Transporting very long bits of freight

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Transporting very long bits of freight

3330
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003, 09:42

03 Nov 2017, 03:32 #1

Gentlemen:
In the early days of the last century the shipyard in Noank received numerous consignments of spar-stock from the Pacific Northwest.  According to the local paper, these could be up to 120 feet and spread out over two or three freight cars.  For a while it seems that unloading these were done by steam lighter (derrick barge in the Mystic River) while the train stood halted on the main line.  Later the New Haven installed an additional siding at Noank than ran parallel  and very close to the river, thus not blocking the main. Am I right in assuming that there were special cars for these types of loads?  Were they fitted with turntables/pivots to ease them around curves?  History records the delivery from the PNW to SE Connecticut could take a month or two and cost up to $1000 (1906 dollars).  Can anyone fill in any blanks?  Thanks,
John Wilbur 3330
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rsullivan
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Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

03 Nov 2017, 06:11 #2

Mr. Wilbur. Shoreliner, vol. 24, iss. 4, has two articles addressing the oversize loads being moved by rail. While neither addresses your question specifically, they can explain how the New Haven moved the oversize loads. Mr. Wayne Drummond's "High, Wide & Heavy Oversize Loads" provides oodles of vintage pictures from the past century ranging from Gun Car 7900 built in 1903 to an August 14, 1963 over-dimension move on the Naugatuck line. The center spread on pages 20 and 21 is the March 1, 1957, NYNH&HRR Car Clearance diagram. The diagram shows how over-dimension loads were to be loaded on various standard freight cars, mostly flat cars. You can see black squares that are probably the pivot points you are asking about. All route restrictions are listed (I think). A second article by Mr. David Squires titled "High and Wide" also has some of his experiences as chief clerk of the South Norwalk freight house. Specifically, moves for the Norwalk Tank Company / Norwalk Fabricators were shown in the two pictures and discussed. He also mentioned several other companies that shipped through his freight house. Hope this helps some.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #967
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Statkowski
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Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

03 Nov 2017, 12:09 #3

To answer the original, basic question, the cars generally used were normal, run-of-the-mill flatcars.  Any pivot mechanisms would have been added to the flatcar by the shipper.
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NH746EJO
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007, 00:18

03 Nov 2017, 19:54 #4

LOADING ACCORDING TO THE RULES
Following are some pages which show how to load long poles or long lumber using two or more flat cars.  The pages are from Association Of American Railroads Rules Governing the Loading of Commodities On Open Top Cars.  (The book has 445 pages.)  The rules were adopted in 1896, advanced to standard in 1908 and revised to 1944.  Note that there is no need for a turntable; the load slides on curves.  Bear in mind railroad curves are not very sharp.  I checked how it would work on a model using three flat cars and a 120 foot load and the overhang at the center on a curve that would be very sharp on the real thing was not excessive.  The center overhang was about at the end of the ties but would not sideswipe cars on the next track.
IMG_0002-005.jpg IMG_0003-001.jpg IMG_0001-001.jpg
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3330
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003, 09:42

06 Nov 2017, 01:43 #5

Very interesting. Thanks for the answers.
John Wilbur 3330
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frn1963
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Joined: 29 Aug 2003, 20:15

06 Nov 2017, 13:20 #6

Interesting - I assume the brake wheel/stand would be removed on the idler. What was the purpose of the wires called out as item D in the first diagram? Was it simply to brace the stakes (item B) or was there a purpose associated with the load?


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NH746EJO
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007, 00:18

06 Nov 2017, 14:28 #7

frn1963 wrote: Interesting - I assume the brake wheel/stand would be removed on the idler.  What was the purpose of the wires called out as item D in the first diagram?  Was it simply to brace the stakes (item B) or was there a purpose associated with the load?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Many, if not most flatcars had a brake wheel and rod that dropped vertically so that it could be placed even with the deck.  The wire was to keep the stakes from spreading -- often the wire was a piece of wood.
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Statkowski
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Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

06 Nov 2017, 16:07 #8

Back before tie-down chains with latching mechanisms and tie-down straps were invented/created, annealed iron wire was used to secure loads.  With multiple strands wrapped around whatever it was that needed such, the wire was twisted taut using a pipe, iron rod or spare piece of wood.  For pipes and pieces of lumber on a flatcar, this kept the entire package as one unit.  For vehicles, it kept the vehicle from moving, not only forward or backward, but also sideways.  
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bogman102
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Joined: 10 Oct 2007, 09:40

06 Nov 2017, 18:24 #9

All very interesting! About what time period were ratcheting tie downs developed and put into use?
Also for the tie downs were the straps fiberglass, canvas or similar? I'd imagine they are Kevlar or similar today?
I do know that chain binders were in use before ratcheting tie downs.
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

06 Nov 2017, 19:43 #10

I'd say that ratcheting tie downs came into general use following the military's use of such in Vietnam.  The US Air Force's 463-L system uses 5,000 and 25,000-pound capacity tie down chains and nylon 5,000-pound capacity tie down straps aboard its cargo aircraft.  This system transferred over to civilian use and we now see tie down chains routinely used on railroad cars and both chains and nylon straps on cargo trucks.

Prior to that everything was big wooden chock blocks for wheeled and tracked vehicles combined with annealed iron wire twisted tight, or steel cable and cable clamps.  Strapping was steel.  Securing and unsecuring was a labor intensive process, plus you also had the problem of disposing of the used lumber, wire and steel strapping.

The use of chain binders may predate the use of ratchets, but maybe by not all that much.

And, whether using steel or nylon strapping, or steel cable, or tie down chains, you've got to know the weight of the item being shipped, the degree of restraint required (which varies per mode of transport) and the weight capacity of whatever it is that you're tying down the cargo with.  
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