Trains.com

Intermodal cars with bulkheads

1081 views
9 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March 2023
  • 163 posts
Intermodal cars with bulkheads
Posted by Perry Babin on Saturday, June 3, 2023 11:02 AM

What's the reason for the bulkheads on the intermodal cars like the ones below? It seems like a lot of extra weight which would decrease the payload capacity. 

http://www.railgoat.railfan.net/photos/otherrail/nysw/nysw006897_christopher_palmieri.jpg

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 20,727 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, June 3, 2023 6:49 PM

The picture didn't make it (you have to host it on a photo site like Imgur or Flickr that assigns an URL to the image, then paste that URL into a post) but some of the first-generation well cars have a framing structure to carry the 'stack' upper container directly on the car, rather than via twistlocks directly into the corner casting of the bottom container (which as you know is not twistlocked into its well).  As I understood it, the designers weren't sure that what worked on board ship would be adequate to keep containers from tipping or slightly lifting and possibly fouling overhead obstructions, or causing increased racking.  Evidently the mre recent stack approaches, including blithely locking 56' on top of 40' in equipment built for no more than 40', works perfectly well and has greater capacity and utility... to say nothing of vastly lower construction expense.

On flatcars, the bulkheads keep loads which are difficult to secure lenghwise from shifting during braking, hard run-in, for example if humping improperly, and most of all cumulative slack action.

A typical load might be board lumber run lengthwise, or stacks of wrapped plywood.  These can be secured against rolling or shifting off the car transversely, but there is nothing to keep them from pool-cuing off the end of the car and interfering with the next car, perhaps inducing derailment.

Putting a good solid piece of metal, even if it is comparatively thin sheet steel, to the effective loading gage of the car prevents longitudinal shift, even if a partial load's inertia induces impact over a few feet worth of deceleration, or good shock from slack action or node shift.

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,309 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, June 3, 2023 6:59 PM

Overmod
It's to keep loads difficult to secure lenghwise from shifting during braking, hard run-in, for example if humping improperly, and most of all cumulative slack action.

A typical load might be board lumber run lengthwise, or stacks of wrapped plywood.  These can be secured against rolling or shifting off the car transversely, but there is nothing to keep them from pool-cuing off the end of the car and interfering with the next car, perhaps inducing derailment.

Putting a good solid piece of metal, even if it is comparatively thin sheet steel, to the effective loading gage of the car prevents longitudinal shift, even if a partial load's inertia induces impact over a few feet worth of deceleration, or good shock from slack action or node shift.

You have described bulkhead flats very well.  However, what Perry offered for his picture was a intermodal five packer loaded with SeaLand double stacks.  The stantions on the five packer assist in location the containers during loading.

As time has progressed, the carriers have devised methods of securing intermodal containers with simpler methods.  What was pictured was from 20 or more years ago; SeaLand was divested by CSX in 1999 when they sold it to Maersk; in 2004 CSX sold the former SeaLand Port operations to Dubai Ports, getting CSX fully out of the container business.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,497 posts
Posted by tree68 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 7:19 PM

BaltACD
What was pictured was from 20 or more years ago;...

They show up every now and then on the Deshler cam.  Not often, though.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    March 2023
  • 163 posts
Posted by Perry Babin on Saturday, June 3, 2023 8:08 PM

I didn't want to move it to another site because it wasn't my photo. Maybe the next photo will work better for those who couldn't see the first image (which I could see, links are always tested). 

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4098994

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • 266 posts
Posted by adkrr64 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 8:10 PM

They are Gunderson "Twin Stacks". Here is a forum discussion from the way back machine:

https://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/133605.aspx

 The Gundersons are still around, but not nearly as prevalent as they once were.

  • Member since
    March 2023
  • 163 posts
Posted by Perry Babin on Saturday, June 3, 2023 8:33 PM

Thanks. I will read that thread. What started the search for more information on these was the following, recent, video. They were something I had never seen. 

https://youtu.be/K-t6X4qCigQ?t=548

To prevent the links from opening in this tab, right-click and choose 'open in new tab' (or the equivalent, in your browser). 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 24,309 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, June 3, 2023 8:56 PM

Perry Babin
I didn't want to move it to another site because it wasn't my photo. Maybe the next photo will work better for those who couldn't see the first image (which I could see, links are always tested). 

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=4098994

The Built Date on the pictured car is 11-86.  Today that car is 37 years old.

I believe the maximum life permitted for freight cars is presently 45 years old.  So that car is effectively end dated in November 2031.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: South Central,Ks
  • 7,041 posts
Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 11:10 PM

I'd hazard a guess, based on obsevations here is SC Kansas(BNSF) T-con:  Those described, bulk-headed, single, orkmultiple section, Intermodal cars, mostly will NOT live to thjeir builder's end dates.  They seerm tohave disappeard oln the various stack trains, around here.  

I might be mistaken;but,sometime back(?) TRAINS  mentioned that many of those, and other shorter, ,Intermodal cars were being cycled tihrough a re-buiulding operation.   

I think it was around the AMARILLO, Tx. area; they were being re-buuilt into cars, to support loading of 53 ft. length boxes; or rebuilt for,  possibly, some of the shorter varieties of Impoirt/Export, types of cans. 

 

 

 


 

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: Clinton Township, Michigan
  • 1,637 posts
Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Sunday, June 4, 2023 7:33 AM

Perry Babin

What's the reason for the bulkheads on the intermodal cars like the ones below? It seems like a lot of extra weight which would decrease the payload capacity. 

http://www.railgoat.railfan.net/photos/otherrail/nysw/nysw006897_christopher_palmieri.jpg

 

Your observation is correct about weight. Thanks to Budd Co's LOPAC 2000 TOFC car, that would become the prototype for future wellcars w/o bulkheads. Thrall would drop its version in 1984. APL was the first to move ISO boxes with the use of IBC's in their double-stack land bridge service. Gunderson would follow up with its own Maxi-Stack 1 design in 1988 to replace the Twin-Stack. 

Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy