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Thread: Articulated Autorack?

  1. #1

    Default Articulated Autorack?

    The first photo is of the autorack in question. There were two of them on this all-autorack train (I took this in LaFox about a week ago). It doesn't have any railroad's logos on it, just TTX's, and it seems to be double length compared to "normal" racks. You can see what looks like a rubber accordion thing between the two halves, like those articulated city buses.

    So, is it what I think it is (a double-long autorack)? Or something else entirely?

    -Doug

    PS-I included three other autorack photos simply because I had them handy. All were on the same train heading into Chicago.

  2. #2
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    that's exactly what it is. the cargo (vehicles) is very low density, and doesn't need the 4th truck (required of 2 separate racks). 2 less wheels is that much less rolling friction and less weight, meaning fuel savings for the railroads; and less maintenance $$ for the rack owners.

    It's only the limits of the loading /unloading facilities that prevents the entire train from being articulated.
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  3. #3
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    Oh yeah, there are quite a few of these running around for TTX and a few of the class Is. It's not quite double-long, IIRC it's 160'.
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  4. #4

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    There are a lot of those on the NS Peidmont and a lot of them have ttx reporting marks. I wish I could make half of what they are making leasing these things out.
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  5. #5

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    Note that the railcars themselves in the other pictures (the conventional single car TTGXs) are also TTX owned cars. The railroads in those cases own the rack, but TTX owns the car.

  6. #6

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    That would make perfect sense seeing as those cars bear the respective railroads' logos.
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  7. #7

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    Well! Thanks for the quick responses, all! I'd never seen an articulated one before, and this one looked "off" as it approached. Like I said, there were two of 'em on this particular train.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Sand View Post
    Note that the railcars themselves in the other pictures (the conventional single car TTGXs) are also TTX owned cars. The railroads in those cases own the rack, but TTX owns the car.
    Y'know, I'd noticed that most every autorack I see has TTX marks down on the car, but big railroad logos up top. Seems like a sweet deal-you need both to move autos, right? I guess TTX still has a flatbed car on which to put, say, a loaded trailer, but the rack's pretty useless without something underneath, right?

    I included the other photos partially to show the "normal" autoracks (in case it was difficult to tell the artic from a normal one), and partially because the railroad logos on them were a little unusual for these parts. Actually, I've seen GT and TFM before, but a green BN was unusual, as was the new BNSF in front of it.

    -Doug

  8. #8

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    BNSF came up with the original concept; the original cars were called AutoMax (for obvious reasons) and were built by Gunderson. TTX and some of the other Class 1 roads adopted the idea as well. They're a fairly common sight here in Albuquerque; there's usually one or two empty cars parked along with the other empty autoracks in the former coach yard tracks right across from the Amtrak/RailRunner station platform.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NM_RailNut View Post
    BNSF came up with the original concept; the original cars were called AutoMax (for obvious reasons) and were built by Gunderson. TTX and some of the other Class 1 roads adopted the idea as well. They're a fairly common sight here in Albuquerque; there's usually one or two empty cars parked along with the other empty autoracks in the former coach yard tracks right across from the Amtrak/RailRunner station platform.
    Didn't the AutoMax have tri-level cars?
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Racer View Post
    Y'know, I'd noticed that most every autorack I see has TTX marks down on the car, but big railroad logos up top. Seems like a sweet deal-you need both to move autos, right? I guess TTX still has a flatbed car on which to put, say, a loaded trailer, but the rack's pretty useless without something underneath, right? -Doug
    There are a whole host of reasons why they wound up having the rack (appurtenance) separate from the car.

    To some degree, there was originally the idea that you could use the flatcar for purposes other than autos, such as using it in conventional TOFC service. In practice, however, this almost never happened, as the deck structure wound up being specialized for whatever kind of service it was in.

    The real reason was so the cars could be pooled. Prior to deregulation the only real entity who could manage large car pools was Trailer Train (now TTX) so all the cars were to be owned and managed by Trailer Train.

    The owning roads, however, decided to keep the racks in their own names. So, a road using an auto rack would pay both TTX (for use of the flat) and whichever railroad owned the rack. The model for this was autopart boxcars, which sometimes carry large racks to hold the parts.

    Appurtenances aren't used much elsewhere, although I think the steel coil tops are considered as such.

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