Re: Loading Barrels In A Boxcar

Douglas Harding

Steel drums are available in several sizes.

55 gallon is 23”x35”

30 gallon is 18”x29”

The steel drums in the photo look to be 55 gallon, ie 35” high.


AAR Pamphlet No.4 (my copy is dated 1941/1948) contains the rules and regulations for safe loading of drums and barrel. The diagrams for a doubled layer, show 1” boards to be laid on top of the first layer, so the second layer can be set in place. 2x4s are used for horizontal “bilge” protection, though not required for steel drums. 1x6” material to be used as vertical buffer strips between steel drums and crossing bracing.


AAR Pamphlet No. 24 (for mixed loads of paint in drums, barrels or pails 1936/1945) specifies for doorway protection the boards must not be less than 1x4” one placed close to the floor and to each other to prevent the lading from falling or rolling out of the car or coming in contact with the doors.


The 1930 ARA Loading rules calls for board of 1x6” to be nailed across the door openings when loading empty barrels.



Doug Harding


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