1. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

    a previous thread Capitol Limited has morphed into TOFC talk, so I am starting over here. A few other members offered some good information on that thread.
    I have been researching 50's era TOFC for my future layout.
    I plan on a yard that demonstrates circus loading with chains and hitches, clejan, and flexi-van service, with a narrative that a local industry has special trailers carry fragile equipment to be sent to different mainlines using different methods.
    I found a link to Railway Age magazine with some really good pictures and descriptions. This issue is from July 1st 1957.
    I will post a series or articles FYI
    this one is on a new tractor for circus loading. Note that both the front and rear axles steer.

    Any new operation which starts with
    conventional, existing equipment soon
    develops specialized gear for the
    specific job—and piggyback is no exception.
    Latest device to leave the drawing
    board and enter the pilot-model stage
    is a high-mobility “Trailer Spotter,”
    developed by Four Wheel Drive Auto
    Company, Clintonville, Wis.
    Designed for maneuverability in
    congested areas, the “Trailer Spotter”
    features a driver's seat which rotates
    around a center steering column—thus
    enabling the driver to face in the direction of movement at all times. Two
    sets of accelerator and air brake pedals are provided, one for forward operation, the other for reverse.
    A single steering wheel guides the
    front wheels, with simultaneous or
    separate steering of rear wheels provided by a control lever on the steering column. Both steering controls are
    power assisted.
    “TRAILER SPOTTER” in action,
    backing truck trailer onto flat car in
    tests at Chicago. Cab offset permits
    driver to see alongside trailer during
    Two special features—a hydraulic
    elevating fifth wheel and a rear cab
    door—permit the driver to hook up,
    move and detach trailers without get
    ting down from the cab. The cab it
    self is offset to the left of the engine,
    to permit the driver to see back along
    side the trailer.
    Power is transmitted to the axle
    backing operation; seat swivel has
    driver always facing direction of
    beneath the fifth wheel to drive the
    rear wheels. Four-wheel drive is avail
    able as an optional feature and a
    single-axle drive can be converted to
    four-wheel drive by changing the front
    axle and installing an extra propeller shaft. FWD’s “Trailer Spotter” is
    rated, according to the manufacturer,
    for kingpin loads up to 26,000 lb.
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  2. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member


    New Dolly'
    Fits Any Trailer—)
    A so-called “universal dolly” now makes it possible to
    quickly adapt any highway trailer for use with the Piggy
    Back, Inc., center-sill flat car.
    The new dolly is designed to help truckers lick an
    interchange problem. They needed a fast way to equip a
    trailed received in interchange so it could be forwarded on
    the center-sill car. Their own trailers, of course, have permanent dollies.
    Two men can install the new dolly on any trailer in
    under two minutes. Piggy-Back reports that all purchasers …
    of its cars soon will be using the dolly unit as regular UNIVERSAL DOLLY is simple in design, weighs just over
    equipment. 400 lbs and will fit any trailer rear axle. upload_2019-7-18_19-21-53.png

    this turns a regular trailer into a clejan style TOFC

    Attached Files:

    Kurt Moose likes this.
  3. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    Interesting detail, with the trailer doors crossbraced against opening in transit. Forget the weathering here; use Glosscote instead. :)


    Fun Fact: Federal regulations forbade U.S. railroads from owning truck lines engaged in interstate transportation and most states enforced the same on intrastate carriage. Railroads could provide highway transportation only when "auxiliary and supplementary" to rail service. Piggyback fit the bill because it was primarily a rail service.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    acptulsa and Kurt Moose like this.
  5. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

    great picture of the chain down style
    upload_2019-7-19_16-6-59.png h
  6. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

    here's a picture of the hitch being operated with hydraulic wrench

    Attached Files:

  7. Tom Crofton

    Tom Crofton TrainBoard Member

    some horizontal ribbed vans on hitch equipped 50'(?) flat
    BNSF FAN, Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    I visited the Classic Trains Magazine website today and happened upon a photo of an MILW pig trailer flat being spun on a turntable to get it properly oriented for unloading. I'd never thought of this vexing aspect of circus-style operations.
    acptulsa likes this.
  9. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    The Cotton Belt tried to do TOFC in the early 1930's, but no one seemed to care. Not many people realize it, but door-to-door delivery had little to do with it becoming a "thing".

    In 1952, when the Santa Fe started doing it, they touted that. They didn't want to state the real reason for it, because it would have involved airing dirty politics of a sort in public.

    Nothing keeps lettuce crisper than ice. That's not the only sort of fresh produce that travels best on ice, either. So, a great many farmers loved ice reefers, and fought against mechanical reefers. They threatened to boycott any railroad that operated them.

    The Santa Fe had lots of that sort of customers. It's no accident they were one of the last roads to get mechanical reefers, about 1955. But they did want to haul frozen food, which was a fast growing industry.

    You might notice all of the Santa Fe's early piggyback trailers were reefers...
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  10. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

  11. BnOEngrRick

    BnOEngrRick TrainBoard Member

    Hmm, that might explain why the B&O trailer ramp was right across the street from the roundhouse in Rossford OH.
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  12. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

    When the B&O Ramp in Baltimore was located at Wicomoco Street - the ramp facility had 4 'straight' tracks each able to hold 7 intermodal cars for circus style unloading with Westward facing tractors. The ramp also had 2 'reverse' tracks that held a total of 7 cars for circus style unloading with Eastward facing tractors. All loading and unloading was done on these 6 tracks. A Road Train would arrive and the yard crew would spot the 35 car slots full - the ramp personnel would unsecure and unload all the trailers; then begin the process of reloading the cars with Outbound traffic. 3 tricks a day, 7 days a week. Most days between 75 and 90 cars were handled each day.

    All cars were TTX style flats with stanchions that raised and lowered.

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