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Foster the growth of piggybacking, provide its members with the best available equipment, and keep its members abreast of new developments.
The first Board of Directors meeting for Trailer Train in December 1955 quickly set about meeting these objectives; authorizing the purchase of Trailer Train’s first equipment – 500 75’ flat cars from the Pennsylvania Railroad. Trailer Train went into operation in March 1956 and a young and growing company faced its first challenge in 1957, when Congress considered the Interstate Highway Act and trailer sizes increased to 40’ in length. The new 85’ flat cars of 1958 featured standardized components such as hitches, trucks and brake equipment. The adoption of the 85’ flat is intertwined with Trailer Train’s formation and the growth of it and intermodal as a whole. The first 85’ flat was introduced by Pullman Standard in December 1958 and was followed by ACF in 1959 and Bethlehem Steel in 1960. ACF developed the first screw-operated TOFC hitch in 1955 and it is likely that all 85’ flats were delivered with an ACF Model A hitch. To combat this, early Trailer Train intermodal flat cars featured provisions to secure the rear of the trailer to the flat car with chains. All cars were delivered in the Pennsy influenced mineral red paint with an off-white anti-skid paint. Pullman Standard built almost 4,000 85’ flat cars for Trailer Train between 1958 and 1963, with a design that prominently features additional side sill support over the trucks and disaster chain tie-down bars at the mid-point and A end of the car.
American Car and Foundry built just over 3,500 85′ flat cars for Trailer Train, between 1958 and 1963. The later phase of cars, such as TTX 650114 built in 1962-63, lack the side sill wings but still include a thin rod on the sill for trailer tie-down, which may have also been later removed as cars were serviced. By the time Bethlehem started building its version of the 85′ flat car, confidence in the trailer hitches ability to adequately secure the trailer to the flat must have increased. In 2012, Trainworx released models of the Pullman Standard 85ft Flat Cars in both drop-sill and straight-sill variations.
Ever the resourceful company, Trailer Train soon found other uses for these cars and many found second lives in MTTX (multi-purpose), ZTTX (long pole) service and JTTX (shipper specific) service. The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of Jim Eager, Jim Kinkaid, John Gillies, Chris vanderHeide and Kent Charles for the information and photographs supplied and to the modelintermodal Yahoo Group members for their efforts in documenting and discussing intermodal transportation equipment and operations. Casdorph, David “The Freight Car Data Book: Trailer Train Company TTX Company” Society of Freight Car Historians, 1st Edition, 1995.
Panza, Jim “Thirty-five years of Trailer Train” Railroad Model Craftsman Magazine, Carstens Publications, July 1990, Page 72.

Panza, Jim “Thirty-five years of Trailer Train – Part 2” Railroad Model Craftsman Magazine, Carstens Publications, August 1990, Page 74. Panza, Jim “Trailer Hitches, Part 2: Modelling ACF Model 2 Hitches in HO” Railmodel Journal Magazine, Golden Bell Press, July 2001, Page 40.
Wilson, Jeff “The Model Railroader’s Guide to Intermodal Equipment and Operations”, Kalmbach Books, 1998.
The Pennsy had seen its Truc-Train service, between South Kearny, NJ and Chicago become immediately successful due to their new 75’ flat car’s ability to carry two 35’ trailers at a time – the standard trailer length of the day. Now that railroads were focusing on truckers as a source of revenue, this was a major problem – 75’ flat cars could not handle two 40’ trailers at a time and the efficiencies of piggyback would be lost.
It was a bold decision for the young company, that had now grown to represent 10 companies and it strengthened its management and capability away from the conservative elements, for it (collectively) wore the financial risk of the new cars. Trailer Train’s membership continued to grow and by 1959 member railroads accounted for more than 40% of Class 1 mileage in the United States. In 1960 the General American transportation freight car pool was disbanded and most members joined Trailer Train, Class 1 mileage for the company now accounted for 74% of the US total.
These cars had a standard deck height of 3’-5 ? ” and they all featured the same basic raised side sill design where the top of the sill extends above the deck. These “disaster” chains were wrapped around the trailer bumper and hooked to a bar heavily secured to the side sill.
These were often incorporated into the Trailer Train fleet when the railroads joined the Company.
Cars built before 1960, such as TTX479357 shown above in the article header featured a fishbelly side sill profile (“early” phase) and those built 1960 and after feature a straight sill side profile (“late” phase), such as TTX473930 below. Like the late phase ACF car, these cars only feature a thin rod on the side sill as alternative method of tie-down. The first two hundred of these cars were built by Bethlehem Steel in 1954 and the final 300 were built in-house at the Pennsy’s Hollidaysburg (PA) shops, all were assigned in PRR class F39.
As an interim measure, Trailer Train bought 256 50’ flat cars from the Pennsy to cater for this emerging load and equipped them with a newly developed trailer hitch. The railroads were impressed with Trailer Train’s ability to manage and maintain its growing fleet. The first era of intermodal was coming to an end and most of the early problems such as equipment standardization, load fastening, interchange and adoption had been solved. As these cars were loaded “circus-style” the raised sills were used to assist the reversing of trailers into position.

These risers were made from 3-inch by 10-inch by 10 foot long oak boards with a 12 inch chamfer on each end. Some cars were delivered with CTTX reporting marks and these cars were equipped with removable bolsters and pedestals to carry containers and some were delivered with STTX reporting marks to signify cars that were leased to a specific shipper – they were in a special rate schedule (Plan IV) were the shipper provides the trailer and the flatcar. Other leasers, such as the Transport Leasing Company, also purchased these cars for intermodal service. These cars used tie-down chains and loops on the center sill to secure trailers to the cars, prior to the development of the trailer hitch.
After losing most of the new automobile distribution traffic to trucks, the railroads turned to Trailer Train to provide cars for automobile service and the first auto racks were mounted to 85’ standard level flat cars. In the early 1960s the 89’ length flat car was introduced for autorack and intermodal use and would be the industry backbone for the next thirty years, but that will be covered in future articles.
They were all equipped with bridge-plates to transfer the trailer from car to car in their long strings.
Beginning in late 1977 these wooden risers were replaced with steel risers of 3 inch by 4 inch by 10 foot long formed channel, with a 10 inch long chamfer on each end.
As hitches proved their reliability over time, the requirement for disaster chains disappeared and side sill design evolved on the 85’ cars. CTTX and STTX marks were not in use for very long and these cars were reassigned TTX reporting marks in TOFC only service. Further information on the F39 cars can be found in Jim Panza’s article in the July 1990 Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. From this very beginning, Trailer Train provided the flat car to the member railroad that owned the auto rack and even today owns very few racks itself. Typically, 4 risers were used each side of the hitch, but cars with 3 or 5 risers have also been observed. In the mid-1970s, Trailer Train worked with ACF to improve the Model A hitch resulting in a hitch with beefier vertical struts and modified top plate.
These improvements were based on the improved ACF Model 2 hitch that had been released on the 89’ flats of the early 1960s.

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  • Qruzin, 07.07.2015 at 12:41:21
    Far more functions and far more enjoyable although running via mobile devices, as nicely.
  • YARALI_OGLAN, 07.07.2015 at 23:21:29
    We at Vintage Trains would like tree, but we want to watch him have.
  • JO_KOKER, 07.07.2015 at 18:49:11
    #903 kit has all the parts.