Ideas Wanted: Flatcar Loads

Discussion in 'Flatcars' started by trainchaser007, May 18, 2015.

  1. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    One of the latest additions to my collection is my first flatcar. I ran it thIs past weekend. I had it hauling an 0-4-0 & tender. That worked fine. However, when I used a lighter dozer & loader load, the train... "string lined" (I believe is the term) in the U-shaped curves so I moved It back just In front of the caboose. I need ideas for a good "heavy enough" flatcar loads. Still, It needed more weight. What can I use to make a good, cheap, steel coil or some industrial equipment.
  2. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    A flat car of rail is a good one. It should have 4 layers with thin boards separating the layers. At least 4 pocket stakes on each side. Lumber is also good, you might need weights in the center.
    From what you describe "Stringline" is the term.
    Happens sometimes, when the engineer is horsing the engines, without a Full release of the brakes.
  3. paul slavens

    paul slavens Member

    Oilfield pipe in 6, 10, and 12 inch diameters are good loads, I have seen some pics of them on Frisco steam trains, even saw a Frisco wooden caboose that had a load of pipe go through it from a flatcar in front of it !
  4. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Sometimes it's not what the load is, but how the load is secured to the flatcar. Before steel-coil flats, there were plain flats. The interest here is the methodology used to secure the steel coils. A Frisco promotional photo. [​IMG]

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2015
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  5. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Hmmm.....from the looks of the photo that Karl posted, a crate in the middle of the car could be used for concealing a few thin weights, like the ones with a peel-back adhesive used on Pinewood Derby cars.

    Pat Moreland,
    Union Mo.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    One of the local modelers, Jim McCroskie, is legendary in creating flat car loads. Attached are examples of his work. Notice how he used First Gear diecast models as the loads. I had Jim make some loaded cars for me using some Proto 2000 flatcars and First Gear dozers. I bought duplicate numbers of the flats so I can switch out empties for loads once they have arrived at the local team track without having to disturb the loads.

    There was a publication entitled General Rules Governing the Loading of Commodities on Open Top Cars created by the AAR that specified how loads should be fastened down. I have a scanned copy but the six sections are quite large (12 -36Mb). I am not having any luck get it to upload.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2015
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  7. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Here are a couple flatcar loads from 2015 on the Cuba Sub. Sorry, but my camera does not have a "time-travel" attachment:eek:. Nonetheless, they may offer an idea or two.

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  8. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    I like that idea. I already have plenty of old rail that I won't use as running track. What can I use for pocket stakes? Here's a picture of a flatcar similar to mine.
    Mine is a green, BN flatcar but with the same style deck and pockets.

    - Brandon

    Attached Files:

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  9. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Supporter

    Keith, first I'm glad to hear that the old ¤¤¤¤¤-foot is still up and active. Six sections? Hmmm, I have a copy from 1960 that has sections 1 through 4. I can understand why the file is huge considering the several hundred pages of material.

    In case others were wondering (Feb 1960 version)

    Section 1 - Loading of Commodities on Open Top Cars (57 pages)
    Section 2 - Loading of Steel Products including Pipe on Open Top Cars (156 pages)
    Section 3 - Loading of Road Grading, Road Making, and Farm Equipment machinery on Open Top Cars (216 pages)
    Section 4 - Loading of Miscellaneous Commodities including Machinery on Open Top Cars (104 pages)

    Not sure about what section 5 & 6 cover.
  10. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Brandon, I was looking at the Flat Car your talking about. The car has pocket's, so wood pocket stakes, am
    thinking about 6 by 6 maybe 4 1/2 ft. long. On that kinda flat, you could put 78 Ft. New Rail, headed for the welding plant for making Ribbon Rail. They used 78 footers at the welding plant in Pueblo, Colorado in the mid 70's. Later on the welding plant in Springfield, Mo used 78 Ft. rail, although that was after the BN merger.
    The ends of the rail would be even, on a long flat like that, 8 wood pocket stakes per side. Then Banding, over the top of the rail on the two end pockets. Be a great looking car.
    The rail would be like, light gun metal color.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  11. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    The book I have is the same, Section 5 is Loading of Forest Products, Section 6 is Loading of Defense Department Materiel.
  12. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Supporter

    Attached are a few of the flatcar loads I have done over the years. I think the biggest thing you can do when modeling a flatcar load is to put a little extra work in the tie downs. One reference source for flatcar loading is issue 20 of the Railroad Prototype Cyclopedia, this issue is full of tie down guidelines as well as photos. One place to get open load ideas other than rail fanning is simple to watch flatbed trailers going down the interstate. It's not too much of a stretch to say that anything being hauled by truck has at some point in time been hauled by train.

    Brad Slone


    Attached Files:

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  13. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Brad, is that a 155mm field howitzer?
  14. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Supporter


    Yep that's a 155 big gun! I saw a photo of one loaded on a flatcar and modeled mine after that. I included a few more tonight, one modeled after the coil load that Karl posted. Another is the tractor for the gun.


    Attached Files:

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  15. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I have an old RMC article squirreled away somewhere on making flat car and gondola loads. Regarding the former, I liked the idea of shipping flat sheets of steel and lumber. Now that I think about it, shipping the lumber on an open flat car doesn't seem to wise. Perhaps it was for a drier climate; I suspect that my 1:87 shippers would prefer a nice, dry 40' box car. I'll have to dig it out.

    Brad, splendid work, as always. And, it looks like there's more to come on the workbench beyond.

    Best Regards,
  16. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    Somewhere I still have about half of my hotwheels stuff from my (first) childhood. I think I still have a tank and a halftrack. I believe I just figured out a good heavy load for my flatcar that won't cost me a penny. Thanks for the ideas and photos. - Brandon
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  17. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Supporter


    Thanks, I've got a couple of flats I've loaded with plate steel, a few gons that I have loaded with plate steel laying at an angle in a timber frame that looks pretty cool as well. When I model plate steel loads I take .10 styrene as a top and bottom, then build up several layers from the bottom with 1x10 styrene kind of making a frame. Then lay a piece of sheet lead inside the frame and lay the top layer of styrene over the top. This adds weight to the car and also gives the illusion of a stack of plate steel. Then you lay down some cribbing and tie it realistically to the car.

    As far as the stuff in the background, that's about a dozen Sunshine and a could Speedwitch kits built up and ready for paint. One of the problems with being a model railroader in the sticks is the difficulty in obtaining supplies. Most things I will order, but paint chips are hard to judge without seeing the actual color. I figured I would pick some up at the St Louis RPM show in August.

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  18. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Found it - the article is "Freight Car Loads" by Robert Smaus in the June, 1995 Railroad Model Craftsman.

    Brad, your technique for modeling the steel sheet is pretty good. I now see the wisdom in holding onto all of my son's old, various-sized Pinewood Derby weights.

    Best Regards,
  19. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Was gonna start a new thread but I think this one is just fine, I will show my HO car loads please show your own. I know there are a bunch out there.

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    The Frisco hauled all kinds of car loads, including a great deal of farm equipment. This an HO scale Atlas Traiman flat, with a couple die cast metal/plastic, Case/International Harvester combines. The binders are PDC There is a thread here on that was a motivation for this build. Not crazy about derailment threads but they did happen.

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  20. Hi Geaorge,
    Are those blue locomotives
    - short nose or switch engines? .... they look very nice.
    - Are they with an active railroad or purchased by BNSF?
    Very nice photo work.
    It looks like a bridge is by your place?

    [ Prime realestate ]

    I put pin wheels and hanged aluminun pie plans
    by my tomatoe plants to keep the birds away.
    They are moving most often and doing what they should.
    Now I have an excuse to buy some more pies,
    Yum Yum !
    ha ha

    Do you have fruit trees for your pies?

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