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What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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geoffsteer
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:18 am
Post subject: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

Hi Guys-
Just when you thought I could not think of another railway question, yet another comes to my pointy little noodle! I've been studying all the photos I can find of freight on flatcars and, I cannot see what holds said freight in place. If the freight is vehicles, I can see blocks/chocks placed front and back of the tires, what is holding them (block/chocks) in place? On some, not all, flat bed trucks, I can see tie down rings and places to drop a peg to stop a block from slipping. I dont see anything like this on any railway flatcars. On the sides of the Dragon flatcars are rings which, obviously, are meant to serve as tie down points for frieght although, these would not help to hold wheel blocks/chocks. I mean to say, the railway flatbed is featureless so, if you put a block in front of a vehicle's wheel, what is there (on the flatbed) to keep the block from sliding?
With thanks-
Geoff Steer [;-{/) Rolling Eyes
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:30 am
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

- geoffsteer
Hi Guys-
Just when you thought I could not think of another railway question, yet another comes to my pointy little noodle! I've been studying all the photos I can find of freight on flatcars and, I cannot see what holds said freight in place. If the freight is vehicles, I can see blocks/chocks placed front and back of the tires, what is holding them (block/chocks) in place? On some, not all, flat bed trucks, I can see tie down rings and places to drop a peg to stop a block from slipping. I dont see anything like this on any railway flatcars. On the sides of the Dragon flatcars are rings which, obviously, are meant to serve as tie down points for frieght although, these would not help to hold wheel blocks/chocks. I mean to say, the railway flatbed is featureless so, if you put a block in front of a vehicle's wheel, what is there (on the flatbed) to keep the block from sliding?
With thanks-
Geoff Steer [;-{/) roll
It probably varies from country to country based on local custom. In The US on some older flat cars they would nail the blocks into the wood deck

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Dontos
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:30 am
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

They are could be nailed into the flatcar, or the weight of the vehicle applies pressure. Chains can be applied to the tow hooks or around axles and then ratched down, to keep the vehicle from shifting.

HTH
Don

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C_Sherman
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:35 am
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

Depends on who you are talking about.

In the US, railroad rules require chains fore and aft. Depending on the type of flatcar and what you are loading on it (wheel or track, etc.), it may also require chocks and bracing. The chocks and bracing are normally nailed to the car decking using long spikes. The rules are fairly strict, and we always wondered if the railcars were actually going to be upside down at some point.

In Europe, they don't always require chains to secure the load. This may have something to do with the generally smoother roadbeds on Euro railways, and may also reflect the generally shorter distances for rail movements in Europe. I believe that the distance of the move can come into play; i.e., shorter moves require less extensive tiedown or blocking. Perhaps some of the folks here have experience with military rail movements in Europe and can comment further.

I recall reading that German armor was only secured by chocks fore and aft, during WWII. I'm less sure, but I believe that still holds true.

C

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geoffsteer
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:39 am
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?Thanks Guys.

Hi Don & Bob-
Nailed down? I must admit, I never thought of that, probably to simple and obvious. On the one hand, nailing down the blocks would cause wear and tear on the flatbed's wooden floor. On the other hand, it would not cause sufficient wear and tear to force the replacement of the wooden floor on anything like a frequent amount of occasions. Actually, being able to nail down blocks is most likely the reason for the flatbed having a wooden floor in the first place.
Thanks for your help, Don and Bob-
Geoff Steer [;-{/)
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L.Delsing
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:14 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

For Leopards and YPR-765's you need a total of 8 chocks / blocks. Two in front of the track, two at the back against the track and and then 4 chocks / blocks to prevent sideways sliding. These will be placed at the inside of the track under the first and last roadwheels. So it can not move forwards, backwards or sidewards.

These last mentioned chocks / blocks are hanging at the back of the turret of the Leopard 2A5/A6.

Correct placement of these things is checked by railroadpersonnel and if OK nothing more is required. Of course the parking brake of the vehicle must be engaged.

Regards,
Lesley
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:19 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

- C_Sherman
Depends on who you are talking about.

In the US, railroad rules require chains fore and aft. Depending on the type of flatcar and what you are loading on it (wheel or track, etc.), it may also require chocks and bracing. The chocks and bracing are normally nailed to the car decking using long spikes. The rules are fairly strict, and we always wondered if the railcars were actually going to be upside down at some point.

In Europe, they don't always require chains to secure the load. This may have something to do with the generally smoother roadbeds on Euro railways, and may also reflect the generally shorter distances for rail movements in Europe. I believe that the distance of the move can come into play; i.e., shorter moves require less extensive tiedown or blocking. Perhaps some of the folks here have experience with military rail movements in Europe and can comment further.

I recall reading that German armor was only secured by chocks fore and aft, during WWII. I'm less sure, but I believe that still holds true.

C


Are flatcars loaded with vehicles ever 'humped'? ( Do they do that in Europe at all?) I know some types of cars are labeled 'DO NOT HUMP' and I always figured it was because of the shock loads involved in the process.

For those that don't know Hump yards are freight classification yards that are used to make up and break down trains. It centers around a large 'hill'. The train is pushed up the back side of the hill (or hump) by a switching locomotive. At the top each car is disconnected in turn and allowed to drift down the front slope where the tower personnel watch it and throw various switches routing the car into the stub track where they want it. I've seen a hump yard that had several cars all rolling down the slope at the same time with the appropriate switch being thrown just before the car gets to the point of the switch and each car slamming into the cars already on the stub when it reached the end of the run. There are brake plates along the rails that can be used to control the cars speed as it rolls down the slope but I understand that there is a reluctance to use them any more than absolutely neccesary since it slows the process of building trains.

If the cars have to be 'humpable' that could be another reason the more extensive chaining is required in the U.S.

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Dontos
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:23 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

LOL....okay .

Its my understanding that it is due to the poorer condition of the US rail system.

European Rail system is far better maintained.

Don

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Dontos
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:31 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

Here is a photo I took in 1993 at Ft Hood. We were railloading to Ft Bliss and Operation Roving Sands.

This is a typical tie-down scenario in the States.



Don

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C_Sherman
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:51 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

- bsmart

Are flatcars loaded with vehicles ever 'humped'? ( Do they do that in Europe at all?) I know some types of cars are labeled 'DO NOT HUMP' and I always figured it was because of the shock loads involved in the process.


Hi all,

Bob, military vehicles are nearly always carried as 'unit trains'* rather than a collection of individual cars. This is because most equipment moves more than one or two vehicles/railcars, but rather a full unit's worth of vehicles. So 'humping' is unlikely, since 'unit trains' usuually have a dedicated locomotive and the cars are rarely uncoupled from each other.

According to the schools and manuals, the chains, etc. are required in the US because the US rail system tolerates a greater amount of variation in roadbeds...in other words, our roads are bumpier. There are a variety of reasons for this, not just "lower quality".

The rules differ for military/DOD steel deck flatcars (chains only) and standard wood deck cars (chains and chocks). The DOD flatcars are designed to use the chains in the most efficient way, and are often the only way to move tanks and BFVs. What Dontos shows below are DOD steel deck flats, so no blocking/bracing is needed.

The rules are very tight, because of past experience and previous problems. For example, most people don't know that a rubber tire sidewall rubbing against a wood bracing block can actually start a fire...but it has, and it can. So there are requirements for separating the two (tarpaper, believe it or not). I've seen pictures of what happens when a vehicle or part of a vehicle (turret, crane, cargo, etc.) comes adrift during rail transport, and it ain't pretty. If you are lucky, no one gets kilt...and the best result is just extensive damage to unit property. Unlucky? Well, that can get really ugly.

C

* A 'unit train' is a railroad term for a train that has only one or two types of cars, that travel as a unit. In the western US, you can often see unit trains made up of 50-70 hopper cars, that carry coal from mines to power plants. There are other types, too.

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:55 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

I love this board....I'm learning a ton of stuff about trains here that I never even thought of!

...just sayin'.....

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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:23 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

"According to the schools and manuals, the chains, etc. are required in the US because the US rail system tolerates a greater amount of variation in roadbeds...in other words, our roads are bumpier. There are a variety of reasons for this, not just "lower quality"."

Jeff Button - Make sure you pay attention in class. You are going to be our designated transportation expert in the future.

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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:32 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

Hi Folks!

As best I can remember, every rail movement I was part of, the requiered number of flat cars would be placed against a ramp at the end of the rail line and each vehicle would drive from the ramp crossed all the flat cars until it reached the one it would be traveling on.

My 2 cents,
Sgt, Scouts Out! Smile

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binder001
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:17 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

[quote="C_Sherman"][quote="bsmart"]
I've seen pictures of what happens when a vehicle or part of a vehicle (turret, crane, cargo, etc.) comes adrift during rail transport, and it ain't pretty. If you are lucky, no one gets kilt...and the best result is just extensive damage to unit property. Unlucky? Well, that can get really ugly.

Back in the late 1960s I remember TV footage of a "problem" on the old Rock Island Railroad thru Lincoln, NE. The showed what happened when the barrel of an "Army tank" swung free and was perpendicular to the tracks. In fact the "tank" was an M109 SP 155 and that great big tube was knocking over signs and signals all thru the town until someone could get the train to stop. The RR had to reset most of their crossing signs and signals on that side of the right-of-way!
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:46 pm
Post subject: Re: What holds freight down on Railway flatcars?

In the 80's, in Germany, a situation occurred when the unsecured gun tube of a US M60 clipped a pole and then spinning wildly, slammed into a tunnel embankment causing the tank to dislodge and then the train derailed.

Not sure of exactly when, but 'rumor' had it ocurring in the Frankfurt (South) rail tunnel as the train headed to Graffenwohr.

Having been in 3rd Armored Div, I rode the train on many occassions and everytime we went thru that particular tunnel there was mere inches clearence, between the tanks and the tunnel.

On one occassion, we were held on a side rail near the Frankfurt Haupt Bahn Hof, because it was believed (by parties unknown) that our M1A1's would hit the tunnel walls. 9 hour delay, seemed a lifetime.

Don

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