Freight Car Friday – TOFC Flatcars

Lionel Trains

Today’s intermodal equipment takes many forms. For decades however, there was only one standard – the flatcar.

early flat An early Trailer Train 75′ flatcar is preserved at the Virginia Museum of Transportation with a load of two Sea Land containers on chassis. It is hard to imagine a more perfect car to describe the heritage of the modern railroad era!

The origins of TOFC, or Trailer On FlatCar, service began in the Nineteenth Century. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s however that the service began to grow into the important traffic source we know today. The common term “Piggyback” as applied to this service actually originated with Pullman Standard advertising in 1954.

In the first decades of TOFC, two types of flatcars emerged. New cars dedicated for hauling trailers were built, most to a length of 75′. The cars were long enough to hold a pair of 35′ trailers. While the cars were…

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