Re: [EXTERNAL] Steel Plates On Flatcars

Greg Martin

Elden is correct.
 The stacks or layers of sheet were banded into packages of a given weight. Then as they were loaded on the car they were placed on full width stickers between the deck and the first layer. If the stacks were short, and they were generally less than 125 inches (at least what I dealt with) as the stacks were loaded down the car there was blocking between the stack so as to protect the ends from damage as the units moved parallel to the car. there was blocking added to the end as a bulkhead as well.  Each layer was stacked on top of the other with more 2x4 (or larger) stickers and there was stickers placed as separators between the units side to side in the middle of the load.
The Bottom layer was strapped all the way around the first layer to itself. The bottom layer to the next layer and so forth creating "interlacing banding patterns". The top layer was also strapped all the way around to itself, and if a loading error was made by a shipper it generally made here, think of a deck of cards being squeezed...  This secured the load on the car and created a "floating load". The same was done with pipe so far as the interlacing banding. I often see this modeled poorly even in our era.
Greg Martin
Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.
Norman Maclean

In a message dated 2/5/2016 8:46:16 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, STMFC@... writes:


I don't have the diagram that came out of the AAR loading rules, but yes, some would view that as being terribly inadequate to restrain a load like that.

Commonly, stakes were placed every couple of pockets along the sides, more if the stack was higher; wedges or filler was placed where needed, to fill in any spaces between the load and stakes. Blocking was also placed at either end of each stack in a load. I have never seen fewer than two blocks, commonly made of stacked pieces of lumber, nailed into the flooring, and then each block above stacked and nailed. If the load was bigger, they added even more restraining blocking.

Banding was also commonly used to tie a load together to prevent shifting, and possible bad outcomes. Banding was often used both length-wise and sideways, with two or more bands per direction.

Sheet has unique behavior as a load, so was restrained much more fully than, say, slabs or ingots.

I did a lot of photo viewing doing research for a PRR flat car book, but I ended up looking at a lot of other roads' flat car loads, and it seems like they were very similar in their treatment of steel loading blocking practices.

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2016 11:13 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [STMFC] Steel Plates On Flatcars

The March 2016 issue of Model Railroader featured an article titled, “Model Realistic Stacked Steel Plates” by M. R. Snell. The article covered modeling steel plates and making them into a flatcar load.

The author states, “While there are several methods for securing a prototype load on a flatcar, a common method involves simply placing pieces of lumber in the flatcar’s stake pockets”. The author used scale 4x4s to accomplish this for a load simulating nearly 75,000 pounds.

It occurred to me there was no provision made for the load sliding parallel to the car length as a result of slack action. And I have a hard time believing five 4x4s could keep the load secure from lateral motion.

Does someone have a loading diagram or prototypically correct instructions for properly securing a load of steel plates on a flatcar? I’m looking for something that would be appropriate for the steam-diesel transition era.


Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

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