Freight Car Friday – Bulkhead Flatcars

Lionel Trains

Flatcars are one of the most simple freight car designs, but also one of the easiest to adapt to special loads. One of the most common adaptations is the use of fixed ends, or bulkheads, to protect neighboring cars from a load that shifts during transit.

pipe load Pipe loads clearly show the safety gained by the bulkheads on the ends of the car. Even with the straps and wood blocking, this load could shift in transit.

A large load, like a long train, has a lot of momentum. A quick start or a sudden stop caused by the slack action of the couplers at the end of a long train, an emergency brake application, or just a hard coupling in the yard may be enough to break the tie-down straps and send a flatcar’s load hurtling beyond the end of the car. This is dangerous in any circumstance, but if the…

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