Re: Flat Car Load Placement

Gatwood, Elden J SAD


Truth is indeed stranger...

To add to what Bruce wrote:

I know a "high and wide" guy that was tasked with making sure things fit back in the day, that told me some hair-raising stories. Shippers would get a car, then try to load it either at greatest convenience to themselves, or to as great a capacity (weight or cube) as they wished for.

There is a collection worth of photos of loads gone bad in the PRRT&HS archives. That included loads that slipped off, or through a car end, toppled loads, shifted loads, and loads that rolled around in box cars and destroyed car interiors, sides and ends. Shippers did not usually follow the AAR rules to the letter, but winged it.

An "over the trucks" example, but balanced, was the loading of hot coil, in small groupings, at each end. This was quite common. I have several of those modeled.

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Nelson Moyer
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:36 AM
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Flat Car Load Placement

That suggests that since a concentrated load in excess of 50000 lbs. can't be distributed or placed over one of the trucks, the shipper would need a car with a higher center load capacity.

For modeling, I guess load weight is a moot point, as few of us calculate load weight and assign a load to a specific car on that basis. I guess the best alternative to load weight calculation is to use photos of actual loads together with the AAR and ORER loading instructions as the inspiration for out loads. Actually, that approach can result in some improbably loads like the M&StL culvert flat car load Clark Probst posted to the Proto-Layout group that must have challenged height clearance limits. I suspect a modeler would be ridiculed for building a load like that. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Nelson Moyer

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Gatwood, Elden J SAD
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 6:37 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Flat Car Load Placement


Loading at one end, unless balanced, was highly frowned on. I know we've seen a few of those loads at one end, but it was not acceptable practice. The unloaded end could lift under certain circumstances, and potentially cause a derailment. Loading and securing instructions from the AAR show all loads centered, with the exception (theoretically) of diagonal loads. The ORERs also show info on how some individual flats and gons should have the load distributed. Depressed center and well flats were especially vulnerable to collapse if loaded wrong.

Elden Gatwood

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