Historic Ford Motor Company rail car size

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Historic Ford Motor Company rail car size

Postby mjmeneley » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:28 pm

I am a landscape architect and am currently working on a project to renovate a historic Ford Building in downtown Indianapolis. The project has a rail spur that (used to) feed the Ford assembly plant. There is a desire to get an old flat bed railcar to sit on this rail spur, holding a Model T Ford. My question to you all is...how big would a pre-1928 flat bed railcar be? Specifically one that would have been used to service an automobile manufacturing plant? Better yet can you give me any leads on where to actually FIND one?? In my internet research I see that the dimensions of rail cars vary greatly. We'd like to design the space as close to historically accurate as we can. Any help you can provide would be beneficial! Thank you.
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Re: Historic Ford Motor Company rail car size

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:47 pm

Flatcars or boxcars at that point would be 36 to 40 feet long.

I would contact Steamtown in PA and the California State Railroad Museum, to open this professional conversation.
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Re: Historic Ford Motor Company rail car size

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:07 pm

One thing that occurs to me is that even if a car from that period can be found and is available, under today's regulations every fitting on it will prohibit its movement on its own wheels, requiring a flatbed truck, "Wide Load" conditions, permits, and escorts, and I'm wondering whether it might be cheaper to fabricate a replica from scratch somewhere nearby. The National Model Railroad Association (http://www.nmra.org) could probably steer you to actual drawings of flatcars of that period. Some casting and forging would be required, but for display the trucks would not have to actually support the car, since an under-floor support structure out of public view could provide that. If the car is to be displayed on a track, a typical rail weight of that period (especially on an industrial siding) would be 90 lbs. to the yard, at a rail length of 39 feet. There is a local railroad, the Indiana Rail Road (http://www.inrd.com), based in Indianapolis, that might have some on the property; that road has traditionally been favorable toward historic pursuits and could perhaps also provide some technical information. Just a thought ...
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