We want to provide a resource for modelers, sharing information and making recommendations so you can assemble an accurate consist for the train you want to model, and operating it prototypically. This resource is updated as new projects and trains are announced.
Kasgro Heavy Duty Specialty Flat Cars
As you assemble your kit or decide afterwards, you may want to customize or weather your car. We recommend going to the Kasgro website here to learn how loads are secured and cleaned after each use. The pictures and instructions offer great insight to how the cars are used and what they can look like after years of service. Other ideas on weathering, load types or how loads are placed, can be found at http://www.rrpicturearchives.net
Because of the size and weight of the loads used on the 12, 16, and 20 axle cars, the loads are welded directly to the car, or temporary steel brackets are used to weld the load to the car. The latter is the case for transformers and similar loads, where small steel brackets are welded to the ends and bottom sides of the transformer, then to the deck or side of the car. Chains and cables are generally not needed or used as they are too weak to secure loads this heavy. Railfan Models’ loads are modeled in this manner.
On smaller or odd shaped loads, steel rods or plate can be welded from the load to the shear plates or the red brackets that are part of the car. This can be a great way to customize a load, but may limit your ability to remove the load easily.
In some instances the load may be heavier on one side than the other, and counterweights are welded to the one side of the upper deck to keep the car balanced. However there is no way to securely mount such counterweights without some type of glue, so they would most likely be permanently installed.
Operationally, there are several things to consider when running your cars on the layout.
- Prototype cars with 12 axles or greater will usually have buffer cars on both ends when loaded. The use of buffer cars is generally dictated by weight restrictions on bridges, or condition of track. Buffer cars can be any empty general purpose car the railroad has on hand. Crews prefer empty flat cars or gondolas so the load can be visible from the locomotive(s), but boxcars, hoppers, bulkhead and centerbeam flats are used too. Specialized cars, like tank cars, spine cars, and autoracks are generally not used as buffer cars.
- Loaded cars are usually placed at the front of consist, and normally just behind the locomotives. Loaded cars are generally moved with regular freight between major yards or terminals. But when moving from the origination point and to the final destination from the local yard or terminal, the loaded car is usually moved by itself (with buffer cars as required) and not mixed with other local freight.
- Occasionally, a customer may need to move several heavy items at the same time, and a dedicated train will move from them the origin to destination. These types of moves can also include one or more cabooses to allow customer representatives and/or security personnel to travel with the loads. There is no switching of cars en route, but locomotives may be swapped if transferring to another railroad.
- These heavy duty flat cars are not designed to go through hump yards. Some cars have “DO NOT HUMP” placards and signs on them, otherwise the load may have temporary signs displayed.
- Light cars (without loads) can be placed anywhere in a consist. This is because one of these empty cars weighs more than most other loaded types of cars.
- Finally, you should also consider the speed limits of the prototype cars when you run yours. Loaded cars are typically 25 MPH, and light at 45 MPH. So no 70 MPH intermodal trains for these cars.
Loads for Heavy Duty Flat Cars
Transformers come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, but are almost always painted some shade of light to medium grey. Sometimes temporary plywood paneling is used to cover cabinets on the ends or other sensitive components mounted to the transformer. Signs are occasionally placed on the transformers to provide some warning or instructions to anyone handling the car or load. Usually this is “DO NOT HUMP.”