What has happened to TOFC?

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  • Member since
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  • From: North Central Florida
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Posted by jdamelio on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 7:31 PM

I frequently see trailers on trains into and out of Florida on CSX and FEC.

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Posted by Sunnyland on Friday, April 21, 2017 10:56 AM

haven't seen TOFC in years and I drive past the Frisco yards where Dad worked very often.  BNSF has mostly intramodel trains coming and going out of the yards, so that's the bulk of the business now.  Sometimes there will be tankers or even a boxcar in the mix, but not much.  Frisco had their own trucking company too-FTC, don't know if any railroads have them today or not 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, April 21, 2017 2:00 PM

I watch the Chesterton cam, and the Berea,OH and Fostoria, OH cams, and lots of TOFC /COFC trains.  I also see them on the BNSF on the Coal City, IL. cam. 

I don't remember that I've ever seen them on the CN, Fond du Lac to Chicago line (former WC)  I live close to.


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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, April 21, 2017 6:37 PM


Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by greyhounds on Friday, April 21, 2017 10:52 PM

Frisco had their own trucking company too-FTC, don't know if any railroads have them today or not 

Well, here's one.


That's a nice Volvo tractor all done up in CN colors.  The tri-axle container chassis indicates the photo was taken in Canada.  CNTL does have significant operations in the US as well.

Several US railroads did own trucklines.  Those that quickly come to mind are Santa Fe Trail, Rock Island Motor Freight, your Frisco Transportation Co., and a rather large PMT.  PMT was either Pacific Motor Transport or Pacific Motor Trucking, I don't remember.  It was an SP operation.  Cotton Belt also had its own trucking operations.

When motor freight was first Federally regulated in 1935 the existing trucking operations were literally frozen in place.  So if a railroad had a motor carrier up and running it got to keep what it had.  It couldn't expand, but it could stay in place.  (Economic regulation of transport was, from start to finish, a fool's errand.)  The restrictions placed on rail-truck integration greatly harmed our economy and our people.  Freezing economic development in place, as was done, and then subjecting it to a lot of dang fool rules is going to hurt.  And it did hurt.  Badly.

Today, there is no necessity for a railroad to have a seperate trucking entity.  They can just hire a trucker, owner operator or otherwise, to do the work.  No government by your leave is required.

CN has chosen to operate through CNTL.  BNSF and NS have chosen to partner with truckers such as JB Hunt to do the same thing in a different way.  It's basically six of one and a half dozen of the other.  It's the same thing done differently with basically the same result.

CN, operating mainly in Canada at the time, was mostly never subject to the inane US rules prohibiting rail-truck integration.  They've got a long, successful history doing trucking and they've extended their success with their expansions in to the US.


"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Friday, April 21, 2017 11:34 PM


That's a nice Volvo tractor all done up in CN colors.  The tri-axle container chassis indicates the photo was taken in Canada.  CNTL does have significant operations in the US as well.

CN has certainly done well for themselves on the trucking end, those things are everywhere up here, especially around intermodal yards (the "We Deliver!" slogan still emblazoned all over many containers comes to mind). 

The complete integration of trucking into the rail network sometimes leads to unusual situations, for example CN seems to haul most if not all west coast intermodal traffic for the Saskatoon and Winnipeg terminals by truck from Vancouver to Calgary, then load them onto a train (Q114) there.  I think the logic behind this is that it fills out a train that would otherwise run short, and it means that fewer intermodal trains have to work in the cramped Saskatoon yard.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by overall on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 12:49 PM

Well, today at 12:00 noon, at Kayne Ave Yard, I saw a northbound intermodal train with 6 UPS 53 foot trailers and two of the smaller "pups" in the consists. I guess I have to take it all back. Thanks to all that replied. As the late great Gilda Radnor used to say on Saturday Night Live,"Never mind".

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Posted by IslandMan on Thursday, May 04, 2017 3:02 PM

There is a potential sort of half-way-house between TOFC and double-stack intermodal.  

The swop-body is a demountable truck body, lighter than an ISO-standard shipping container but fitted on the bottom corners with ISO standard twistlocks.  Swop bodies can be fitted with fold-down legs so that  they can be left for loading/unloading whilst the truck goes off to do other work.  This, plus the reduction in deadweight compared to ISO-standard containers and with the ability to be carried by rail as well as road is the reason swop-bodies are used in Europe (and probably elsewhere).

Swop-bodies cannot be stacked so cannot be transported by ship.  On a double-stack container train it would be possible to carry a swop-body on top of a standard ISO container (but not of course vice-versa!).  This would be more fuel-efficient than both 'pure' double-stack with ISO-only containers and TOFC, as the dead-weight per ton of load would be less than either.  

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, May 05, 2017 7:18 AM

I would assume that swap-bodies make a certain amount of sense in Europe for domestic traffic because clearance restrictions preclude the existence of double-stacks and you don't really need twistlocks on the upper corners.  In North America, where double-stacks are quite common, swap-bodies would almost require special handling at most terminals because the lack of upper-corner twistlocks would limit how they could be loaded and where they could be placed.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul

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