX and Florida East Coast rails before finishing their trip behind NASA's own SW1500 switchers (which have also been offered as M.T.H. models). After being fished out of the Atlantic Ocean, the spent boosters travel the same route back to ATK for refueling.
Our Premier six-car Solid Rocket Transport train includes five authentic 47' TTX heavy-duty flat cars with removable covers that reveal a five-piece rocket model. When assembled, the rocket measures 30 3/4" in height or nearly 123 scale feet! The Southern personnel car is also available as an add-on item.