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Loads for Extra Long Flatcars?

5377 Views 20 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Torby
I am looking for ideas for what to use as cargo on four of the LGB #40540 Santa Fe 50 ft. Flatcars.

They are longer than what I would like for my layout (too modern) so I would like to find some sort of reason to justify them on a late steam/early diesel time era. I would also like the load to hopefully be inexpensive (cheap).

I had seen some long containers in a video (two containers per flatcar - 1 container high) but I would not know how to make them and they would not seem to fit the era of the layout.

The cars were obviously designed for some sort of drive on vehicles but I'm not sure what would look good and I don't want to pay more for the load than I did for the cars which were part of a LGB F7 ABA special.

Any ideas?


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I vote for trucks or trailers.  If you can find a late 1950s tractor trailer that'd be the ticket.  Or else you could go to Toys R Us and bring your flatcar and check truck sizes in person.

Get you some pretty inexpensive 1:32 corvettes or mustangs:

These firetrucks at the bottome are 1:24 scale, and a little pricey, but then again, it might be what you'd like:

Just a trailer:

This place looks like some decent prices for trucks:

I like this set:
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I made bulk heads for them, I personally like empty flats in a train. I have 9 of those falts
Posted By NTCGRR on 02/25/2008 8:22 AM
   I personally like empty flats in a train.

Now that is an interesting point Marty, so do I.   I made a few changeable loads for my three flats from ideas gleaned from the articles in Garden Railways by Jack Verducci.  But whilst, although I say it myself, they did look fine when in use I have been running without them most times lately.
They still need something to imply what they hauled... chains, block and tackle, wedges and cribbing (6x8's with one end showing serious splintering!), etc.  But leave it to the viewer's imagination as to exactly what they are were hauling.

Some time ago, while out train watching, I saw several long flats with airplane wings on them...  Standing on the leading edge at an angle, one wing per car, with the wing tip extending over an adjacent empty flat by a few feet.  Angled cribbing supported it at each end of the primary flatcar.  (I saw several other trains that day, both before and after this one, but never saw an airplane body so I don't know what they were for.)
I appreciate all the replies and suggestions (keep them coming).

The cars & trucks are a good idea but I would probably need 1:24 to look at all right and they would not suggest why the extra long length was needed.

I've run them empty so far but I'd like to have the option of with or without a load. Perhaps I need to swap them with someone for smaller cars or maybe take them to Toys R Us (another good idea).



You could also make up some "tarped" loads, and secure them down with string, etc.. 

The trucks and cars could be loaded and secured with two per flat car.  

I have some unbuilt 1:32 Mack pumpers, should you want a fire engine on it

Early day (1950s & 60s) TOFC (Trailer On Flat Car) units usually consisted of 36' to 40' semi-trailers on flatcars similar to yours. The ramps provided a method for a truck cab (Tractor) to pull the trailers into place and then drive off the flats.The early ones were just chained in place, with things like support hitches, etc. added as they became more sophisticated. That really appears to be what LGB had in mind when they modeled them.

I don't know exactly how long your "50 foot" LGB flatcars are, but a 1:24 scale 40 foot semi-trailer would be ~20" long. These trailers are available as plastic kits for reasonable prices and are easy to build. Park the cab in a yard area where the trailers would be loaded / unloaded.

Hope this helps.

Happy RRing,

Jerry Bowers
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How about this shot for a load?


I'm sure it is a load of new wheels and axles bound for the GE Erie Pa plant.

I'd say those are piggybackers. Notice the ramps so they could drive trailers onto the train from one end.

Love the I beam load.  I haven't seen that done before, or at least not to that length.  Are you actually able to negotiate around your railroad hauling it?  Either way - neato.

 I run it around 4' radius curves. I have a pivet point on each end under the beam so it turn on the flatcars to.
Thanks to everyone. There are some really great ideas here.

I previously had a bunch of Bachmann trailer flatcars but without a trucking company or truck cabs to match I thought they looked out of place.

The fire engines and I beam are good ideas but a bit too modern (I'm trying for that late steam/early diesel era).

The cars aren't going anywhere (for now I've put them off the layout on a siding) so it may be awhile before I do anything with them. Like most of us I have tons of extra plastic wheels and Pine Bluff, Arkansas has a wheel reconditioning plant so that too is an interesting idea. I'd need to figure out how to make a frame to support the wheels but I do have a USA wheel flat car that I could probably use as a template.


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Load down a perpercraft kit of the CSS David Torpedoboat  http://www.tinpaper.net/CSS_David.html  It happens to be 50 feet long.
Simply enlarge the kit to the right side, print and build.

Looks something like this: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e341/Kraehwinkle/Bootstransportaussen.jpg
I transport my vessel on a pair of LGB disconnects.  You should fold the chimney down during transport. 

Have Fun 

Fritz / Juergen
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I put a plastruct steel beam load on one of the bulkheads Marty made for me a year or two ago now. Looks good!
Empty flat cars with  cribbing glued to the  floor   That makes it look like they hauled something big  and  didnt clean up  very well before they picked up the flat car .    Extra boards  laying on the floor of the  flatcar.   Maybe some pieces of chain laying on the floor.    I like Empty flat cars tool.   Also maybe a unsed siding with lots of   weed growth and the cars sitting there for a long time.     There is a  siding  on  route 54 when I got to Marty's  that has a old string of  the old piggy back cars.    They have been in the same place  the last two trips to Marty's  about  2 years.   The  siding has a bunch of over growth.    
The LGB flats sure look like early piggyback flats.  The trick is finding an early trailer in 1:22.5 or 1:24 scale for them.

I have a few of these early piggybacks on the HO layout.  The best photo I could find at the moment is the one below...look in the back for the Santa Fe trailer on flat car.

Doing a very quick eBay search I found this:

Model Power Southern Pacific Trailer

I know model power makes/made some nice 1:24 tractor trailers.  The cabs are modern, but the trailer (while also being modern) could fit the bill as good railroad trailers.  That SP one on eBay looks good and the lettering is an older style.  Unfortunately they are very pricey.

Here's a list of the model power trailers on Walthers:

Model Power Trailers

They seem to have stopped production of this line so you might want to act fast before everything is sold out.

USA makes a similar flat car with a trailer.  Here's a link:

USA Trailer on flat car

We got the Rio Grande version a few years ago.  I never use the flat car but the trailer is neat (we had to custom paint a cab):

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I finally "solved" the problem. I sold the long flat cars to a friend. He runs long large trains so the cars fit well with his layout. I got a good bargain buying them (they came with some LGB F7's on a special) so I passed on the good bargain to him and now we are both happy. 

If they had been short or normal length flat cars I would have kept them and found some use for them but I'm happier now with them gone. Not only did I get the money from the sale but I kept the metal wheels I had put on those flat cars and that saved me from having to buy 4 packs of new metal wheels for other cars that needed them.

I've decided that I needed a little "for sale" yard to park the stuff that does not "fit" my layout. This way when someone comes over we can look and see if they are interested in something I no longer want or that may have come in a package of which I only wanted part of it.

I do appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions.


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