Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Securing removable loads

I have mentioned in a previous post a technique I use for some loads which are for flat cars. This is just to locate the loads securely on the deck. (You can read it at: .) The “locator bar” or load-holder bar is simply a strip of flat brass bar stock, bent to just span the car deck, and painted to conceal it. If the bar extends into a stake pocket, I usually paint it black (an old theatrical technique, which recognizes that things painted black tend to be invisible). If the bar extends down over the car side, I will usually paint the ends boxcar red, to blend into any flat car of that color.
     To illustrate this locator bar as I did in that original post, here is a repeat of one of the photos used there. In this case, the brass strip is attached to a diesel engine load. End blocking is present too.

When in place on a flat car, this bar is all but invisible.
     One drawback to this method is that the turned-down ends of the brass strip are intended to fit into stake pockets on the flat car. But not all model flat cars are the same width over the pockets, so to some extend one has to choose which make of model flat car will accept any particular load. For example, the Tichy 40-foot flat car is exactly 9 scale feet over inside pocket surfaces, while the Proto2000 (now Walthers) car is 9 feet, 1 inch. The Red Caboose SP flat car, and the Athearn cars, are 9 feet, 3 inches, and the WestRail flat car, of a slightly different design, is 9 feet 8 inches. What this means is that a load with any particular length of locator bar will not work for all flat cars. I write on the bottom of the load, which model manufacturers’ cars it fits.
     My current project for a load securement like this is the Kewanee boilers sold by Resin Car Works (this is their Load 01, which can be seen on their web page at: ). They are sold as a pair, but of course one can handle and load them independently, so one could have two cars with one boiler each, or a single car with two boilers. My thought was to add a locator bar to each boiler, plus wood blocking to conceal the locator bar (as in the above photo).
     First, I added a “floor” piece inside the boiler, then notched the sides and glued down a piece of flat brass wire in the notches. In this case, I used the width of the Proto2000 deck, as noted on the underside. This view looks directly down on the locator bar, so the “prongs” that go into the stake pockets are only visible on end.

When this locator bar is put into use, the boiler sits properly on the flat car deck. Shown below is one of the boilers on a flat car, so far without the blocking or any signs. I have indicated the locator bar with the black arrow. Even if left bare, as you see here, it is not obvious, and a coat of black paint would certainly make it fairly hard to see.

     I added some blocking with scale 4 x 4-inch stripwood, and a piece of 1 x 4 atop the locator bar. A graphic for the Kewanee brand is included in the kit instructions, so I scanned that and printed it out in a size that fits on the boiler model. The kit also includes hold-down straps, which I may add also.

Here are both boilers on a 40-foot Tichy flat car, positioned over the trucks as in the prototype photo included on the Resin Car Works site about these loads. The flat car has yet to be weathered.

     I have used this technique of securing loads for some time now, and still find it effective in putting loads onto flat cars and having them stay where I want them. It’s easy to do. If you have any loads that don’t stay where you want on flat cars, you might try this solution.
Tony Thompson

1 comment:

  1. Nice idea Tony. I've been wondering how to secure removable loads to flat cars.