Railroad Car


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Car, Railroad

 

a car whose prototype was a cart of small capacity, a bin that moved along wooden tracks in mining enterprises. Initially, it was pulled by hand; later, it was horse drawn. This car appeared first in England and later in Germany. In 1786 the Irishman R. L. Edgeworth proposed that a train be made up of such cars. The creation of the railroad car was associated with the opening of horse railways, the first of which was built in the shire of Surrey, near London; passenger and freight cars moved along this road by horse traction. In 1810, P. K. Frolov built the Zmeinogorsk horse railway—the first in Russia—in Altai; it had three-car trains. A steam-traction railroad with rolling stock of 12 freight cars and 21 passenger cars was tested when the road between Stockton and Darlington (England) opened in 1825. Achievements in car building were demonstrated with the opening of the Manchester-Liverpool railway in England (1830); railway engineers from many countries, including Russia, were present.

In Russia, the first freight and passenger railroad cars of various types were built at the Aleksandrov plant in 1846. These were covered, four-axle railroad cars and flatcars with central coupling, no bumpers, and load capacities of 8.2 tons. The first two-axle railroad cars were built in 1855; they had load capacities of 6.5-10 tons. The construction of refrigerator cars to transport perishable food products began in 1862. Two-axle tank cars and special railroad cars (to transport live fish, dairy products, sand, and so on) appeared in 1872. The “standard” type freight cars, with capacities of 12.5 tons, were made in 1892. In 1905 the load capacity of freight cars in Russia was increased to 15 tons, and in 1911, to 16.5 tons. At the end of the 19th century, along with the creation of new types of railroad cars, the construction of the spring-suspension body, draft gear, buffer devices, brakes, and other mechanisms was perfected. By 1917 the stock of freight cars consisted basically of two-axle railroad cars, of which 67 percent were boxcars, 18 percent flatcars, 5 percent open cars, 6 percent tank cars, and 4 percent other types. The average load capacity was 15.1 tons.

The first passenger railroad cars in Russia appeared on the Tsarskoe Selo railroad, which was opened in 1837. They resembled carrettas. Between 1846 and 1851, 239 passenger railroad cars of various kinds were built at the Aleksandrov plant. In 1865 the engineer K. I. Rekhnevskii developed a truck with double-spring suspension, which ensured a smooth ride. Passenger cars were equipped with arm chairs (in first and second class); only in 1866 were the first sleeping cars introduced on fast trains from St. Petersburg to Moscow (in the USA, the Pullman system sleeping cars were made in 1867). The stock of passenger cars was extremely diverse, consisting primarily of two-, three-, and four-axle cars, mostly with wooden frames and bodies and with stove or water heating (individual units for each car) or steam heat from a special boiler car; lighting was predominantly by candles, in rare cases by gas. Virtually every passenger car had an automatic brake, open draft gear with screw coupling, and bumpers. Standardization of passenger cars began in 1896 with the construction of the four-axle car 18 m long. In 1906 double-deck passenger cars with Rykovskii system trucks were built.

In the years of Soviet power, the stock of railroad cars was fundamentally renovated. The construction of the old type of car was ended in 1931 and the production of covered two- and four-axle freight cars with respective load capacities of 20 and 50 tons, of 20-, 50-, and 60-ton flatcars, and of 24-, 45-, and 50-ton tank cars was organized; four-axle self-unloading 60-ton open cars and 25-, 60-, and 70-ton hopper cars with steel frames and center sills permitting the installation of automatic couplings were built. Bodies were made with metal framework, and facings made out of wood or of metal sheets. Railroad cars were outfitted with automatic brakes of domestic construction (such as the Kazantsev brake and Matrosov brake). Since 1947, all-metal passenger cars 23.6 m long have been built. In terms of purpose, railroad cars are divided into passenger and freight cars, into general-line and industrial transport cars, and into narrow-gauge and broad-gauge cars. Today, there are self-propelled and drawn railroad cars (such as motorcars of electrified railroads, trolley cars, subway cars, diesel cars, and railway motor cars).

Passenger cars are divided into general-purpose cars (for passenger transportation; also restaurant cars, mail cars, baggage cars, and power-plant cars, among others) and special-purpose cars (service, hospital, laboratory, club, and other cars). Trolley and subway cars also fall into the category of passenger railroad cars. There are long-distance, interregional, and local communications passenger cars. General-purpose cars include nonsleepers and sleeping cars (soft or hard). Railroad cars are built with all-metal self-supporting bodies, individual water heating or electric heating, forced or natural ventilation, and electric lighting. Many railroad cars have air conditioning, hot water units, and units for cooling drinking water. Diesel railcar trains and electric railcar trains are made up of motor and trailer cars. Contemporary soft sleeping cars can sleep 24-32; hard sleeping cars can sleep 38; nonsleepers can sleep 54 (and seat 81); and regional train cars can seat 68. For the capacity of the cars of electric and diesel trains, see Table 1.

Table 1. Capacity of cars of electric railcar trains and diesel railcar trains
Type of trainNumber of passenger places
Head carMotor carTrailer carEntire train
ER-2 and ER-9P electric railcar train.............881101081, 050
ER-22 electric railcar train1741971, 484
DR-1 diesel railcar train.............68124384

The railroads of the USSR transport over 2.8 billion passengers a year—over 65 percent of the passenger transport of the country (1969). In 1970, 1, 800 mainline passenger railroad cars were built in the USSR.

Freight cars are subdivided into universal (boxcars, open cars, flatcars, hoppers, tank cars, and isothermal cars [including refrigerator cars]) and special cars (gondolas, transporters, cement transporters, and cars for handling flour, asphalt, live fish, milk, wine, alcohol, and unrefined sugar). Valuable cargoes and goods requiring protection from atmospheric influence are transported in boxcars. In the USSR, four-axle boxcars of 60 and 62 ton capacities are the most common.

Industrial-transport freight cars include dump cars, slag cars, ladle cars, larries, and others. Many industrial cars are narrow-gauge. The main technical-economic parameters of freight cars are load capacity, number of axles, coefficient of tare, per unit volume of the body, per unit area, and linear dimensions. The load capacity of a railroad car is the greatest load permissible for shipping. The coefficient of tare is the ratio of the tare of the car (its own mass) to its load capacity. The per unit area is the ratio of the useful floor area of the car to its load capacity. The coefficient of tare of the freight car in the USSR is 9—12 percent lower than that in the USA; the average daily run is about 250 km in the USSR, 83 km in the USA. The USSR is first in Europe and second in the world in terms of the numbers and freight capacity of its freight cars. Freight cars account for about 70 percent of the freight turnover in the country (1968). In 1970, 58, 500 mainline freight cars were built in the USSR.

Certain basic elements (assemblies) are common to all types of railroad cars: undercarriages, bodies, impact-draft gear, and brakes. The undercarriage guides the car along the track; it serves as a foundation for the body and ensures safe movement at the required speed, a smooth ride, and minimum resistance to motion. The undercarriage consists of the wheel-pairs, axle boxes, the spring suspension, and the girders and frames that link them. The frame serves as the foundation of the body; the impact-draft gear and some of the brake equipment are fastened to the frame. The automatic coupler and absorptive apparatus serve to couple cars and absorb longitudinal stress. Brakes are designed to regulate speed automatically and stop the car or train. All passenger and some freight cars are equipped with hand brakes in addition to the automatic brakes. The service life of a freight boxcar in the USSR is 41 years; of open cars, flatcars, and tank cars, 43 years; and of passenger cars, 55 years. There are over 5 million freight cars and over 200, 000 passenger cars in the world (1970).

The development of car building in the USSR provides for producing of freight cars of large load capacities; lowering the tare and consumption of metal in the construction of every car; adapting railroad cars to maximum mechanization of load handling operations; perfecting brakes, automatic couplers, and undercarriages that will ensure the reliable operation of railroad cars in heavy trains (6, 000-10, 000 tons) with speeds up to 120 km per hour; employing high-strength anticorrosive steels, high-strength aluminum alloys, and polymeric materials; and producing passenger cars to run at speeds of 200-250 km per hour.

REFERENCES

Vagony. Moscow, 1965.
Vagony promyshlennogo transporta. Moscow, 1966.
Vagony SSSR: Katalog i spravochnik. Moscow, 1969.

R. N. ARUTIUNOV and G. A. KAZANSKII

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