This is coolbert:
[this blog entry is borderline germane. Since it concerns measures taken to protect the American Commander-in-Chief in time of war, it is suitable!]
This entry from the wiki entry on armored trains catches my attention instantly:
"One armoured train that remains in regular use is the private train of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, which the former received as a gift from the Soviet Union."
"Konstantin Pulikovsky, a former Russian presidential envoy who wrote a book, "The Orient Express," about Kim's train trip through Russia in July and August 2001 . . . Kim's 16-car private train was stocked with crates of French wine. Live lobsters were delivered in advance to stations, and gourmet feasts were eaten with silver chopsticks"
I remember this particular "state visit" of Kim to Moscow very well. It did create a minor stir. The leisurely pace of the trip [train only moved during the day?] across Siberia was a puzzle to some. Let me suggest that it was not because the man [Kim] is afraid of the dark! The manner of movement was strictly for security reasons. Much to difficult during hours of darkness to detect and counter saboteurs that might want to kill Kim!
Security measures for Kim to include:
* "Extra locomotives drove in front of the North Korean leader, in case the track was mined."
* Ninety five  Russian and Korean snipers and bodyguards.
KIM THE ELDER [WHEN HE WAS ALIVE] AND KIM THE YOUNGER TRAVEL BY ARMORED TRAIN NOT BECAUSE OF A FEAR OF FLYING OR A FEAR OF HEIGHTS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT!! THEY ARE AFRAID OF ASSASSINATION BY THEIR OWN PEOPLE, PLAIN, PURE, AND SIMPLE!! Easier to secure the very person of Kim when he is in the armored train?
Kim was undoubtedly accompanied by a large entourage. That sixteen-car private train also provided accommodations for all the cooks, valets, secretaries, menials, lick-spittle fawning toadies, degenerates, bodyguards, and mistresses that Kim surrounds himself with!! A totally self-contained moving armored cocoon containing an entire governmental apparatus!!
President Franklin Roosevelt too traveled extensively by an armored train.
This was the Ferdinand Magellan. NO Virgina, we are not talking about the famous explorer. We are speaking about a Pullman sleeping car, built originally for use by President Franklin Roosevelt.
An armored railway car built exclusively for the use of President Roosevelt. Roosevelt as we all know, was handicapped severely, could not walk, and was confined to a wheelchair. HAD TO LIFTED IN AND OUT OF BED EVERY DAY BY HIS PERSONAL AIDE.
ALSO AS PRESIDENT, ROOSEVELT WAS VERY DESIROUS TO HIDE THIS HANDICAP OF HIS FROM THE GENERAL PUBLIC. WENT TO THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY LENGTHS TO DO SO. BY MODERN STANDARDS, ABSURD EXCESSES TO ACCOMMODATE THE PRESIDENT AND TO SHIELD HIS CONDITION FROM THE AVERAGE-EVERYDAY-MAN-IN-THE-STREET WERE TAKEN, ALL WITH THE FULL KNOWLEDGE AN CONNIVANCE OF THE PRESS.
IN A WAY THAT WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED, TOLERATED, OR CONDONED TODAY!!
"The Ferdinand Magellan (also known as U.S. Car. No. 1) is a former Pullman Company observation car which served as Presidential Rail Car, U.S. Number 1 from 1943 until 1958."
"President Franklin D. Roosevelt needed a specially equipped and armored car rather than using standard equipment provided by the Pullman Company"
"When the Ferdinand Magellan was rebuilt, the original six bedrooms in the car were reduced to four, and the dining room and observation lounge were enlarged"
Reducing the number of rooms was in all likelihood a measure taken to allow a wheelchair bound man to move himself around the rail car without impediment. All the facilities, aisles, rooms, washrooms had to be specially made for handicapped accessibility. And this AT A TIME WHEN ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE HANDICAPPED WAS A BLIP ON THE RADAR SCREEN OF SOCIETAL CONCERNS!!
An armored Pullman railway car, sturdily built and reinforced, and done so in an unobtrusive manner. Armor and additional accoutrement's to include:
* The car was protected with 5/8" (15 mm) armor plate on the sides, top, bottom and ends.
* The windows were replaced with sealed three inch (76.2 mm) thick 12-ply laminated bullet resistant glass. [As the windows were sealed, the car was air conditioned].
* bank vault style doors at the rear entrance to the car,
* two escape hatches . . . for emergency egress,
* exterior loudspeakers for public addresses,
* a telephone in every room that could be connected to a train side telephone outlet provided by the local telephone company
* a custom built wheel-chair elevator that could lift Roosevelt from ground level up to the rear platform of the car.
That custom built wheel-chair elevator WOULD NEVER BE USED IN VIEW OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC. The elevator used only when the Ferdinand Magellan was in a closed location, secure from public viewing!
"The Ferdinand Magellan traveled at the end of a special train that included Pullman sleeping cars for staff, baggage cars and a communications car operated by the Army Signal Corps."
And: "The Ferdinand Magellan was preceded by a pilot train running one mile ahead to scout any danger to the presidential party along the route. At FDR's request, the engineer rarely exceeded thirty miles an hour . . . he [Roosevelt] could not brace his feet, and at faster speeds, [greater than thirty miles an hour] the swaying of the train pained his thin buttocks.
Plus when traveling from one destination to another via Ferdinand Magellan, the entire track for a distance of say seven hundred miles [the distance between Warm Springs, Georgia and Washington D.C.] would cleared of all other train traffic, the Presidential train of course getting a "go" signal to proceed without impediment!!
I know that positions of power such as the Presidency have their perks of a marked nature. Sometimes, however, things get carried away and go overboard? I guess that when you are protecting the man who has his finger on the nuclear trigger, you cannot do enough?