As a follow-on to my physical Hell planet I am having a great deal of trouble deciding which sort of locomotion people would use when they are not in airships or on the train. People need to get around, at least from the train stations to mining sites or energy farms. By getting around, I mean for routine travel. They have slow moving tractors for plowing and construction, but to just travel between small towns or between towns and work sites, they need something equivalent to a carriage or a car, with luggage space and good speeds over land. Tractors are slow, airships too cumbersome, and trains only go where the tracks are, and on their own schedule. Another mode of locomotion needs to serve individual needs.
Well, it's 420°C outside. That pretty much sums up all the challenges.
- They have petroleum but asphalt would just be glue. There really can't be paved roads. I'm pretty sure trying to mix cement with water (which you have to make) just isn't going to work. I'm resigned to cleared gravel roads.
- They don't have any fictitious materials for tires, so if they use wheels it will likely be a rough ride at any reasonable speed. No woods, rubbers, or petroleum derivative will deal with these conditions.
- Petroleum based lubricants will be useless in bearings, I think axles will be more maintenance than they are worth. Trains work around this with large reserves of high-temperature grease that feeds into the bearings from inside. It doesn't scale down well.
- I had considered skids or skis, and these would wear out quickly so they better be cheap.
- There are no internal combustion engines because you have to make oxygen. So it's all condensation cycle steam power. That means the engines stay outside any vehicle. For the reasons above, these engines are on legs and gyro-stabilized. They call them horses. Being outside, they can get as hot as they need to operate efficiently without battling the air conditioning needed for the carriage. So, essentially I am looking for a type of Hell carriage to pull behind mechanical horses. The issue only lies in the mode of carriage.
The society has developed very good insulation materials and has efficient chillers to move heat out of cab spaces. All that is needed is the best traction method to carry the passengers, luggage, and fuel on personal trips or small loads.