Low Cost Railcar Mover

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Low Cost Railcar Mover

Postby illinois » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:18 pm

It seems that railcar movers are either limited to the high end, expensive railcar movers or the alternatives such as a capstan car puller which haver their own issues such as cable breakage, housekeeping, etc... Do you see any need for a solution to move a smaller # of railcars? Obviously it wouldn't move as much as a Railking or Shuttlewagon, but perhaps could be used by places receiving 10 or so railcars per week. The cost would be a fraction $20,000 to $30,000 of those solutions. It would be portable and preferably DC powered. Any feedback is appreciated!
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Re: Low Cost Railcar Mover

Postby v8interceptor » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:17 pm

illinois wrote:It seems that railcar movers are either limited to the high end, expensive railcar movers or the alternatives such as a capstan car puller which haver their own issues such as cable breakage, housekeeping, etc... Do you see any need for a solution to move a smaller # of railcars? Obviously it wouldn't move as much as a Railking or Shuttlewagon, but perhaps could be used by places receiving 10 or so railcars per week. The cost would be a fraction $20,000 to $30,000 of those solutions. It would be portable and preferably DC powered. Any feedback is appreciated!




There are cheaper alternatives on the market including small battery powered units(frequently used in RR back-shops) and conversion kits that turn skid-steer (Bobcat type) loaders and forklifts into car movers.
Don't know the pricing on any of them though..
http://www.handling.com/solutions/all-solutions/zephir-electric-rail-car-mover/

http://railquip.thomasnet.com/category/railcar-movers
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Re: Low Cost Railcar Mover

Postby illinois » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:14 pm

Thanks for the note. I'm hoping we can create something near the $20,000 range. Thanks!
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Re: Low Cost Railcar Mover

Postby Desertdweller » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:19 pm

You have to be really careful trying to move railroad cars with equipment that was not designed to do this. I have seen two farm tractors destroyed this way. They were trying to move loaded covered hoppers by tying a big hawser rope to a corner of the car and pulling it with the tractor (bends the car pretty bad, too). In the first instance, the drive wheels on one side of the tractor broke their centers out, dumping the tractor. In the second instance, the train crew failed to notice a tractor was tied to a cut of cars. The tractor was dragged alongside the cars, destroying it a bit at a time. By the time it was discovered, there was not much left of the tractor. In this case, the cars had been released by the elevator (which constitutes an order to pull), but the train crew is still responsible to make sure the cars are clear to pull. I have also seen this same elevator release cars to pull while a grain inspector was still walking the tops of the cars taking samples.

I also saw a front end loader shortened up by about two feet. The operator was trying to drag a cut of empty covered hoppers down a grade to couple to a cut of loads. He discovered the brakes on a front end loader cannot stop five or six 30-ton empty railcars. He was straddling the rails at the time. The empties forced the loader into the loads, sandwiching it. The loader bowed up in the middle (with the driver still in the cab). He could easily have gotten killed, but was unharmed. The loader was toast after that.

People moving these cars fail to appreciate the weight of even empty cars. In my opinion, any device used to drag cars around needs to be able to put air into the cars so brakes can be dumped immediately to avoid an accident. If you use something other than a wheeled vehicle, use a cable system with a very strong drum brake.

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Re: Low Cost Railcar Mover

Postby RussNelson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:40 pm

An aged friend of mine says that his father used to operate the coal depot in Norwood, NY. They used to move the cars from one hopper door to another using a crowbar. That's what, less than $30 at the local hardware store?
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Re: Low Cost Railcar Mover

Postby Desertdweller » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:17 pm

Russ,

I have heard those things called "Johnson Bars". The are about six feet long and flattened on the end that goes under the wheel. They would be risky to use in any situation involving a grade.

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Re: Low Cost Railcar Mover

Postby RussNelson » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:28 am

Desertdweller wrote:I have heard those things called "Johnson Bars". The are about six feet long and flattened on the end that goes under the wheel. They would be risky to use in any situation involving a grade.

Yeah, I expect that the siding in front of the coal depot was made level on purpose. The whole area is pretty flat anyway.
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