locked Re: Walthers Mark III & Mark IV Flexi-Van Flatcar Models
Rod:toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I never managed handling COFC but the answer to your question can be found in the Rail-Highway files in the SRHA archives.
Two things are important to understand: The first TTX cars did not have end-of-car cushioning, “pigs” were chained in place on the cars before hitches were adopted. That was the reason the Southern used CTTX flats equipped with Pullman-Standard “Protecto-frame” hardware welded to their decks. The P-F units had their own unit numbers and were owned by the Southern. The containers of the period did not have a standard mounting arrangement. (Flexi-Van containers were not used with the CTTX hardware, they were eventually converted to trailers by welding them to chassis so they could be used in PB service.)
In addition to providing a tray like arrangement that held the containers, the P-F hardware provided cushioning by using a hydraulic arrangement between the tray/container and the flat car deck. (Note Vol 1 of (must have) “The TTX Story” by the PRRH&TS for photos and description.) The P-F system meant the TTX cars could not be used for Circus style loading, thus the Southern designed and built container cranes.
Eventually, container mounting standards, EOC cushioning and retractible cushioned hitches were developed making the limited use CTTX cars and P-F system obsolete.
The photo is an under construction HO version of a P-F flat. The part on the deck is fixed, the container mounting sits above that and extends from side to side preventing circus style operation. Trailers were placed on the car by the cranes.
On Apr 21, 2021, at 10:07 PM, Rodney Shu <rodshu@...> wrote:
I would like for those of you who managed the early handling of containers on flatcars (without truck wheels or frames) for information as to why Southern initially handled loading and unloading of containers using overhead cranes that startled single track facilities at major terminals.
From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io> on behalf of George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2021 1:59 PM
To: MFCL@groups.io <MFCL@groups.io>; PassengerCarList@groups.io <PassengerCarList@groups.io>; email@example.com <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Walthers Mark III & Mark IV Flexi-Van Flatcar Models
The “story” of the decline in passenger trains and development of railroad intermodal services (at least on the Southern Railway) is much more intertwined than I believe is typically understood. There is a considerable amount of information in the SRHA archives that details how the Southern wanted to get out of the passenger business but did not want to lose the revenues from the Post Office. The PO started the shift to regional distribution centers at the same time reduced passenger train schedules made using the railroads to move the mail less of an option.
Terminal mail handling facilities, and people, were a railroad expense passed along to the Post Office. The PO accepted the Southern’s offer to containerize mail “door to door” at PO facilities with drayage by the railroad. The process began with the Southern stopping passenger trains at its new intermodal terminals to pick up and drop off Southern owned containers on CTTX flat cars. As the Post Office developed its regional distribution system, passenger train schedules (not easily altered because of established departure and arrival times) became more of a problem for the mail, the PO asked if dedicated freight trains could be operated. (Bypassing passenger terminals with containerized mail was a serious revenue loss for the terminals.)
SR President D.W. Brosnan (known to hate passenger services and anything not seen as an efficient moneymaker), agreed even if it meant running very short trains. The railroad offered selected shippers the opportunity to ship trailers on those same trains and “intermodal” services in the Southeast began. (The first interline services (in the East) appear to have been between the Southern and the B&O, another user of CTTX flats. The PRR, via Pot Yard was less interested as they considered N-S traffic short-haul business.)
So…my question about Flexi-Vans. Were they promoted by the Post Office or did railroads simply see them as an effective way to carry containers? The Southern Flexi-Van flats were all sold (?) to the NYC and the Strick containers (not easily adapted for std PB) were welded to chassis to become trailers as the Southern expanded its “Rail-Highway” strategy