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Eastern Railroad Discussion > rail car height specs

Date: 06/14/01 07:02
rail car height specs
Author: tomrandall

Where might I be able to obtain information on the various type of standard rail car heights (such as for box cars, excess height box cars, auto racks, TOFC, double stack contrainers...)? I am looking for actual car heights as well as minimum extreme vertical clearance beyond that to an overhead structure such as an overpass. Are these included in the various "plate" designations? If so, I would like a reference to those. I did not see anything on the AAR site.


Date: 06/14/01 07:47
RE: rail car height specs
Author: scraphauler

Equipmet diagrams shwoing the deminsions of the various plates can be found in the Official Railway Equipment Register. As far as clearances for bridges, etc, you would need the clearance file for whatever specific line you are interested. As far as new construction of "overhead obstructions", I THINK most RR's require 26 feet clearance from top of rail (Maybe a M.O.W./Engineering type can give you a better idea).

Anyway, vertical clearnce of each plate - feet above top of rail:
Plate B - 15'1"
Plate C - 15'6"
Plate E - 15'9"
Plate F - 16'0"
Plate H - 20'2" (Double Stacks)
(source - April 2001 Offical Railway Equipment Register)

Date: 06/14/01 07:49
RE: rail car height specs
Author: rbx551985

"The Official Railway Equipment Register" has all of this and a whole lot more. This reference book might be found at various RR freight offices around the country, if the office you visit hasn't converted to the online version. Otherwise, they are often on sale at the various RR flea markets. It looks like a HUGE, phone-book sized, yellow-cover [volume] with every detail on every freight car in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Including all dimensions, reporting marks, fleet car number series, etc. What more could anyone want?

Price--it's about $100 per issue, if memory serves, or I believe $300 for quarterly updates (1 year). Anyone have actual price? HOWEVER, don't dispair: at RR markets/shows such as Timonium, I've found copies for as little as $5 or as much as $25, depending on who's selling what year/quarter. GO FOR IT!

That's the BEST reference I can think of. Good luck in finding one. It will certainly answer all your questions, and will also provide countless hours of finding answers to all those questions you always wanted to know about freight cars but didn't know who--or where--to ask.

Date: 06/14/01 12:17
RE: rail car height specs
Author: tomrandall

thanks for the info.

Are cars stencilled as "Excess Height" (such as some box cars and autoracks) classified as meeting one of the plate specifications, other than as noted on the car as to specific excess dimensions?

Date: 06/14/01 12:46
RE: rail car height specs
Author: toledopatch

I have seen "Exceeds Plate F" stencilled on many high cubes and autoracks, and I assume that these cars comply with Plate H.

Along with doublestacks, the new 20'2" autoracks fit in with that overhead clearance standard.

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