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piggyback flat cars

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piggyback flat cars
Posted by kvrhobo on Sunday, December 18, 2011 11:13 AM

My HO layout is set in the late 50s and early 60s so piggy back flat cars are on the roster. I use a variety of 50 foot cars which I decal in C.P.R. block lettering. I modify the car by adding guide rails down the length of the car on eihter side. But, I haven't found any 5th wheel kits for securing the trailer to the deck. I've been in the hobby since 1961 so there are always bits and pieces in my scrapbox. One day when i was looking for something else I noticed a number of surplus KD draft boxes I had and the idea hit. The height of the box is almost the perfect height of the 5th wheel stand and with a little modification it looks very  much like the real thing. A piece of styrene cut to length makes a perfect angled brace. For the actual hitch on the top, I take another box and cut and file it to the shape of the actual hitch and glue it to the top of upright section. The centre hole on this piece perfectly accommodates the little pin found on the underside of most model trailers.

Now I have a reasonable looking hitch that actually holds the trailers in place. Model Railroading is fun.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, December 18, 2011 11:28 AM

That's the spirit! If you don't have it, build it.

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, December 18, 2011 12:10 PM

kvrhobo

But, I haven't found any 5th wheel kits for securing the trailer to the deck.

Well, that depends what you're looking for.  Details West has available several different types of 5th wheel hitches:

http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/235-1004

http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/235-1007

http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/235-1008

You can also find suitable hitches that folks have left over from their modelling.  I recently sold some of the original hitches that came with Walthers flatcar kits to another forum member.  These were the early style that looked more like a plate on two pogo sticks.  That kit also had reasonable replicas of the more modern supports which I have in my spare parts box waiting for a good home.  I'm sure other modellers have similar unused items if you search for them.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 18, 2011 6:47 PM

I have a related question. I hope the OP doesn't mind me horning in on his thread.

I have several Athearn Canadian Pacific piggy back cars with trailers. There are no hitches on these cars. The retractable wheels and the rear wheels simply sit in cradles. Is this correct or are they missing hitches?

Thanks

Dave

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Posted by Paul3 on Sunday, December 18, 2011 7:12 PM

Correct?  No.  Will they stay on the flat car?  Generally, yes.

In the "olden days" before the 5th wheel ACF hitch, trailers were held on flat cars with screw jacks, chocks, blocks of wood, steel plates, and chains.

After "landing" the trailer on the flat car (putting the landing gear on U-shaped metal plates to prevent damage to the wood deck), the workers would then chock the wheels with 4 chocks.  Then a pair of screw jacks would be positioned under both ends of the trailer and a wooden beam placed on top of them.  The screw jacks would then be jacked to take the weight off both the landing gear and the rubber wheels.  At this point, they would then attach chains to the underframe of the trailer to hardpoints on the flat car.  These chains had special "come along"-type tighteners that were used to snug up the chains.

The Athearn twin 50' TOFC is roughly like this idea, which started and was patented by the CGW in 1937.  The New Haven paid for this idea and used it shortly thereafter.  I don't know for certain if the CP ever transported TOFC's before the ACF hitch, but they probably did.  Therefore, the cars might be sorta close.

If you want to make them more "realistic", you'd need to add 4 jacks and 4 chains.  The chocks are sort of molded in place.

Paul A. Cutler III

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, December 18, 2011 7:21 PM

In some cases I can remember when I saw trailers being loaded the wheel chocks were secured in place with large long screws. I didn't have much of an idea what they were doing as I was only five at the time.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 18, 2011 7:33 PM

Thanks Paul and Jeffery

Since I am modeling in the late 50's would the flat cars have been converted to the hitch style by then?

Dave

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:05 PM

The ones I remember seeing were not hitch style and that was the mid 60's.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:29 PM

Paul and Jeffery

Are these the type of screw jack they would have used?

http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/229-7102

If not, can you describe or show a picture of what they used. The screw jack in the Walthers listing doesn't seem to have a large enough base to have been very stable IMHO.

This is turning into a very interesting detailing project!

Dave

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:35 PM

I have no idea. That was a very long time ago and I was very young then.

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Posted by chutton01 on Sunday, December 18, 2011 10:15 PM

Maybe these pictures may help.PiggyBack - A Service to Meet Competition

I always found the combination of struts, screw-jacks, chains, winches etc needed by early 'Piggyback' equipement to be fascinating - and can see why, with all the labor required to set that up, that railroads offering intermodal switched to 5th wheel hitches as soon as feasible. Imagine this requiring that screw/chain set-up, not so fast loading in that case.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, December 18, 2011 10:20 PM

The earliest reference to the "ACF Hitch" in Trains Magazine is in the June 1960 issue. It is refered to as the "overwelming favorite of all tiedowns".    I have not found any info on when it was developed or how long it had been in use, but I can't see the hitch in any of the photos in a May 1960 article.  From articles in Trains I get the impression appears that chain tiedowns were still common in the early 1960's.

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 18, 2011 11:06 PM

chutton01

Thanks very much for the pictures. Clearly the jacks are purpose built and the cross bracing between the jacks answers my concerns about the stability of the jack system. I also note in the pictures that the chain tie downs seem to have a spring loaded shock absorbing system built into them. Another interesting detail.

Does anyone know if models of the piggy back trailer jacks or spring shock absorbers are available?

Dave

 

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Posted by Grampys Trains on Sunday, December 18, 2011 11:34 PM

According to "Keystone Crossings", the ACF Model A hitch was released in 1956.

My crews are very happy to have them on my F30d's. DJ.

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Posted by kvrhobo on Monday, December 19, 2011 8:14 AM

When I posted my tip on building piggy back trailer hitches I should have been more specific. The hitch I model is that built by American Car and Foundry. Pictures and diagrams of it can be found on pages 136 and 137 of the Car Builders Cyclopedia, 20th Edition. It was retractable and could be raised or lowered with a mechanical wrench by one person in about three minutes. I should also have mentioned that the cars I build also have retractable off-set ramps on either end of the car (the ramp is on the right side of the car as you view it end on). When lowered these ramps permitted driving the trailers over the gaps between the cars or between the car and the loading dock.

Not to take any business away from any manufacturer who provides models of the hitch, but the method described is a fun project, that doesn't take long, costs very little and adds significantly to both the look of the car and its functionality. With the guard rails on the sides holding the wheels in place and with the trailer's king-pin in the hitch, it is extremely unlikely that any of your trailers are going to "join the birds."

I should add that there were other varities of hitches...some railroads built their own. And there were methods other than hitches that were used, especially in the early days of piggy backing. Those who want to be faithful to the practices of any particular prototype road will have some research to do.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Monday, December 19, 2011 8:30 AM

That over-grown forklift sure makes the job of loading a trailer look easy. I wondered just how they did that. Not having a loading/unloading point close at hand has it's disadvantages.

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Posted by maxman on Monday, December 19, 2011 11:33 AM

hon30critter

Does anyone know if models of the piggy back trailer jacks or spring shock absorbers are available?

As I tried to mention above, those jacks were included on the part spue for some model kits Walthers made for their GSC flatcars.  Those kits could be built as a straight flat, as a bulkhead flat, or a trailer on flat model.  The part sprues had the necessary parts for the bulkheads, the hitches, and end of car bridge plates.  They also had parts included for the later style, probably similar to ACF style, hitches.

I don't know of anyone who makes the early style hitches as an after-market part.  You would also be on your own for the spring shock absorbers.

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Posted by chutton01 on Monday, December 19, 2011 10:47 PM

maxman

 hon30critter:

Does anyone know if models of the piggy back trailer jacks or spring shock absorbers are available?

 

As I tried to mention above, those jacks were included on the part spue for some model kits Walthers made for their GSC flatcars. 

So that's what you meant by plate on pogo sticks. I owned a Walthers GSC flatcar (the bulkhead pieces from the kit still inhabit my scrapbox, although I can't figure where the actual flatcar is), and I thought (but wasn't sure)  that the kit did come with the old style CGW-patented jacks/chains/chocks trailer tie-down method - seriously, it was patented by the CGW and licensed by New Haven until the advent of the ACF hitch. (from that link to the C&NW historical society
   CGW Piggy-Back Patent - Howard B. Atherton
   CGW Piggy-Back Patent Apparatus Sheet 1 Drawing 1936 - Howard B. Atherton
   CGW Piggy-Back Patent Apparatus Sheet 2 Drawing 1936 - Howard B. Atherton

I know people have modeled that style of TOFC tie-down before, but of course I can't remember which magazines/issues. If you're modeling the mid-late 1950s, then maybe one or two trailers w/ such tie-downs (out of dozens with ACF hitches) would be cool. Thinking about it, it's not that hard - some rod and strip styrene for the jacks, chunky strip tapered down for the wheel chocks, some fine chain to the jacks and the trailer corners to the flatcar sidewalls (eyebolts?), maybe an old tightly coiled pen spring (not the more common loose spring) for the jack front supports, paint and weather and there you go - nice looking old-school patented! TOFC.

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 1:38 AM

MR's "How to model Railroads of the 1950s" has, amongst other goodies,  an article by Bill Darnaby on TOFC equipment.

Cheers, The Bear.

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Posted by SMassey on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 12:17 PM

Kalmbach has a book about intermodal shipments and it covers equipment and processes from the 50's when things were getting started to the creation of today's containers by Sealand (at least I believe it was Sealand that invented them).  It also talks a little about the development of the double stack trains and how trucks move the containers as well.  Good book all and all.

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 6:52 PM

chutton01

Your scratch building ideas are very close to what I am thinking. I might try a shortened KaDee coupler spring.

I am feeling a bit guilty here because I seem to have caused the thread to drift away from the OP's original topic. If the OP is still following the thread might I suggest that he post pictures of the scratch built hitch posts? If the OP doesn't understand how to post pictures, here is a detailed explanation:

http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/p/181001/1981556.aspx#1981556

Dave

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Posted by Paul3 on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 1:04 PM

hon30critter,
Would the ACF hitch have replaced the jacks and chains in the late 1950's?  Yes and no (depending on RR).  Older TOFC RR's were slow to change their own equipment to the ACF hitch.  Newer TOFC RR's were quicker to change over because they had fewer cars or were buying new ones with the ACF hitch already installed.  Also, the older RR's sometimes were betting on some technology that became dead ends, like the NH's Clejan cars (also used on the NKP, IIRC).  The NH's Clejan cars were built in 1956, IIRC, and they ran for several years on the NH (and they never got AF hitches).  So, it's safe to say that the late 1950's would have seen several kinds of trailer tie-downs running at the same time or even on the same train.  It took until the 1960's for the ACF hitch to completely replace all other kinds of tie downs.  For example, the NH did not convert to ACF hitches until the arrival of it's fleet of G-85 flats in the mid-1960's.

That screw jack that you showed ( http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/229-7102 ) is exactly like the ones used on the NH's own TOFC fleet from 1937 until the 1960's.  They used a pair of these, fore and aft, on each trailer with a wooden beam (4x4 or 6x6?) laid across the tops of them.  The beam was perpendicular to the trailer.  It's lack of stability was more than made up for by the 4 tie down chains with tightening hardware.

The tie down method shown in the NKP link shows a completely different kind of tie down compared to the CGW & NH method.  Note the spring loaded chains and permanently mounted jack stands as well as the custom chain tie downs to the rub rails, which seem to have tracks on them.  The CGW & NH method had solid, unsprung chains mounted to eyebolts in the floor located towards the center of the car while the jack stands were moveable and individual.

I have some NH pics at home showing what they did.  I'll have to upload them later if I can remember to do so.  The CGW & NH-type tie downs are, IMHO, an easier thing to model due to the lack of special hardware required.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 10:03 PM

Thanks Paul.

I will have to do some research to see what Canadian Pacific was using.

Dave

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Posted by Paul3 on Thursday, December 22, 2011 12:35 AM

Dave,
Here, take a look at these photos I just posted on FB:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.195625593863322.45767.100002476473263&type=1&l=b78af36b8f

You should be able to see them even if you are not signed up on FB.

Pics 1 & 2 show in-transit pics of NH TOFC's.  Note the position of the jacks and chains.
Pics 3 & 4 show scanned drawings from the NH TOFC's from the early- to mid-1950's and beyond.
Pics 5 & 6 show close up drawings scanned from a larger NH TOFC document of a later flat car, showing the tie down hardware.
Pics 7 & 8 shows the detail drawings of the jack stands from the same drawing.
Pic 9 shows the NH TOFC as it was when unloaded and waiting for trailers in South Boston.
Pic 10 shows the NH TOFC facility track plan at South Boston.

I hope this helps you out.

Paul A. Cutler III

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Posted by chutton01 on Thursday, December 22, 2011 10:49 AM

Paul3

Those drawings are interesting - and since the New Haven used the CGW 'patented' TOFC tie-down system, those drawings must be showing that method (I couldn't find any patent numbers on the drawings, too bad, could have checked the original patents on File with the USPO). So this method seems to be basically jack the trailer completely off the deck (wheels and landing gear), and chain everything down so it doesn't shift - the Nickle plate method was jack the landing gear (trailer nose) up off the deck, leave the trailer wheels on the deck chocked (so the trailer suspension is used to support the trailer in transit) and of course chain everything down so it doesn't shift. And yet just a few years later, the method would be lock the trailer king-pin in a 5th wheel (ACF-style) hitch, leave the trailer wheels on the deck, don't bother chaining things down (maybe the flat-car's deck rub-rails helped secure the trailer somewhat from shifting laterally?)  - thus positioning the trailer as it would be traveling on the road (except here the trailer is stationary on the deck, and the road is moving).
I wonder if in the TOFC 'transition' years there were more unbalanced trailers tipping off ACF hitch flat-cars than with the jack/chain tie-down method flat-cars (on a percentage basis of course - there probably was a lot more TOFC traffic secured using the hitch rather than jack/chain by 1960).

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Posted by Paul3 on Thursday, December 22, 2011 2:33 PM

chutton01,
I don't think the CGW & NH method really lifted the wheels or the landing gear off the deck of the flatcar.  A major concern in the era (1937 to 1960) was that either the landing gear could collapse or that the tires could pop in railroad use.  The idea of the jacks was to reinforce the landing gear and to lift the weight off the suspension of the wheels.  This way the trailers could not bounce around and damage the landing gear or pop a tire.  If you note, the drawings show both U-shaped plates under the landing gear and wood chocks around the tires.  If the trailers were jacked completely off the deck, then these pieces would be useless.

Trailers in this era did not have very strong landing gear.  It's all very delicate looking compared to today's trailers.  Also, the tires weren't exactly steel belted versions, either.

In the original days of the ACF hitch, there was a chain tie-down added to the rear of the trailers.  The thinking is that it would prevent a trailer from bouncing and shifting off the side of the flat car.  Eventually, this chain was determined to be an unneeded expense.  I have heard that shifting trailers have caused some accidents over the years, but it's pretty rare.

The tie down used by the CGW was proven to keep the trailer in place no matter the circumstance.  After being in use a year or so, the CGW had a terrible head on wreck with some TOFC's in the consist.  Even though the trailer's nose was completely blown out by the load in the trailer shifting forward in the wreck, the trailer remained in place on the flat car.  IOW, the tie downs were stronger than the trailer's own construction could withstand.

Paul A. Cutler III

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 22, 2011 11:18 PM

Paul

Those are great pictures. Thanks very much.

Dave

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Posted by Southwest Chief on Friday, December 23, 2011 1:43 AM

Some early Santa Fe TOFC photos can be found here:

Kansas Historical Society

Below is a photo showing tie down methods:

Matt from Anaheim, CA and Bayfield, CO
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Posted by maxman on Friday, December 23, 2011 2:32 PM

Paul3

I don't think the CGW & NH method really lifted the wheels or the landing gear off the deck of the flatcar.  A major concern in the era (1937 to 1960) was that either the landing gear could collapse or that the tires could pop in railroad use.  The idea of the jacks was to reinforce the landing gear and to lift the weight off the suspension of the wheels.  This way the trailers could not bounce around and damage the landing gear or pop a tire.  If you note, the drawings show both U-shaped plates under the landing gear and wood chocks around the tires.  If the trailers were jacked completely off the deck, then these pieces would be useless.

The below was scanned from an article in the January, 1986 Mainline Modeler magazine.  The article was by Mont Switzer.  I did not see any photo credit.  The car is a PRR F39 flat.  You'll note that there are no springs in the tie down chain lines.  Possibly PRR deemed these unnecessary.  I also don't see any plates under the landing gear wheels.  There is another jack support back at the trailer wheels.  It is not clear to me that the beam spanning the two jacks is wood item, but it is hard to tell from the photo.  I would think that the jack heads would dig into a wooden item, plus the beam appears to be painted.  But again, the photo is not clear.

The author states in the article that "the landing gear dollies are not allowed to touch the deck of the flat car", which goes along with the landing gear being fragile.  However, the photo is again unclear as to whether or not there is actually any space between the wheels and the deck.

The following scan, sorry for the quality, is of a part sprue in the Walthers GSC flat car kit.  The jack assembly items are the H shaped thing at the top right of the sprue plus the adjacent bar which represents the beam.  These hitch parts don't appear to be included in all of the kits, as I have several that didn't include them.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, December 23, 2011 9:01 PM

maxman

More great photos - thanks.

Dave

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