Re: Tarps on semi box trailers

Paul Koehler



All van type trailers in the 400000 series were open top, they did not have a roof.  This was to facilitate the loading and unloading of the van by overhead cranes.  Normal vans with full roofs were in the 200000 series, flat rack trailers were in the 300000 series and reefers were in the 500000 series.  Van type trailers to be used in Piggyback service must have doubled cam lock rear doors the chain or chicken wire rear enclosures were not legal for piggyback.


Paul C. Koehler


From: <> On Behalf Of Robert G P
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2021 9:38 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Tarps on semi box trailers


Hello all, 


For quite some time now ive noticed that in many photos from the 30s-early 60s semi 'van' trailers (the ones already fully enclosed) tend to commonly be outfitted with a tarp over a certain section of the roof, whether front or rear. I do know it was normal practice for trailers with "chicken wire" (storefront gate) type back doors to have a tarp to assist in protection from the elements but It seems a few with full back doors have them on occasion as well. As said, Ive also seen them on the front of the trailer -perhaps to cover up a vent door not being used. Perhaps even a leaky or poorly sealed roof was a reason. 


This was an incredibly common practice and most photos of trailer trucks from that era tend to feature at least one so outfitted. They can also be spotted on TOFC runs.


I'm addressing this as I'd just like to ask if anyone knows aside from the stated reasons why trailers might've had a tarp over the already solid roof back then?  It's definitely neat and would be nice to model. 


I'll link to a photo which shows one with a tarp over the full trailer, just past the ESSO sign.





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