TOFC Service (Trailer On Flat Car) : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Did SAL, or ACL offer TOFC service during the late 1950's? If so, what type of flatcars were used, what size trailers were used and how were they loaded onto the flatcars? Any other additional information on TOFC service would be helpful. Thank You Brian Stokes

-- Brian Russell Stokes (, July 27, 1999


Correrct the preceeding response: Carson, VA. should be read as Stony Creek....forgive recollection of 34 years; it's may atempt at accuracy.

-- JR Morton (, August 05, 1999.

The ACL was, before the merger, aggressive in providing piggypack or Truc Train service between the north (Pot Yard) and the south competing against the SAL's Razorback service. The ACL Employee Timetable #1 for 04-25-65 gave train #175 (Piggyback Special) 2'20" to run the north end of the Richmond Division for an average speed of 54 MPH. 65MPH was the maximum authorized speed for an unrestricted train; this required all roller bearing equipment. Not too shabby a performance for a freight train when one considers #91 had 2'00' flat to make the same trip with a 90MPH maximum speed. You wouldn't want to be standing in the six-foot when 175 went thru Carson, VA. getting wound up on the downgrade...after we passed ballast fell for 20 minutes.

-- JR Morton (, August 05, 1999.

Seaboard Air Line also began TOFC service in 1959, according to the new SEABOARD book by William E. Griffin, Jr.

-- Tom Alderman (, July 27, 1999.

ACL started TOFC service in 1959 and I imagine SAL started about the same time. On the ACL, TTX flats were used and the railroad also converted 50 of its 53' flatcars for TOFC service in 1959. The first trailers were standard 40' end-door trailers made by Great Dane and Dorsey. By the mid-60s ACL also had other trailer types including side-door, open top, flatbed, and short 20' ones. SAL had a similar trailer roster although I am not aware they had flatbeds. SAL did not convert any of its own flats to my knowledge, but used only TTX cars. Trailers were originally loaded "circus style" by backing them up ramps and onto the flats - bridge plates on each car could be lowered to enable driving over a coupled string of flats. In smaller towns ACL made ramps out of old 40' flats with trucks taken off one end. If there's a popular clamor out there, we can do a Lines South article on early intermodal.

-- Larry Goolsby (, July 27, 1999.


The Society now carries (in the product reprint catalog) a 1961 "SAL TOFC handbook". It is 90 pages in length and spiral bound and sells for $15 plus $3 S/H. It is a reprint of a company produced handbook for shippers using TOFC service.

The reprint is available thru our catalog sales, found in the center section of the Lines for Members, in of course, the latest issue of Lines South.

P.S. If your not a member, drop me a line (phone or E-mail) and I send you a current catalog and membership info.....

Best Wishes,

Ted Strickland Publications and Reprints, St. Petersburg Division, ACL & SAL HS (727) 866-1023 phone/fax

-- Ted Strickland (, July 27, 1999.

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