If you mean just coupling the cars together, that doesn't take anytime at all, just 1 minute or less. However, if you include having to move the engine in place and make sure the cars are loaded correctly then it can take hours.
A Schnabel car is a specialized type of railroad freight car. It is designed to carry heavy and oversized loads in such a way that the load makes up part of the car. The load is suspended between the two ends of the cars by lifting arms; the lifting arms are connected to an assembly of pivots and frames that distribute the weight of the load and the lifting arm over a large number of wheels.
When a Schnabel car is empty, the two lifting arms are connected and the car can usually operate at normal freight train speeds. Some Schnabel cars include hydraulic equipment that will either lift or horizontally shift the load while in transit (at very low speeds) to clear obstructions along the car's route. There are 31 of this type of car in Europe, 30 in North America, 25 in Asia and one in Australia.
The largest Schnabel cars in operation transport the spacecraft to launchpads at the Baikonur Cosmodrome's intra-site rail network. Those are abnormal clearance vehicles based on a regular Russian gauge bogies and couplings.
The largest Schnabel car in public railroads operation, owned by ABB, carries road number CEBX 800, and is used in North America, although it was built by Krupp in Germany in 1982. It has 36 axles (18 for each half). Each half contains nine trucks which are connected by a complex system of span bolsters. Its tare (unloaded) weight is 370 short tons (340 t; 330 long tons). When empty, this car measures 231 ft 8 in (70.61 m) long; it can carry loads up to 113 ft 4 in (34.54 m) long. For comparison, a conventional boxcar currently operating on North American railroads has a single two-axle truck at each end of the car, measures 50 to 89 feet (15.24 to 27.13 m) long and has a capacity of 70 to 105 short tons (64 to 95 t; 63 to 94 long tons). One notable load of CEBX 800 was completed in January 2006, transporting a reactor for Nexen Inc. and OPTI Canada from Duluth, Minnesota to the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta. The 678-tonne (667-long-ton; 747-short-ton) load was the heaviest rail load ever transported on the rails between Edmonton and the oil sands. The reactor vessel was shipped to Duluth in the fall, but was not moved by rail until January to allow the ground to fully freeze and support the load.
The word Schnabel is from German Tragschnabelwagen, meaning "carrying-beak-wagon", because of the usually tapered shape of the lifting arms, resembling a bird's beak.
A hopper car is a type of railroad freight car used to transport loose bulk commodities such as coal, ore, grain and track ballast. Two main types of hopper car exist: covered hopper cars, which are equipped with a roof, and open hopper cars, which do not have a roof.
This type of car is distinguished from a gondola car in that it has opening doors on the underside or on the sides to discharge its cargo. The development of the hopper car went along with the development of automated handling of such commodities, with automated loading and unloading facilities.
Covered hopper cars are used for bulk cargo such as grain, sugar, and fertilizer that must be protected from exposure to the weather. Open hopper cars are used for commodities such as coal, which can suffer exposure with less detrimental effect. Hopper cars have been used by railways worldwide whenever automated cargo handling has been desired. "Ore jennies" is predominately a term for shorter open hopper cars hauling taconite by the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway on Minnesota's Iron Range.
Recently in North America the open hopper car has been in a terminal decline due to the advent of the rotary car dumper (which simply inverts the car to unload it, and has become the preferred unloading technology)][. A rotary dumper permits the use of simpler and more compact (because sloping ends are not required) gondola cars instead of hoppers. Covered hoppers, though, are still in widespread use.
The Coke Express, a unit train of hopper cars loaded with coke, with the words "Coke Express" painted on the sides of the hoppers.
Increase in wheel loads has important implications for the rail infrastructure needed to accommodate future grain hopper car shipments. The weight of the car is transmitted to the rails and the underlying track structure through these wheel loads. As wheel loads increase, track maintenance expenses increase and the ability of a given rail weight, ballast depth, and tie configuration to handle prolonged rail traffic decreases. Moreover, the ability of a given bridge to handle prolonged rail traffic also decreases as wheel loads increase.
The word "hopper", meaning a "container with a narrow opening at bottom", goes back to the 13th century, and is found in Chaucer's story "The Reeve's Tale" (written late 1300's) in reference to a machine for grinding grain into flour.
In US railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail track.
Before the opening of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), considerable amounts of coal were carried via the Potomac River. Since timber was an abundant resource, flat boats, called "gondolas" (a spoof on Venetian rowing boats), were constructed to navigate the "black diamonds" down river to markets around Washington, DC. There, both the boat and cargo were sold and the boatmen returned home by foot. The railroad cars first employed in the haulage of coal were thus named after these shallow-draft boats called "gondola cars".
Early gondola cars typically had low sides. Their contents had to be shoveled out by hand, and they took a long time to unload. In 1905, the Ralston Steel Car Company patented a flat bottom gondola with lever operated chutes that allowed the gondola to be unloaded automatically from the bottom. The chutes would direct the contents of the gondola to the sides. This coincided with the switch from wood to steel freight cars, as the pulling force of locomotives tended to crush the older wood cars.
An open railroad car (gondola) with a tipping trough, often found in mines. Known in the UK as a tippler or chaldron wagon. Known in the USA as a mine car.
The first railway bulk-cargo gondolas, indeed the first freight wagons, were the chaldron cars of the early coal-carrying plateways. These were relatively short and tall in proportion, with a tapered body that widened upwards, above the wheels. Once locomotive haulage began, the unstable and top-heavy nature of this design became a problem with increasing speeds and later wagons became lower and longer. The chaldron shape survived in a few cases, such as low-speed working around a large factory site, such as a steelworks.
In the second half of the 20th century, coal haulage shifted from open hopper cars to high-sided gondolas. Using a gondola, the railroads are able to haul a larger amount of coal per car since gondolas do not include the equipment needed for unloading. However, since these cars do not have hatches for unloading the products shipped in them, railroads must use rotary car dumpers (mechanisms that hold a car against a short section of track as the car and track are slowly rotated upside down to empty the car) or other means to empty them. The term "bathtub" refers to the shape of the car.
Coil cars (also referred to as "steel coil cars" or "coil steel cars") are a specialized type of rolling stock designed for the transport of coils (i.e., rolls) of sheet metal, particularly steel. They are considered a subtype of the gondola car, though they bear little resemblance to a typical gondola.
Specialized cars designed to carry intermodal containers (shipping containers) resemble traditional gondolas, although their floors are usually partially open. A depressed center section provides a floor which is only 14 inches (360 mm) above the rails. This stabilizes the container by lowering the center of gravity, it also allows double-stacking on those lines where the structure gauge is sufficiently high. It is always impossible to double-stack on regular flatcars because there exists no structure gauge which would allow that. It is also used to transport shipping containers single-stacked on those lines with an insufficiently high structure gauge. Single-unit well cars exist, but 3- and 5-car articulated sets are common. These reduce weight by reducing the number of trucks by nearly half, and also reduce the amount of slack in the train since there are fewer couplers. This protects the cargo by reducing the jolts that occur at starting and stopping caused by slack.
Modalohrs are specialized railroad cars for carrying road trailers and road tractors on the AFF route from France to Italy and Luxembourg to Spain and vice versa; there are plans to expand this service. A deck between the bogies (trucks) pivots (swings) 30°, allowing the trailers to be loaded from the sides. For details see the official sites or. The cars are built by Lohr Industrie.
Track ballast gondolas carry ballast.
A passenger car (known as a coach or carriage in the UK, and also known as a bogie in India) is a piece of railway rolling stock that is designed to carry passengers. The term passenger car can also be associated with a sleeping car, baggage, dining, railway post office and prisoner transport cars.
Up until about the end of the 19th century, most passenger cars were constructed of wood. The first passenger trains did not travel very far, but they were able to haul many more passengers for a longer distance than any wagons pulled by horses.
As railways were first constructed in England, so too were the first passenger cars. One of the early coach designs was the "Stanhope". It featured a roof and small holes in the floor for drainage when it rained, and had separate compartments for different classes of travel. The only problem with this design is that the passengers were expected to stand for their entire trip. The first passenger cars in the United States resembled stagecoaches. They were short, often less than 10 ft (3 m) long and had two axles.
British railways had a little bit of a head start on American railroads, with the first "bed-carriage" (an early sleeping car) being built there as early as 1838 for use on the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway. Britain's early sleepers, when made up for sleeping, extended the foot of the bed into a boot section at the end of the carriage. The cars were still too short to allow more than two or three beds to be positioned end to end.
Britain's Royal Mail commissioned and built the first Travelling Post Office cars in the late 1840s as well. These cars resembled coaches in their short wheelbase and exterior design, but were equipped with nets on the sides of the cars to catch mail bags while the train was in motion. American RPOs, first appearing in the 1860s, also featured equipment to catch mail bags at speed, but the American design more closely resembled a large hook that would catch the mailbag in its crook. When not in use, the hook would swivel down against the side of the car to prevent it from catching obstacles.
As locomotive technology progressed in the mid-19th century, trains grew in length and weight. Passenger cars, particularly in America, grew along with them, first getting longer with the addition of a second truck (one at each end), and wider as their suspensions improved. Cars built for European use featured side door compartments, while American car design favored what was called a train coach, a single long cabin with rows of seats, with doors located at the ends of the car. Early American sleeping cars were not compartmented, but by the end of the 19th century they were. The compartments in the later sleepers were accessed from a side hall running the length of the cars, similar to the design of European cars well into the 20th century.
Many American passenger trains, particularly the long distance ones, included a car at the end of the train called an observation car. Until about the 1930s, these had an open-air platform at the rear, the "observation platform". These evolved into the closed end car, usually with a rounded end which was still called an "observation car". The interiors of observation cars varied. Many had special chairs and tables.
The end platforms of all passenger cars changed around the turn of the 20th century. Older cars had open platforms between cars. Passengers would enter and leave a car through a door at the end of the car which led to a narrow platform. Steps on either side of the platform were used for getting on or off the train, and one might hop from one car platform to another. Later cars had enclosed platforms called vestibules which together with gangway connections allowed passengers not only to enter and exit the train protected from the elements, but also to move more easily between cars with the same protection.
Dining cars first appeared in the late 1870s and into the 1880s. Until this time, the common practice was to stop for meals at restaurants along the way (which led to the rise of Fred Harvey's chain of Harvey House restaurants in America). At first, the dining car was simply a place to serve meals that were picked up en route, but they soon evolved to include galleys in which the meals were prepared. The introduction of vestibuled cars, which for the first time allowed easy movement from car to car, aided the adoption of dining cars, lounge cars, and other specialized cars.
By the 1920s, passenger cars on the larger standard gauge railroads were normally between 60 ft (18.3 m) and 70 ft (21.3 m) long. The cars of this time were still quite ornate, many of them being built by experienced coach makers and skilled carpenters.
With the 1930s came the widespread use of stainless steel for carbodies. The typical passenger car was now much lighter than its "heavyweight" wood cousins of old. The new "lightweight" and streamlined cars carried passengers in speed and comfort to an extent that had not been experienced to date. Aluminum and Cor-Ten steel were also used in lightweight car construction, but stainless steel was the preferred material for carbodies. It isn't the lightest of materials, nor is it the least expensive, but stainless steel cars could be, and often were, left unpainted except for the car's reporting marks that were required by law.
By the end of the 1930s, railroads and carbuilders were debuting carbody and interior styles that could only be dreamed of before. In 1937, the Pullman Company delivered the first cars equipped with roomettes – that is, the car's interior was sectioned off into compartments, much like the coaches that were still in widespread use across Europe. Pullman's roomettes, however, were designed with the single traveler in mind. The roomette featured a large picture window, a privacy door, a single fold-away bed, a sink and small toilet. The roomette's floor space was barely larger than the space taken up by the bed, but it allowed the traveler to ride in luxury compared to the multilevel semiprivate berths of old.
Now that passenger cars were lighter, they were able to carry heavier loads, but the size of the average passenger that rode in them didn't increase to match the cars' new capacities. The average passenger car couldn't get any wider or longer due to side clearances along the railroad lines, but they generally could get taller because they were still lower than many freight cars and locomotives. So the railroads soon began building and buying dome and bilevel cars to carry more passengers.
Starting in the 1950s, the passenger travel market declined in North America, though there was growth in commuter rail. Private intercity passenger service in the U.S. mostly ended with the creation of Amtrak in 1971. Amtrak took over equipment and stations from most the railroads in the U.S. with intercity service.
The higher clearances in North America enabled a major advancement in passenger car design, bi-level (double-decker) commuter coaches that could hold more passengers. These cars started to become common in the United States in the 1960s, and were adopted by Amtrak for the Superliner design as well as by many other railroads and manufacturers. By the year 2000 double-deckers rivaled single level cars in use around the world.
While intercity passenger rail travel declined in America, ridership continued to increase in other parts of the world. With the increase came an increased use of newer technology on existing and new equipment. The Spanish company Talgo began experimenting in the 1940s with technology that would enable the axles to steer into a curve, allowing the train to move around the curve at a higher speed. The steering axles evolved into mechanisms that would also tilt the passenger car as it entered a curve to counter the centrifugal force experienced by the train, further increasing speeds on existing track. Today, Talgo trains are used in many places in Europe and they have also found a home in North America on some short and medium distance routes such as Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Another type of tilting train that is seeing widespread use across Europe is the Pendolino. These trains, built by Fiat Ferroviaria (now owned by Alstom), are in regular service in Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, Czech Republic and now the United Kingdom. Using tilting trains, railroads are able to run passenger trains over the same tracks at higher speeds than would otherwise be possible.
Amtrak continued to push the development of U.S.-designed passenger equipment even when the market demand didn't support it, ordering a number of new passenger locomotive and car types in the 1980s and 1990s. However, by the year 2000 Amtrak went to European manufacturers for the Amtrak Cascades (Talgo) and Acela Express trains, their premier services. These trains use new designs and are made to operate as coherent "trainsets".
High-speed trains are made up of cars from a single manufacturer and usually of a uniform design (although the dining car on the ICE has a dome). In the 1960s and 1970s countries around the world started to develop trains capable of traveling in the 150-200 mph range, to rival air travel. One of the first was France's TGV which entered service in 1981. By the year 2000, Western Europe's major cities (London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva, Berlin, Rome, etc.) were connected by high-speed rail service.
Often tilting and high-speed cars are left in "trainsets" throughout their service. For example, articulated cars cannot be uncoupled without special equipment because the individual cars share trucks. This gives modern trains a smooth, coherent appearance because all the cars and often the engines share a similar design and paint scheme.
A heavyweight car is one that is physically heavier than a lightweight car due to its construction. While early cars used wood construction, Pullman switched to heavyweight riveted steel construction in 1910, more or less at the same time as other rail car manufacturers. Heavyweights are said][ to offer a more luxurious ride due to their added mass (from the plate steel construction and concrete floor) and, usually, six-wheeled trucks (bogies). The stepped roof line of early heavyweights usually consisted of a center sill section (the clerestory) that ran the length of the car and extended above the roof sides by as much as a foot. This section of the roof usually had windows or shutters that could be opened for ventilation while the train was in motion. However, railroad crews and passengers quickly discovered that when these windows were opened on a passenger train pulled by one or more steam locomotives, smoke and soot from the locomotives tended to drift in through the windows, especially when the train went through a tunnel.
In the early 20th century, air conditioning was added to heavyweight cars for the first time. An air conditioned heavyweight car could be spotted easily since the area where the roof vent windows existed was now covered, either partially or in full, by the AC duct. As lightweight cars were introduced, many heavyweight cars were repurposed into maintenance of way service by the railroads that owned them.
Lightweight passenger cars required developments in steel processing that weren't available until the 1920s and 1930s. By building passenger cars out of steel instead of wood, the manufacturers were able to build lighter weight cars with smooth or fluted sides and smooth roof lines.
Steel cars were ushered in at the beginning of the streamline era of the 1930s (although not all lightweight cars were streamlined) and steel has continued in use ever since then. With the use of steel for the car sides, railroads were able to offer more innovative passenger car types. It wasn't until after the first lightweight cars were introduced that railroads began building and using dome cars because the sides of heavyweight cars weren't strong enough to support the weight of the dome and its passengers. Lightweight cars also enabled the railroads to operate longer passenger trains; the reduced car weight meant that more passengers could be carried in a greater number of cars with the same locomotives. The cost savings in hauling capacity coupled with the increased car type options led to the quick replacement of heavyweight cars with lightweight cars.
Traditionally the passenger car can be split into a number of distinct types.
The most basic division is between cars which do carry passengers and "head end" equipment. The latter are run as part of passenger trains, but do not themselves carry passengers. Traditionally they were put between the locomotive and the passenger-carrying cars in the consist, hence the name.
Some specialized types are variants of or combine elements of the most basic types.
Also the basic design of passenger cars is evolving, with articulated units that have shared trucks, with double-decker designs, and with the "low floor" design where the loading area is very close to the ground and slung between the trucks.
The coach is the most basic type of passenger car, also sometimes referred to as 'chair cars'.
Two main variants exist: 'Open', with a centre corridor; the car's interior is often filled with row upon row of seats like that in a passenger airliner, other arrangements of the 'open' type are also found, including seats around tables, seats facing windows][ (often found on mass transit trains since they increase standing room for rush hours), as well as variations of all three. Seating arrangement is typically [2+2]. The seating arrangements and density, as well as the absence or presence of other facilities depends on the intended use - from mass transit systems to long distance luxury trains.
The other variant is the 'closed' or 'Compartment car', in which a side corridor connects individual compartments along the body of the train, each with two rows of seats facing each other.
In both arrangements carry-on baggage is stowed on a shelf above the passenger seating area. The opening into the cars is usually located at both ends of the carriage, often into a small hallway - which in railway parlance is termed a vestibule.
In India normal carriages often have double height seating, with benches (berths), so that people can sit above one another (not unlike a bunk bed), in other countries true double decker carriages are becoming more common.
The seats in most coaches until the middle of the 20th century, were usually bench seats; the backs of these seats could be adjusted, often with one hand, to face in either direction so the car would not have to be turned for a return trip. The conductor would simply walk down the aisle in the car, reversing the seat backs to prepare for the return trip. This arrangement is still used in some modern trains.
A dining car (or diner) is used to serve meals to the passengers. Its interior is split with a portion of the interior partitioned off for a galley, which is off-limits to passengers. A narrow hallway is left between the galley and one side wall of the car for passengers to use. The remainder of the interior is laid out with tables and chairs to look like a long, narrow restaurant dining room. There are special personnel to perform waitstaff and kitchen duties.
Lounge cars carry a bar and public seating. They usually have benches or large swivelling chairs along the sides of the car. Some lounge cars include small pianos and are staffed by contracted musicians to entertain the passengers.
These cars are often pulled in addition to the dining car, and on very long trains in addition to one or more snack or cafe cars.
Lounge cars are an important part of the appeal of passenger trains when compared to aircraft, buses and cars; there is more space to move around, socialize, eat and drink, and a good view.
The observation car almost always operated as the last car in a passenger train. Its interior could include features of a coach, lounge, diner, or sleeper. The main spotting feature was at the tail end of the car - the walls of the car usually were curved together to form a large U shape, and larger windows were installed all around the end of the car. Before these cars were built with steel walls, the observation end of heavyweight cars resembled a roofed porch area; larger windows were installed at the observation end on these cars as well. At this end of the car, there was almost always a lounge where passengers could enjoy the view as they watched the track rapidly recede into the distance.
Often called "sleepers" or "Pullman cars" (after the main American operator), these cars provide sleeping arrangements for passengers travelling at night. Early models were divided into sections, where coach seating converted at night into semi-private berths. More modern interiors are normally partitioned into separate bedroom compartments for passengers. The beds are designed in such a way that they either roll or fold out of the way or convert into seats for daytime use. Compartments vary in size; some are large enough for only a bed, while others resemble efficiency apartments including bathrooms.
Main article: Brake van (UK)
A resgodsvagn of the Swedish State Railways (SJ) in Malmö in 1988
A baggage car
Although passengers generally were not allowed access to the baggage car, they were included in a great number of passenger trains as regular equipment. The baggage car is a car that was normally placed between the train's motive power and the remainder of the passenger train. The car's interior is normally wide open and is used to carry passengers' checked baggage. Baggage cars were also sometimes commissioned by freight companies to haul less-than-carload (LCL) shipments along passenger routes (Railway Express Agency was one such freight company). Some baggage cars included restroom facilities for the train crew, so many baggage cars had doors to access them just like any other passenger car. Baggage cars could be designed to look like the rest of a passenger train's cars, or they could be repurposed box cars equipped with high-speed trucks and passenger train steam and air connections. A special type of baggage car came equipped with doors on one end to facilitate transport of large pieces of equipment and scenery for Broadway shows and other productions. These "theatrical" baggage cars were assigned theatrical names (i.e. Romeo and Juliet), and were similar to the "horse cars" that were used to transport racehorses.
Express cars carried high value freight in passenger consists. These cars resembled baggage cars, though in some cases specially equipped box cars or refrigerator cars were used.
Specialized stock cars were used to transport horses and other high value livestock as part of passenger consists. Similar equipment is used in circus trains to transport their animals.
In some countries, convicts are transported from court to prison or from one prison to another by railway. In such transportation a specific type of coach, prisoner car, is used. It contains several cell compartments with minimal interior and commodities, and a separate guard compartment. Usually the windows are of nontransparent opaque glass to prevent prisoners from seeing outside and determine where they are, and windows usually also have bars to prevent escapes. Unlike other passenger cars, prisoner cars do not have doors at the ends of the wagon.
Like baggage cars, railway post office (RPO) cars or travelling post offices (TPOs) were not accessible to paying passengers. These cars' interiors were designed with sorting facilities that were often seen and used in conventional post offices around the world. The RPO is where mail was sorted while the train was en route. Because these cars carried mail, which often included valuables or quantities of cash and checks, the RPO staff (who were employed by the postal service and not the railroad) were the only train crews allowed to carry guns. The RPO cars were normally placed in a passenger train between the train's motive power and baggage cars, further inhibiting their access by passengers.
A combine is a car that combines features of a head-end and a regular passenger car. The most common combination is that of a coach and a baggage car, but the combination of coach and post office car was also common. Combines were used most frequently on branch lines and short line railroads where there wasn't necessarily enough traffic to economically justify single-purpose cars. As lightweight cars began to appear on railroads, passenger cars more frequently combined features of two or more car types on one car, and the classic heavyweight combine fell out of use.
A control car (also known as a 'Driving Trailer' in Europe and the UK) is a passenger car which lets the train be run in reverse with the locomotive at the back. It is common on commuter trains in the US and Europe. This can be important for serving small towns without extensive switching facilities, dead-end lines, and having a fast turn around when changing directions in commuter service.
A dome car can include features of a lounge car, dining car and an observation. A portion of the car, usually in the center of the car, is split between two levels, with stairs leading both up and down from the train's regular passenger car floor level. The lower level of the dome usually consisted of a small lounge area, while the upper portion was usually coach or lounge seating within a "bubble" of glass on the car's roof. Passengers in the upper portion of the dome were able to see in all directions from a vantage point above the train's roofline. On some dome cars, the lower portion was built as a galley, where car attendants used dumbwaiters to transfer items between the galley and a dining area in the dome portion of the car.
Some dome cars were built with the dome extending the entire length of the car, while others had only a small observation bubble. There were also combination dome-observation cars built which were meant to be the last car on the train, with both rear observation and the dome up top.
As passenger car construction improved to the point where dome cars were introduced, some passenger car manufacturers began building double decker passenger train cars for use in areas that are more heavily populated or to carry more passengers over a long distance while using fewer cars (such as Amtrak's Superliner cars). Cars used on long-distance passenger trains could combine features of any of the basic car types, while cars used in local commuter service are often strictly coach types on both levels.
Double decker coaches were tried in the UK (SR Class 4DD) but the experiment was unsuccessful because the restricted British loading gauge resulted in cramped conditions.
Many cars built by Pullman and other companies were either originally built or later converted for use as business and private cars which served as the "private jet" of the early-to-mid-20th century. They were used by railroad officials and dignitaries as business cars, and wealthy individuals for travel and entertainment. There are various configurations, but the cars generally have an observation platform and include a full kitchen, dining room, state rooms, secretary's room, an observation room, and often servant's quarters. A number of these private cars have survived the decades and some are used for tour rides, leasing for private events, etc. A small number of private cars (along with other types of passenger cars), have been upgraded to meet current Amtrak regulations, and may be chartered by their owners for private travel attached to Amtrak trains.
The only current example in Britain is the British Royal Train.
Drovers' cars were used on long distance livestock trains in the western United States. The purpose of a drovers' car was to accommodate the livestock's handlers on the journey between the ranch and processing plant. They were usually shorter, older cars, and equipped with stove heaters, as no trainline steam heating was provided.
A "troop sleeper" was a railroad passenger car which had been constructed to serve as something of a mobile barracks (essentially, a sleeping car) for transporting troops over distances sufficient to require overnight accommodations. This method allowed part of the trip to be made overnight, reducing the amount of transit time required and increasing travel efficiency. Troop kitchens, rolling galleys, also joined the consists in order to provide meal service en route (the troops took their meals in their seats or bunks). Troop hospital cars, also based on the troop sleeper carbody, transported wounded servicemen and typically travelled in solid strings on special trains averaging fifteen cars each.
A variety of hospital trains operate around the world, employing specialist carriages equipped as hospital wards, treatment rooms, and full-scale operating theatres.
Many countries historically used special railroad cars to transport prisoners. The tradition is now extinct anywhere except for the post-Soviet countries where dedicated cars (modified sleeping cars) continue to be routinely used for that purpose. Real Soviet prisoner cars and respective procedures was may be seen in The Guard and several other crime-related films.
Passenger cars are as almost as old as railroading itself, and their development paralleled that of freight cars. Early two axle cars gave way to conventional two truck construction with the floor of the car riding above the wheels; link and pin couplers gave way to automatic types.
Several construction details characterized passenger equipment. Passenger trains were expected to run at higher speeds than freight service, and therefore passenger trucks evolved to allow superior ride and better tracking at those speeds. Over time, in most cases provision was made for passengers and train staff to move from car to car; therefore platforms and later vestibules were used to bridge the gap.
In later years a number of changes to this basic form were introduced to allow for improvements in speed, comfort, and expense.
Articulated passenger cars are becoming increasingly common in Europe and the US. This means that the passenger cars share trucks and that the passageways between them are more or less permanently attached. The cars are kept in "trainsets" and not split up during normal operations.
Articulated cars have a number of advantages. They save on the total number of wheels and trucks, reducing costs and maintenance expenses. Further, movement between cars is safer and easier than with traditional designs. Finally, it is possible to implement tilting schemes such as the Talgo design which allow the train to lean into curves. The chief disadvantage is that failure of a single car disables the entire set, since individual cars cannot be readily switched in and out of the consist.
In some countries (such as the US), platform level may be below the level of the floor of passenger cars, resulting in a significant step up from platform level - leading to slower boarding times, which are important for high-capacity systems. Low-floor cars have their main passenger and loading floor directly on level with the loading platform, instead of having a step up to the passenger compartment as was traditional until around the 1970s. This is achieved by having a low-slung chassis with the "low floor" resting between the trucks, rather than resting completely on top with a simpler straight chassis design. This improved design is seen in many passenger cars today, especially double decker cars. The low floor enables easy access for bicycles, strollers, suitcases, wheelchairs and those with disabilities, which is otherwise not always convenient or even possible with the traditional passenger car design.
These vehicles usually carry motive power in each individual unit. Trams, Light Rail Vehicles and subways have been widely constructed in urban areas throughout the world since the late 19th century. By the year 1900, electric-powered passenger cars were ubiquitous in the developed world, but they fell into decline after World War II, especially in the U.S. By the year 2000 they had regained popularity and modern lines were being rebuilt where they had been torn up only 40 years earlier to make way for automobiles.
On lighter-trafficked rural railways, powered diesel cars (such as the Budd Rail Diesel Car) continue to be popular. In Germany the new Talent design shows that the diesel-powered passenger car is still a viable part of rail service. In the UK, locomotive-hauled passenger trains have largely been replaced by diesel multiple units, such as the Bombardier Voyager family, even on express services.
These cars are able to tilt to counter the effects of inertia when turning, making the ride more comfortable for the passengers. Amtrak has adopted Talgo trainsets for its Amtrak Cascades service in the Pacific Northwest. Other manufacturers have also implemented tilting designs. The British Rail Class 390 is a tilting train operating in the UK.
While some railroads, like the Milwaukee Road, preferred to build their own passenger cars, several railcar manufacturers built the majority of passenger cars in revenue service. Most of these companies produced both passenger and freight equipment for the railroads. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all passenger car builders (see List of rolling stock manufacturers for a more complete list). Quite a large number of firms built passenger cars over the years, but the majority of cars in the 20th century were built by these companies.
American Car and Foundry was formed in 1899 through the merger of 13 smaller railroad car manufacturing companies (in much the same way as the American Locomotive Company was formed from the merger of 8 smaller locomotive manufacturers two years later in 1901). ACF built the first all-steel passenger car in the world for Interborough Rapid Transit in 1904, and then built the first steel cars used on the London Underground in the following year. The company continued to manufacture passenger equipment until 1959. ACF still manufactures freight cars today.
Bombardier is the largest manufacturer of passenger cars in the world. This company started in Canada and has become multi-national, making everything from passenger cars to commuter aircraft in factories around the world.
The Budd Company got its start in the early 1930s when Edward G. Budd developed a way to build carbodies out of stainless steel. In 1932 he completed his first railcar, dubbed the Green Goose. It used rubber tires and a stainless steel body, and was powered by the engine out of Budd's own Chrysler Imperial automobile. Budd sold a few of these early powered cars to the Reading Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad and the Texas and Pacific Railway. The next year, Ralph Budd, only a very distant relation, but president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad at the time, came to Budd to build the Pioneer Zephyr.
Budd was soon called on by another railroad president before the end of the decade. Samuel T. Bledsoe asked Budd to build the new lightweight cars for the Santa Fe's new Super Chief passenger train.
Budd continued building lightweight powered and unpowered cars through the 20th century for nearly every major railroad in North America.
Kawasaki has been manufacturing passenger rail cars at its facility in Lincoln, Nebraska since 2001. Kawasaki's Lincoln plant has manufactured rail cars for MBTA, NYCT, PATH, MNR with cars that have led the way with the industry's best MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures). Kawasaki Rail Car was the first American rail car manufacturer to achieve the International Standard Organization ISO-9002 certification.
The most famous of all the car manufacturers was Pullman, which began as the Pullman Palace Car Company founded by George Pullman in 1867. The Pullman Palace Car Company manufactured railroad cars in the mid-to-late 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century during the boom of railroads in the United States.
Pullman developed the sleeping car which carried his name into the 1980s.
In 1900, the Pullman Palace Car Company was reorganized as The Pullman Co..
In 1924, Pullman Car & Manufacturing Co. was organized from the previous Pullman manufacturing department to consolidate the car building interests of The Pullman Co.
In 1934, Pullman Car & Manufacturing merged with Standard Steel Car Co. to form the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company, which remained in the car manufacturing business until 1982. Pullman manufactured its last cars for Amtrak in 1981. The last car built and delivered at the end of July 1981 was named George Mortimer Pullman in honor of the company's founder.
The Siemens was founded in 1847 in Berlin, Germany building Conglomerates, Electric and Industry products, Healthcare Radioative systems, rolling stock,etc. The Siemens "Viaggio" passenger car models are to all purposes in the European railways: Viaggio Twin: double-deck coaches used on CityNightLine and ÖBB CityShuttle regional trains; Viaggio Classic: Original Siemens passenger cars, similar to Eurofima UIC cars, used in Germany, Greece, Czech Republic and Austria; Viaggio Light: new low-floor regional passenger coaches now used in Israel and Viaggio Comfort: New luxury articulated coaches used on ÖBB's railjet and Siemens Coach 2000 prototype lounge car.
Founded in April 1887, in its namesake city, St. Louis Car Company manufactured railroad cars for streetcar lines (urban passenger railways) and steam railroads. The company made brief forays into building automobiles and aircraft, but they are best known as the manufacturers of Birney and PCC streetcars which have seen worldwide use. St. Louis Car Company closed in 1973.
The earliest form of train lighting was provided by Colza oil lamps. The next stage was gas lighting, using compressed gas stored in cylinders under the coaches. Finally, electric lighting was introduced.
Early railway coaches had no heating but passengers could hire foot-warmers. These worked on the same principle a modern sodium acetate heating pads. Later, steam heating was introduced, using a steam supply from the steam locomotive. Steam heating continued into the diesel locomotive era, with steam supplied by a steam generator. Now, electric heating is almost universal and air-conditioning is often provided as well. In the case of diesel multiple units, the coaches may be heated by waste heat from the engines, as in an automobile.
A railroad crane, (US: crane car or wrecker; UK: breakdown crane) is a type of crane used on a railroad for one of three primary uses: freight handling in goods yards, permanent way (PW) maintenance, and accident recovery work. Although the design differs according to the type of work, the basic configuration is similar in all cases: a rotating crane body is mounted on a sturdy chassis fitted with flanged wheels. The body supports the jib (UK; US: boom) and provides all the lifting and operating mechanisms; on larger cranes, an operator's cabin is usually provided. The chassis is fitted with buffing and coupling gear to allow the crane to be moved by a locomotive, although many are also self-propelled to allow limited movement about a work site.
For cranes with a jib that extends beyond the length of the chassis, a match wagon (also known as a 'jib carrier' (UK) or 'boom car' (US)) is provided to protect the jib and to allow the crane to be coupled within a train. The match wagon is usually a long, flat wagon that provides a means of securing the jib for transportation; storage areas for special equipment or supplies are usually fitted too. It was not uncommon for the match wagon to be built on a withdrawn revenue-earning wagon.
Railroad cranes are usually designed specifically for one of three purposes:
Usually the smallest of the railroad cranes, goods yard cranes were used in the larger goods yards to provide lifting capability in areas away from the ground-mounted goods cranes normally provided in such yards.
They were often small enough to be operated by hand, and were not normally self-propelled, instead requiring the use of a shunting engine to move them into position. Once cheap road-going mobile cranes were available, these superseded the rail-mounted variety due to their greater flexibility and mobility.
The most varied forms of crane are used for maintenance work. General purpose cranes may be used for installing signalling equipment or pointwork, for example, while more specialised types are used for track laying.
The largest cranes are used for accident recovery work, usually forming part of a breakdown train that includes staff accommodation and recovery equipment. These are large enough to lift derailed rolling stock back onto the track, although two or more cranes may be required to safely recover a locomotive. In US terminology, a 'breakdown crane' is often referred to as a 'wrecker'.
A railroad crane generally resembles a conventional fixed-location crane except that the platform the crane sits on is a heavy-duty reinforced flat car. Directly underneath the center of gravity for the crane is a pivot point that allows the crane to swivel around 360°; in this way the crane can locate its boom over the worksite no matter what its location is along the track. The trucks on the car under the crane will often include traction motors so that the crane is able to move itself along the track, and possibly tow additional cars.
Larger cranes may be provided with outriggers to provide additional stability when lifting. Sleepers are often carried on the match car to put under the outriggers to spread the weight applied to the trackbed.
Breakdown cranes (sometimes called wrecking cranes or 'big hooks') were necessary to every railroad to recover derailed rolling stock and engines; while also assisting with bridge building and yard construction.
In the early days of the railways, locomotives and rolling stock were small enough to be re-railed manually using jacks and tackle, but as they became bigger and heavier this method became inadequate.
Enter into this the steam crane and cable winch. Appearing about 1890, the cranes increased in size, commensurate with the rise of steel Pullman cars, so by 1910 steam cranes reached their peak of development. Many of these 1910-era cranes were so useful and powerful, that they remained in service until the 1980s. The combination of a quick-firing steam boiler, heavy steam winch, and cable hook could little be improved upon, and thus remained in service. Also, steam engines did not mind being parked for months, with a little care, and were ready to go to work when needed.
In the 1980s big, hydraulic controlled diesel cranes appeared. Also, these cranes had the ability to travel on the highway so as to better able to get to the scene of an accident. They are much more mobile, and are able to manoeuvre around an accident scene, better than a crane only limited to rail access.
In the 1990s a new generation of railway cranes was developed. While the conventional diesel hydraulic road cranes were adopted with some small trolleys to move on the rail track, the new generation had a professional high speed railway chassis for up to 75 mph. The superstructure is also diesel hydraulic with telescopic boom and counterweight and designed to the railway's specific needs. These cranes can travel with suspended loads and keep levelled even on an elevated track, due to the automatic cant compensation. It is possible to work on one outrigger only, work with boom in horizontal position under bridges or under the overhead wires. Capacities are as high as 200 m/t (metric). It makes this new generation useful for maintenance work and switch and crossing renewal, as well as recovery work.
Kirow Ardelt GmbH
Most heritage railways in the UK have one or more preserved railway cranes, either just as historic exhibits, or as fully functioning examples assisting with the operation of the railway. Although not normally required for re-railing activities, they are exceptionally useful for track relaying and the restoration of locomotives and rolling stock, and help to avoid expenditure on outside contractors.
Three cranes of various sizes are preserved at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California. They are all cranes once owned by the Western Pacific Railroad and two of them, a small, self-propelled Burro Crane and a large, 200-ton capacity Industrial Brownhoist crane, are maintained in operable condition.
All Japanese railway cranes had already retired. Road cranes are used for re-railing and maintenance works. Type "so-30" railway crane for accident recovery is preserved at Otaru synthesis museum. Type "so-80" railway crane for accident recovery is preserved at Sakuma railpark. Type "so-300" railway crane for bridge construction is preserved at Usuitouge tetsudo bunkamura.
Several breakdown cranes are preserved in the various Australian states. Examples preserved in New South Wales include 1048 a 30T steam crane built by Cowans Sheldon, preserved at Rothbury. 1050 a 50T steam crane built by Craven Bros, preserved at Dorrigo. 1055 a 35T steam crane converted to diesel built by Ransome & Rapier, preserved at Canberra. 1060 a 120T steam crane converted to diesel built by Krupp Ardelt, preserved at Dorrigo. 1073 a 70T steam crane built by Craven Bros converted to diesel, preserved Richmond Main. 1080 a 50T steam crane built by Industrial Brownhoist, preserved Junee. 1081 a 50T steam crane built by Industrial Brownhoist, preserved Dorrigo.
A railroad car or railcar (American and Canadian English), or railway carriage (UK and IUR), is a vehicle used for the carrying of cargo or passengers on a rail transport system (a railroad/railway). Such cars, when coupled together and hauled by one or more locomotives, form a train. Alternatively, some passenger cars are self-propelled in which case they may be either single railcars or make up multiple units.
The term "car" is commonly used by itself in American English when a rail context is implicit. Indian English sometimes uses "bogie" in the same manner, though the term has alternate meanings in other variants of English.
Although some cars exist for the railroad's own use – for track maintenance purposes, for example – most cars carry a revenue-earning load of passengers or freight, and may be divided accordingly between passenger cars or coaches on the one hand and freight cars (or wagons) on the other.
Passenger cars, or coaches, vary in their internal fittings:
In standard-gauge cars, seating is usually configured into ranges of between three and five seats across the width of the car, with an aisle in between (resulting in arrangements of 2+1, 2+2 or 3+2 seats) or at the side. Tables may be provided between seats facing one another. Alternatively, seats facing in the same direction may have access to a fold-down ledge on the back of the seat in front.
Passenger cars can take the electricity supply for heating and lighting equipment from either of two main sources: directly from a head end power generator on the locomotive via bus cables, or by an axle-powered generator which continuously charges batteries whenever the train is in motion.
Modern cars usually have either air-conditioning or windows that can be opened (sometimes, for safety, not so far that one can hang out), or sometimes both. Various types of onboard train toilet facilities may also be provided.
Other types of passenger car exist, especially for long journeys, such as the dining car, parlor car, disco car, and in rare cases theater and movie theater car. In some cases another type of car is temporarily converted to one of these for an event.
Observation cars were built for the rear of many famous trains to allow the passengers to view the scenery. These proved popular, leading to the development of dome cars multiple units of which could be placed mid-train, and featured a glass-enclosed upper level extending above the normal roof to provide passengers with a better view.
Sleeping cars outfitted with (generally) small bedrooms allow passengers to sleep through their night-time trips, while couchette cars provide more basic sleeping accommodation. Long-distance trains often require baggage cars for the passengers' luggage. In European practice it used to be common for day coaches to be formed of compartments seating 6 or 8 passengers, with access from a side corridor. In the UK, Corridor coaches fell into disfavor in the 1960s and 1970s partially because open coaches are considered more secure by women traveling alone.
Another distinction is between single- and double deck train cars. An example of a double decker is the Amtrak superliner.
A "trainset" (or "set") is a semi-permanently arranged formation of cars, rather than one created "ad hoc" out of whatever cars are available. These are only broken up and reshuffled 'on shed' (in the maintenance depot). Trains are then built of one or more of these 'sets' coupled together as needed for the capacity of that train.
Often, but not always, passenger cars in a train are linked together with enclosed, flexible gangway connections that can be walked through by passengers and crew members. Some designs incorporate semi-permanent connections between cars and may have a full-width connection, making in essence one longer, flexible 'car'. In North America, passenger equipment also employ tightlock couplings to keep a train reasonably intact in the event of a derailment or other accident.
Many multiple unit trains consist of cars which are semi-permanently coupled into sets; these sets may be joined together to form larger trains, but generally passengers can only move around between cars within a set. This "closed" nature allows the separate sets to be easily split to go separate ways. Some multiple-unit trainsets are designed so that corridor connections can be easily opened between coupled sets; this generally requires driving cabs either set off to the side or (as in the Dutch Koploper) above the passenger compartment. These cabs or driving trailers are also useful for quickly reversing the train.
Freight cars (US), goods wagons (UIC), or trucks (UK) exist in a wide variety of types, adapted to carry of a host of goods. Originally there were very few types of cars; the flat car or wagon, and the boxcar (US/Canada), covered wagon (UIC) or van (UK), were among the first. Freight cars or goods wagons are generally categorized as follows:
American style Hopper Car
U.S. type Boxcar
Articulated Well Cars with containers
A Spine car with a 20 ft tanktainer and an open-top 20 ft container with canvas cover
A DR rail maintenance vehicle converted from a former freight van
Military armoured trains use several types of specialized cars:
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union fielded a number of trains that served as mobile missile silos. These trains carried the missile and everything necessary to launch, and were kept moving around the railway network to make them difficult to find and destroy in a first-strike attack. A similar rail-borne system was proposed in the United States of America for the LGM-30 Minuteman in the 1960s, and the LGM-118 Peacekeeper in the 1980s, but neither were deployed. The Strategic Air Command's 1st Combat Evaluation RBS "Express" did deploy from Barksdale Air Force Base with radar bomb scoring units mounted on military railroad cars with supporting equipment, to score simulated thermonuclear bombing of cities in the continental United States.
The Janney/MCB/ARA/AAR/APTA coupler, also commonly known as a Alliance, BuckEye, or Knuckle coupler, Master Car Builders Association and AAR coupler (for the Association of American Railroads) is a semi-automatic coupler patented by Eli H. Janney in 1873 (). It is also known as a "buckeye coupler", notably in the United Kingdom, where some rolling stock (mostly for passenger trains) is fitted with it. The AAR/APTA TypeE, TypeF, and TypeH couplers are all compatible Janney couplers, but used for different rail cars (general freight, tank cars, rotary hoppers, passenger, etc.).
The purpose of couplers is to join the cars or locomotives to each other so they all are "coupled" together. Major Eli Janney, a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, invented the semi-automatic knuckle coupler in 1868. This coupler is unlocked manually and automatically locks upon the couplers on cars or locomotives closing together without the rail worker getting between the cars. This replaces the "link and pin" coupler, which was a major cause of injuries to railroad workers. The locking pin that locks the coupler together can be withdrawn by the "cut lever" which is built to be accessible from either side of the railroad car and does not require the worker to go between the cars. The only time the worker has to go between the cars is to hook up the air lines for the pneumatic brakes and the head end power cables in the case of passenger cars.
Janney was a dry goods clerk and former Confederate Army officer from Alexandria, Virginia, who used his lunch hours to whittle from wood an alternative to the link and pin coupler. The term Buckeye comes from the nickname of the US state of Ohio, the "Buckeye state" and the Ohio Brass Company which originally marketed the coupling.
In 1893, satisfied that an automatic coupler could meet the demands of commercial railroad operations and, at the same time, be manipulated safely, the United States Congress passed the Safety Appliance Act. Its success in promoting switchyard safety was stunning. Between 1877 and 1887, approximately 38% of all railworker accidents involved coupling. That percentage fell as the railroads began to replace link and pin couplers with automatic couplers. By 1902, only two years after the SAA's effective date, coupling accidents constituted only 4% of all employee accidents. Coupler-related accidents dropped from nearly 11,000 in 1892 to just over 2,000 in 1902, even though the number of railroad employees steadily increased during that decade.][
When the Janney coupling was chosen to be the American standard, there were 8,000 patented alternatives to choose from. The only significant disadvantage of using the AAR (Janney) design is that sometimes the drawheads need to be manually aligned.
The Janney coupler is used in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Chile, Brazil, China and elsewhere. Among its features:
The Janney coupler has withstood the test of time since its invention, with only minor changes:
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods, by way of wheeled vehicles running on rails. It is also commonly referred to as train transport. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks on which they run. Track usually consists of steel rails installed on sleepers/ties and ballast, on which the rolling stock, usually fitted with metal wheels, moves. However, other variations are also possible, such as slab track where the rails are fastened to a concrete foundation resting on a prepared subsurface.
Rolling stock in railway transport systems generally has lower frictional resistance when compared with highway vehicles and the passenger and freight cars (carriages and wagons) can be coupled into longer trains. The operation is carried out by a railway company, providing transport between train stations or freight customer facilities. Power is provided by locomotives which either draw electrical power from a railway electrification system or produce their own power, usually by diesel engines. Most tracks are accompanied by a signalling system. Railways are a safe land transport system when compared to other forms of transport. Railway transport is capable of high levels of passenger and cargo utilization and energy efficiency, but is often less flexible and more capital-intensive than highway transport is, when lower traffic levels are considered. Couplers
A coupling (or a coupler) is a mechanism for connecting rolling stock in a train. The design of the coupler is standard, and is almost as important as the track gauge, since flexibility and convenience are maximised if all rolling stock can be coupled together.
The equipment that connects the couplings to the rolling stock is known as the draft gear. Cars