View Full Version : What type of rail car is this?

February 27th, 2009, 09:13 AM
My question is about a certain type of railcar and whether it is on the DS. I am asking about the container carriers that look like all they have between them is a set of bogeys. (Semi trailers with train wheels in between them)

February 27th, 2009, 10:33 AM

February 27th, 2009, 12:02 PM
What ever happened to the “Roadrailer” concept? I have never seen one in the NW US, but I understand they were used a lot on the east coast.
Are they still being used or was it a “flash in the pan” idea?

February 27th, 2009, 12:06 PM
TTX Spine cars (same concept) are in regular use throughout the USA as far as I know.

February 27th, 2009, 12:31 PM
What ever happened to the “Roadrailer” concept? I have never seen one in the NW US, but I understand they were used a lot on the east coast.
Are they still being used or was it a “flash in the pan” idea?

When the double stack container well cars were introduced to carry twice as much freight and save the railroads money, the East coast railroads could not benefit, due to the height restrictions throughout their lines. Spline cars and roadrailers were invented to shave weight off, and allow the Eastern roads to see a savings in that regard.

Yes, they are still used today, I have seen the CN run them through the Chicago area as recently as last year.

February 27th, 2009, 09:15 PM
The Norfolk Southern runs them. If memory serves, they run a couple each way between Chicago and Jacksonville, Fl. I believe they also run between Chicago and the east coast.

February 27th, 2009, 10:24 PM
If I am not mistaken, BNSF runs a Triple Crown between Chicago and Minneapolis.

February 27th, 2009, 10:49 PM
Tripple Crown is just about the only company that still runs them. I believe 3C is owned by NS; and contracted out to CN for the Canadian trips. I'm not sure about BNSF. Amtrak used to have a fleet of them as well; reporting mark: AMTZ.


February 27th, 2009, 11:48 PM
Thanks for the info...

March 7th, 2009, 05:05 PM
One of the problems that has plagued the road-railer and similar concepts is that of the extra weight of the various fittings for the rail use. Like trains road traffic must conform to certain limits on maximum gross weight of a vehicle as well as the axle loadings there on. This is general information for tractor trailers, semi trucks, eighteen wheelers, big trucks or what ever else you call a large truck towing a trailer operating on interstate highways in the United States.

First of all trucking is the business of moving freight. All freight has two important statistics when it comes to transportation, weight and volume. Any way you can get your equipment to increase its capacity in these areas is considered a good thing. There are ways to extend the capacity past the figures I am giving here but almost all of them differ from state to state. This information is for the classic truck tractor and semi-trailer combination using a "box" trailer (refrigerated or not). The maximum GCVW (Gross Combination Vehicle Weight) on most of the Interstate Highway System is eighty thousand pounds (80,000#); this is also the normal registered GCVWR (Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating) of most OTR (Over The Road) operators. Subtract the empty weight of the vehicles from this and you will get the carrying capacity of said vehicles. For most operations that would potentially use a road-railer this figure come to an industry "rule of thumb" of about 46,000# or about 44,000# for refrigerated operations.

Having talked to some drivers operating with road-railer equipment it is my understanding that a trailer so equipped is about 2,000# heavier than one without such equipment. This reduction in weight capacity is generally unacceptable to most of the industry. There are products that can benefit from road-railer service, however some of the fundamental differences in the two modes of transportation tend to negate the benefits.

Some definitions for those who may want them.

Truck Tractor -- a truck specifically designed for towing a trailer
Semi-trailer -- a trailer with one (or one group of) axle(s) which relies on another vehicle to distribute part of its weight. An example would be a boat trailer.
Full trailer -- a trailer with two (or two groups of) axles one of which usually pivots and does not require another vehicle to distribute its weight. An example would be a farm wagon.
Box Trailer -- a trailer with six fully enclosed sides, either insulated and refrigerated or not.
Gross Combination Vehicle Weight -- generally a regulatory term, it refers to total weight of two vehicles hooked together, for example a truck and trailer.
Weight Rating -- generally in conjunction with gross combination vehicle, a regulatory term referring to the maximum legally permitted weight for which the vehicle can operate (and has paid taxes for).
OTR or Over the Road -- This is an industry term that implies operations that do not end at the location they started at at the beginning of the work period, it further makes the implication that the truck has a sleeper berth for the driver to sleep in over night.

I hope I was able to clarify some things and did not obfuscate too much. The short version is road-railers did not catch on in wide spread use because they were not competitive enough in enough different markets.

January 24th, 2010, 07:09 PM
I want to say I heard on a tv program.. that Tripple Crown bought the patent on this idea... therefore taking this concept off the market due to the expense of having to pay into this concept. Meaning.. if UP wanted to create a Roadrailer.. they would have to pay extra money to Tripple Crown to use their idea. In Jacksonville - I-95 Corridore... you see a lot of trailers on the highway that have tire / bogie / tire. When these first came out... I thought it was odd that a tractor trailer would have train wheels. When I saw the Roadrailer for the first time... it was amazing! It's also a simple hook up too. The 18 wheeler pulls up onto the railroad tracks... drops off the trailer... a fork lift looking thing comes over to the front of the trailer lifting the trailer off the ground. Another fork lift brings the bogie over and places it underneath. This is repeated at the rear of the trailer until the train is made.

July 6th, 2010, 04:01 PM
Thats a pretty cool railcar, I thought they were fake cause i had only seen them in movies but thats really cool:D

July 7th, 2010, 06:44 PM
It's not so much the weight of the road raillers as that trains just can't compeat with trucks. rail-roads can't get theyer heads around just in time fright. Say you buy a washer and would like it deliverd the next day the seller can load it on atruck the night befor and deliver the next day. A railroad will not garuantee deliver any time. So the only Freight they try to carry is not time sensitive.