Re: Military loads - some photos attached

John Barry

Sighted yesterday at Washington Union Station one of the former USAX heavy duty flats.

John Barry
ATSF North Bay Lines 
Golden Gates & Fast Freights 
Lovettsville, VA


PO Box 44736 
Washington, DC 20026-4736


On Tue, 2/5/19, Richard Townsend via Groups.Io <richtownsend@...> wrote:

Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Military loads - some photos attached
Date: Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 10:25 PM

For the 38000 series cars with 6-wheel trucks
the Roco flat would be the best available. I can't
suggest a model for the 39510 and the others in its series
with 4-wheel trucks. It has 14 stake pockets per side and
appears to say its length is 50 feet. Both the Proto2000 and
Revell/Con-cor flats have 15 stake pockets, and both are
longer than 50 feet. The Athearn 50' flat has 13 stake
pockets as does the old Cox 50' flat.

Richard Townsend

Lincoln City, OR


From: Steven D Johnson <tenncentralrwy@...>

To: main <>

Sent: Tue, Feb 5, 2019 5:33 pm

Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Military loads - some photos



Four photos attached. 


What would be the best HO model to
represent the  39510-type cars? The built date looks to
be 8-53.


The newspaper clipping is from my
hometown paper, showing a long string of the 38000-series
cars passing through Hopkinsville, KY, from Ft.
Campbell.  This was on the ICG’s former Tennessee
Central line.

I realize it’s way out of the
group’s time frame, but it does show a bunch of steam
era-built cars, and thought it (and the color photos) would
be of interest while we’re on this thread.


Steve Johnson




[] On Behalf Of Daniel
A. Mitchell

Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2019 11:43 AM


Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Military loads.


I found a photo on the
internet showing a T43 (M-103 prototype) on a
depressed-center flatcar like the Roco model.



Unfortunately, the ends
of the photo are cropped, so the presence or absence of
buffers cannot be determined. The car is clearly lettered
USA and carries the ordinance corps. symbol. The trucks are
older-style Buckeye trucks with external equalizer bars.
Roco got this right … their regular 6-axle USA flat has
normal Buckeye trucks.


In an actual shipment
the turret would be reversed and the gun clamped in the
travel-lock shown at the back of the vehicle. Note the
blocking and tie-down rods. Compared to other photos of
M-103’s in transit these seem  inadequate …usually
there are more blocks and more rods or chains.


Anyone have a better
photo of this?


Dan MItchell




On Feb 5, 2019, at 9:58
AM, Daniel A. Mitchell <danmitch@...>


Your position is
reasonable. I do have a loading diagram for the M-103 (or
one of it’s look-alike predecessors) on a depressed-center
6-axle flat that appears identical to the Roco model.


I too have photos of the
M-103 loaded on the standard Army 6-axle “Roco" flat.
The weight of the tank (about 65 tons) is well within the
car’s 100-ton capacity.  Related issues are …


1) the M-103 Heavy Tank
was substantially taller than it’s smaller cousin the M-48
Medium Tank. I suspect the issue may be overall height …
in olden days with tighter clearance some movements may have
required the lower overall height offered with transport on
a depressed-center car.


2) For whatever reason
the M-103 was often loaded on huge timbers running the
length of the vehicle's track, between the track and
flatcar deck. these were 8"-10” thick. This raised
the height of the load by the same amount. Why? To spread
weight? To reduce damage to the flatcar’s deck? Such
timbers were often, but not always, used with the Army’s
6-axle “Roco” flat.


3) With the
depressed-center car loading would be more of an issue. The
tank is almost as long as the depressed center part of the
car. Loading would almost have to be done with an overhead
crane (common anyway). While turning the tank with a
“neutral steer” (pivot) might have been possible, it
would likely result in some huge stresses to the flatcar,
and also tear-up the wooden deck.


In all cases, the tank
is considerably wider than the flatcar’s deck (this is
also true for the smaller M48-M60 tanks). The tracks
overhang the edge of the deck by about a foot on either
side. Side-clearance issues were a problem as the M-103’s
Technical Manual clearly states.


Tie-down of such a
vehicle in the “steam" era consisted of the use of
MANY, large wooden blocks, cut-to fit, and jammed into
several locations … in front and behind the tracks, and
between the road wheels. Cleats along the inside-run of the
tracks prevened side-to side shifting, possibly the use of
large timbers under the tracks (above), and multiple (like
12-16) tie-down rods, chains or cables. Assorted loose items
from the tank’s exterior (“pioneer tools”, machine
guns), spare parts, etc. were packaged in wooden crates and
strapped to the flatcar’s deck. Sometimes the main gun
tube was removed and also packed in a wooden crate.
 Sometimes the whole load was tarped or partially


Nowadays they seem to
use mostly a spider-web of chains (6-8 on each end) and
little or no blocking. The modern flatcars also have
full-length tie-down channels set into the deck.


Dan Mitchell


On Feb 4, 2019, at 5:21
PM, spsalso via Groups.Io <Edwardsutorik@...>


I will disagree with
Dan's statement that "The depressed-center flat is
the transport carrier for the M-103 Heavy Tank...".

First, while there is a photo that appears to show an M-103
on such a car, there is some doubt that the car and load
ever traveled more than a few feet.  There is also
doubt that these cars ever operated in the US.

Second.  The shop manual for the M-103 shows a drawing
of one loaded on the (prototype) non-depressed Roco car.
 I presume this drawing was presented as a typical

I intend to place my (HO) M-103's on the plain vanilla
Army 6-axle flats.


Edward Sutorik

Join to automatically receive all group messages.