Re: need help finding a photo

Mont Switzer

I'm not sure what the notches in the sides of the converted gondola were for, but they were not for releasing the fifth pin from the car mounted hitch.  The fifth pin would have been released by a man crawling under the front of the trailer.  He more than likely lowered the trailer hitch at that time with an air operated wrench.  Note what appears to be an air line hanging at the ready at the ramp.

This is a guess, but I would think the side "notches" were for access to the load binders.  There wasn't a lot of room to work with the steel structure in place.  Some piggyback ramps even had platforms down the sides to make this work easier.  Remember, a chain binder requires a 4 ft. pipe ("cheater") to get the necessary leverage to pull a chain binder down tight, and those that gon side structure pretty well killed that idea.

Now, with the "automatic" trailer hitch that you see in the photo there is no real need for chains and binders.  The hitch did it all.  My guess (again) is the cars were originally modified for use with chain binders and were ultimately upgraded with floor mounted hitches.

A good number of railroads got into piggy-back service around 1954.  Not wanting to invest heavily in this new concept many railroads converted what they had to haul the trailers, usually flat cars.  Several railroads used gons either because us feared side movement of the trailers or they were using what they had.   

When trailers had to be "tied down" with stands, chains and binders, it took about 2 man hours to secure one.  With the advent of the "automatic" trailer hitch widely in use by 1960, a trailer could be secured for movement in about 15 minutes.  

One thing I don't have to guess about is modeling this stuff.  I've modeled the old jacks, chains and binders and they hold the trailer onto the car very well, but this takes a lot of time and the trailer and flat car are married permanently.  The car mounted trailer hitches are easier to model and allow the trailers to be unloaded in hidden staging with your 0-5-0.

Mont Switzer

From: [] on behalf of BRIAN PAUL EHNI [bpehni@...]
Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 8:27 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] need help finding a photo

Rock Island did the same thing, only with Cadillacs and re-purposed WE gons.




Brian Ehni



From: <> on behalf of Nelson Moyer <npmoyer@...>
Reply-To: <>
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 6:18 PM
To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [SPAM]Re: [RealSTMFC] need help finding a photo


That’s really a practical shipping method, because it only requires one loading and one unloading of the individual cars. Much less opportunity of damage. Too bad it’s beyond my era, because that is one interesting load.


Nelson Moyer


From: [] On Behalf Of Brent Greer
Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 4:02 PM
To: Andy Carlson <midcentury@...>;
Subject: [SPAM]Re: [RealSTMFC] need help finding a photo


Thanks Andy !! 


I purchased another photo like this at the last CCB gathering.  That one included a pickup truck in the mix of vehicles loaded onto the semi rack in1959.


From talking with folks in the Studebaker fan world, it appears that this was the preferred method of distribution during the last 4 - 6 years of Studebaker production in the USA.  (1958-1964)


Studebaker continued production in Canada at their Hamilton, Ontario plant through 1966, but I have no idea how those were shipped and it is in the future relative to this list anyway. 





Dr. J. Brent Greer

From: <> on behalf of Andy Carlson <midcentury@...>
Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 3:18 PM
To: <>
Subject: [RealSTMFC] need help finding a photo


-Andy Carlson

Ojai CA


On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 9:28:32 AM PDT, Brent Greer <studegator@...> wrote:



At some time back in 2019 (perhaps a little earlier), there was a photo shared that showed a semi-truck auto transporter loaded with some 1959 Studebaker cars and trucks, and this trailer was being shipped on a TOFC flatcar (TTX I believe).   I have done every kind of search term combination I can think of, but I can't find this picture again.  Can someone please help me find it?

Sincere thanks,

Dr. J. Brent Greer


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