This long car was railroad-built to carry highway truck-trailers in “piggyback” service, and was one of Trailer Train’s original cars.
Built by Pennsylvania Railroad, Hollidaysburg, PA; December 1955
This Class F39A flatcar is 75′ long over end sills, 9′ 6″ wide, and 3′ 5-5/16″ high to the top of its deck, weighs 78,800 lbs. (39.4 tons), has a load-carrying capacity of 125,000 lbs. (62.5 tons), and load limit of 131,200 lbs. (65.6 tons). It carried two 35-foot trailers, or three 21-foot trailer bodies without bogies. It has a steel welded underframe, wooden deck, steel side railings, a center sill with steel loops for tie-downs, four-wheel PRR V12120 ride control trucks, AB valve brakes, and Timken roller bearings. It originally had two 47″ high security stakes per side, and jacks & chains lading devices (tie-down chains, jacks, wheel chocks, and trailer support beams). The end-loaded car had 47″ high cross- over bridge plates at diagonally opposite ends, which could be lowered onto adjacent cars. With all bridge plates lowered, a string of cars could be loaded with trailers from one loading ramp.
When the Pennsylvania Railroad began Truc-Train service March 3, 1955 using 200 Class F39 cars, it was so successful that PRR built 300 more such cars (plus twenty for the Wabash RR) at its plant in Hollidaysburg, near Altoona, PA, designating them Class F39A and F39B. The museum’s F39A car was completed as part of the third order in December 1955, and cost $13,314. It was painted Tuscan red with white lettering, and numbered PRR #470860.
To standardize equipment and tie-down methods used by railroads operating piggyback service, Trailer Train Corporation was formed, owned by PRR, Norfolk & Western, and the Rail-Trailer Company, joined later by other railroads, which began operations March 17, 1956. Its first 500 cars were PRR’s F39, F39A, & F39B flatcars, including PRR #470860, relettered TTX #470860. The “X” designated it as a non-railroad-owned car exchangeable between railroads. The car served throughout the nation, and for some time was based in Watertown, NY on the New York Central Railroad. Its jacks & chains lading devices were never replaced by hitches, and it was later re- lettered ATTX #470860, with “A” stenciled in front of “T.T.X.” on the car’s sides. Later its stakes, bridge plates, & lading devices were removed, and it was used in container service, and also in general service, carrying machinery and other large, bulky cargo.
In January 1990 the museum requested the donation of two 75-foot flatcars from Trailer Train Corporation to transport a turntable donated by the Santa Fe Railway from Fresno, CA to Campo. ATTX # 470860 & ATTX #470513 were donated, sent to Fresno, loaded, and taken to Campo by the Santa Fe and SD&IV in October 1990.
ATTX #470860 is on display near the Campo depot, with the turntable still on it pending its installation on museum grounds. The car will then be restored as time and funds permit.
1991 Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association. W. Schneider