Ed, tractors came in many different sizes. And each manufacture had more
than one model at one time. A flatcar load from the factory would be all the
same brand and most likely the same model, or a model similar in size. The
factory would load as many as possible, get their money's worth out of the
car. The size of the tractor dictated how many were loaded. If short enough
the tractors would be cross wise on the flatcar, alternating narrow end and
wide end. Larger tractors would be set at an angle across the flatcar, again
narrow end to wide end. Even larger tractors would be loaded the length of
the car, nose to tail. Always the goal was to get as many tractors as
possible on a car. The photo in Sunshine's Tractor load instruction sheet
shows 10 Ford tractors with both narrow and wide ends loaded across a
flatcar. A photo taken at the Farmall factory, shows small tractors loaded
two side by side, at a slight angle.
Most models I have seen of tractor loads, have too few tractors, spaced too
far apart. No doubt because the tractor models cost and add up quickly when
doing a load. Six appears to be a favorite number, perhaps because the
Lifelike tractor comes in 3pacs. But 8 or even 10 might be more appropriate.
As tractors get larger, weight also becomes a factor. Today's behemoths
might only rate two tractors per flatcar.
The Athearn model is a John Deere, model B I believe, whereas the Lifelike
is a Farmall, model MTA. I think the Sunshine tractor load is also Farmalls,
M or H. The Athearn tractor has an odd front end, two wide for a normal two
wheel front end. It requires a little surgery to correct. John Deere's are
normally green with yellow trim, unless ordered for special service.
Farmalls are typically red with aluminum trim.