Mont Switzer



I don’t think there was any specific pattern that was required for loading tractors or implements.  I suppose the various manufacturers may have developed diagrams to help their loaders get the maximum allowable load on the car and properly secure the equipment. 


1.       They had to be properly blocked and tied down per AAR regulations.

2.       Blocking could vary depending on how the implements were loaded.

3.       Implements could be no closer than 24 inches to brake wheel.

4.       No overhang, obviously.


Photos I’ve seen show the plants were set up for side or end loading so the tractors or implements could be rolled (or driven) into place on flat cars.  There appears to have been some overhead crane loading also, but cars had to be loaded so they could be unloaded at destination.  As most of us know, older farm tractors (like Farmall H and M or John Deere A and 560) could virtually turn on a dime when using both steering and separate wheel brakes.


A flat car with quite a few tractors or implements on it could be consigned to several dealer locations.  Each purchaser would find the correct serial number for his purchase and unload it (them).  Then the railroad would move the car onto the next consignee location.  I’m sure these routings were determined by the shipper’s traffic department ahead of time with efficiency and ability to unload in mind. 


Some tractor or implement dealers used the ramp provided by the railroads at their team track locations to get the tractor or implement  off of the flat cars.  If not too far, they were then driven or pulled to the dealership or new owner.  Others had long-bed straight trucks that they could just back up to the flat cars and roll the tractors and implements off and haul them to the dealership.  The dealerships that I have seen have ramps to loading/unloading these straight trucks.


One thing to consider.  Tractors and implements were not usually made in the same plants.  So a tractor plant would be shipping loads of tractors, an implement plant would be shipping loads of whatever implement(s) they were making.  If a farmer ordered a new tractor, a new plow and a new disc, they most likely would not arrive on the same flat car.


Hope this is of interest.  Mont



Montford L. Switzer


Switzer Tank Lines, Inc.

Fall Creek Leasing, LLC.


(765) 836-2914


From: <> On Behalf Of Bruce Smith
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2020 9:13 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] FARMALL TRACTOR loads




Tractors could be loaded longitudinally (length-wise), diagonally, or lattitudinally (cross-wise), depending on the size and type of the tractor.



Bruce Smith

Auburn Al

From: <> on behalf of Bud Rindfleisch <BlackDiamondRR@...>
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2020 8:07 AM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] FARMALL TRACTOR loads



     Just a question on load orientation of the tractors, I recall perhaps 30-years ago seeing a modeled flatcar load of tractors with them set on the deck at an angle and side by each. Just wondering if this was at all a common loading practice at one time? I'm doing a load of 6 Farmalls in S scale and the tractors seem to be a better fit if loaded this way. Have a second car of John Deeres as well. All of these tractors were nicely detailed except had plastic "blobs" for steering wheels, which I replaced with etched wheels from Tractor Fab.

     Bud Rindfleisch

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