tractor loading

Douglas Harding

The discussion of tractor loading led a friend to ask me: Is there anything
to the story that in 1947 a wreck in the Chicago area changed the loading
from across the flat car to in line  loading of tractors? He says a friend
insists that a wreck in a west suburb (can't remember the name) on the
Burlington was the reason the government changed the loading style.

I responded "that doesn’t make sense. The railroads handled high & wide
loads all the time. The only situation I think of that being the reason, was
if the load had an overhang that exceeded clearances. More likely a new rule
was instated by the railroad, where the wreck occurred, restricting high &
wide loads on that particular section of track. The AAR (not government) had
rules for securing loads, but I don’t believe the government was ever
involved with dictating loading restrictions, except perhaps for the

Does anyone know for sure? I believe the reason was the increased size in
tractors. As they got longer, they no longer fit cross wise on a flatcar.
One would need to study each tractor model, learn it’s length, to determine
when the factory went from crosswise to angled loading styles.

Of interesting note, while searching for photos of flatcar loads of
tractors, I have seen several models of the Lifelike tractor, a Farmall MTA,
with the wheels removed and stacked behind the tractor body which sits up on
blocking. Total wrong. The only reason we see tractors transported this way
is because with wheels they are too tall or too wide, ie very large
tractors. But certainly not a Farmall M or MTA.

My friend reports seeing tractors without rubber tires loaded in Wisc. the
rims were on and had wood blocks wired in so as not to damage the rims. The
reason was these were going to Europe and they were going to furnish the

Doug Harding

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