US20060288902A1 - Intermodal rail car/truck trailer - Google Patents

Intermodal rail car/truck trailer Download PDF

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US20060288902A1
US20060288902A1 US11/167,692 US16769205A US2006288902A1 US 20060288902 A1 US20060288902 A1 US 20060288902A1 US 16769205 A US16769205 A US 16769205A US 2006288902 A1 US2006288902 A1 US 2006288902A1
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container
rail
coupler
truck trailer
wheel
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US11/167,692
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Kirk McGuire
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61DBODY DETAILS OR KINDS OF RAILWAY VEHICLES
    • B61D3/00Wagons or vans
    • B61D3/16Wagons or vans adapted for carrying special loads
    • B61D3/18Wagons or vans adapted for carrying special loads for vehicles
    • B61D3/182Wagons or vans adapted for carrying special loads for vehicles specially adapted for heavy vehicles, e.g. public work vehicles, trucks, trailers
    • B61D3/184Wagons or vans adapted for carrying special loads for vehicles specially adapted for heavy vehicles, e.g. public work vehicles, trucks, trailers the heavy vehicles being of the trailer or semi-trailer type
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61DBODY DETAILS OR KINDS OF RAILWAY VEHICLES
    • B61D45/00Means or devices for securing or supporting the cargo, including protection against shocks
    • B61D45/001Devices for fixing to walls or floors
    • B61D45/004Fixing semi-trailers
    • B61D45/005Fixing semi-trailers by using fifth wheel locks
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61FRAIL VEHICLE SUSPENSIONS, e.g. UNDERFRAMES, BOGIES OR ARRANGEMENTS OF WHEEL AXLES; RAIL VEHICLES FOR USE ON TRACKS OF DIFFERENT WIDTH; PREVENTING DERAILING OF RAIL VEHICLES; WHEEL GUARDS, OBSTRUCTION REMOVERS OR THE LIKE FOR RAIL VEHICLES
    • B61F1/00Underframes

Definitions

  • the present invention relates to transportation systems, and, more particularly, to intermodal rail/road transportation systems.
  • Transportation systems which utilize aspects of two or more distinct transportation systems, such as truck and train, are sometimes known as intermodal transportation systems or bimodal if only two systems are combined.
  • One motivation to combine elements of a truck and train system is to take advantage of the lower cost per freight mile of the railroad system while still having the convenience of road transportation, as only a small percentage of commercial and/or residential locations are directly accessible via rail.
  • Another example of an intermodal system is ferryboats used by railroad companies such as the ferryboat that runs between Ludington, Mich. and Mantiwoc, Wis. Although this ferryboat is now converted primarily for recreational purposes, it has a hold with rail lines in which sixteen fully loaded railroad cars can be held. The motivation for this particular ferryboat included avoiding the several hundred mile trip around southern Lake Michigan, and the transit through the busy train yards of Chicago.
  • the railroad faces at least two handicaps in competing with motor carriers.
  • Rail service does not offer the door-to-door pickup and delivery service that is provided by motor carriers, and
  • freight in less than carload quantities needs better packaging for shipment by rail than for shipment by motor carrier.
  • Piggyback service can help overcome these problems.
  • Detachable dollies are put on the trailer using a hydraulic jack to lift the dolly up to the trailer bottom.
  • Disadvantages of this system include, in the case of a permanently mounted railroad dollies, increasing the tare with the railroad dollies, and in the case of detachable dollies, the need for the hydraulic jack.
  • Another system uses trailers outfitted with detachable sliding rear roadway wheel assemblies.
  • To detach a roadway wheel assembly the trailer is backed up to a flatbed car that has a hydraulic turntable built into it.
  • the roadway wheel assembly is released and slid forward before the turntable is hydraulically raised.
  • the turntable mechanism lifts the trailer off of the roadway wheels.
  • the trailer is then hauled on a flatbed car.
  • a disadvantage of this system includes the need for a flatbed car that has a hydraulic turntable built into it, which increase the cost and the tare of the flatbed car, and decreases the reliability of the flatbed car.
  • a system was devised that eliminated the flatcar and replaced it with a railway dolly or so-called bogie such as a system wherein a semi-trailer is driven onto a bogie.
  • bogie such as a system wherein a semi-trailer is driven onto a bogie.
  • this system requires a large truck turning area and a high degree of driver skill to accomplish the loading process.
  • this system requires a separate incline ramp to load the trailer onto the dolly and if a separate incline ramp is not available at the destination, the trailer cannot be unloaded.
  • Another system uses a railway bogie incorporating a platform adapted to connect directly to a truck-trailer.
  • the platform is raised by a pneumatic system integrated into the bogie to couple it to the underside of the trailer.
  • the pneumatically raised platform is relatively expensive and unreliable, and increases the tare of the system.
  • prior truck-train systems have proven to be less than desirable by requiring additional equipment for their operation such as special lifting cranes and/or pneumatic lifts and turntables, and separate switching engines. Further, many of the prior art truck-train systems require the use of a railroad turntable device and a complex loading area or equipment to link the truck-trailers together for transportation. Yet further, prior truck-train systems include mechanisms such as road wheels during rail use, or vice versa, or other complex manipulation mechanisms which increase the tare of the system and thereby, and otherwise, decrease the economy of the system.
  • the present invention provides an intermodal rail car/truck trailer which does not require specialized lifting or manipulation equipment at either the origination or destination, which does not require special locomotive engines or truck trailers, which minimizes the tare of the transportation system and which improves the economy of the system.
  • the invention comprises, in one form thereof, an intermodal rail container/truck trailer which includes a container platform with a ground side, and a sill connected to the container platform on the ground side.
  • the sill includes a first end and a second end.
  • At least one railroad car coupler is connected to at least one of the first end and the second end.
  • the invention comprises, in another form thereof, an intermodal rail car which includes a rail car frame having a first end and a second end.
  • a first fifth wheel coupler is connected to the rail car frame, and a second fifth wheel coupler is connected to the rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with the first fifth wheel coupler.
  • At least one railroad car coupler is connected to at least one of the first end and the second end.
  • the invention comprises, in another form thereof, a dolly for use with an intermodal rail container/truck trailer which includes a frame, a set of road wheels rotatably connected to the frame, a fifth wheel coupler connected to the frame, and a tow bar connected to the frame.
  • the invention comprises, in another form thereof, a method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer from rail to road use, including the steps of: providing an intermodal rail car including a rail car frame having a first end and a second end, a first fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame, a second fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with the first fifth wheel coupler, and at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to one of the first fifth wheel coupler and the second fifth wheel coupler, the intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to at least one railroad car coupler, the intermodal rail container/truck trailer including a container platform including a ground side, a sill connected to the container platform on the ground side, the sill including a first end and a second end, at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end, at least one fifth wheel pin connected to the ground side of the container, and at least
  • the invention comprises, in another form thereof, a method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer from road to rail use, including the steps of: providing intermodal rail car including a rail car frame having a first end and a second end, a first fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame, a second fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with the first fifth wheel coupler, and at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer, the intermodal rail container/truck trailer including a container platform including a ground side, a sill connected to the container platform on the ground side, the sill including a first end and a second end, at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end, at least one fifth wheel pin connected to the ground side of the container, at least one set of landing gear connected to the ground side of the container; providing a dolly connected to the container platform, the dolly having a frame, a set of
  • An advantage of the present invention is that it provides an intermodal rail container/truck trailer which does not require specialized lifting or manipulation equipment at either the origination or destination.
  • Another advantage is the present invention does not require special locomotive engines or truck trailers.
  • Yet another advantage is the present invention minimizes the tare of the transportation system.
  • Yet another advantage is the present invention improves the economy of the transportation system.
  • Yet another advantage is that the present invention can be adapted for use with a variety of container platforms.
  • Yet another advantage is that the present invention can be adapted for use with a variety of railroad systems and standards.
  • Yet another advantage is that the present invention does not require a railroad turntable device and/or a complex loading area or equipment.
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of an intermodal rail container/truck trailer according to the present invention and adapted for road use;
  • FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, exploded side view of an embodiment of an intermodal rail container/truck trailer, dolly and intermodal rail car according to the present invention
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of FIG. 1 being adapted for rail use with an intermodal rail car according to the present invention
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of FIG. 3 being further adapted for rail use with the dolly being removed;
  • FIG. 5 is a side view of the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of FIG. 3 completing the adaptation for rail use with the addition of a second intermodal rail car according to the present invention
  • FIG. 6 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of an intermodal rail car according to the present invention, shown in conjunction with two intermodal rail container/truck trailers;
  • FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along section line 6 - 6 of FIG. 6 ;
  • FIG. 8 is a side view of an embodiment of a dolly according to the present invention connected directly to a truck tractor;
  • FIG. 9 is a side view sequential illustration of an embodiment of the method according to the present invention showing the conversion from rail use to road use, and road use to rail use;
  • FIG. 10 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a refrigerated intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention
  • FIG. 11 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a live stock intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention
  • FIG. 12 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a liquid container intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention
  • FIG. 13 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a dry bulk intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention
  • FIG. 14 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a flat bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention
  • FIG. 15 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of an open top intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention
  • FIG. 16 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a double container intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 17 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a low bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention.
  • Truck tractor 12 particularly includes truck fifth wheel coupler 16 as is known in the art and particularly used with over-the-road semi tractor trailers.
  • Truck fifth wheel coupler 16 can also be known as a tongue, hitch or head.
  • Intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 includes a container platform 18 with a ground side 20 , and also a frame and sides depending on the design and usage of intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 .
  • a sill 22 is connected to container platform 18 on ground side 20 .
  • Sill 22 is generally a horizontal structural member.
  • Sill 22 including a first end 24 and a second end 26 .
  • At least one railroad car coupler 28 is connected to at least one of first end 24 and second end 26 .
  • Railroad car coupler 28 is sometimes known as a MCB (Master Car Builders) coupler.
  • MCB was later known as the American Rail Association (ARA), and is currently known as the Association of American Railroads (AAR), which association's Mechanical Committee establishes standards for railroad car couplers.
  • An example of an embodiment of railroad car coupler 28 is AAR Standard type E, incorporated herein by reference, which can be a prevalent type on railroad freight cars.
  • railroad car coupler 28 is not limited to such an embodiment, but instead can be as is known for General Railway System (GRS) of North America applications, as is known for non-GRS applications such as amusement parks, mines and industrial applications (which may be narrow gauge), as is known by the Association of American Railroads and/or as is known for foreign applications.
  • GRS General Railway System
  • GRS General Railway System
  • non-GRS applications such as amusement parks, mines and industrial applications (which may be narrow gauge)
  • GRS General Railway System
  • railroad car coupler 28 is an apparatus suitable for coupling two railroad
  • At least one lunette 30 is connected to ground side 20 of container platform 18 . Although only one lunette 30 is shown in FIG. 1 , for example, it can be advantageous to have another lunette 30 generally at the other end of sill 22 and in opposed relation to lunette 30 shown.
  • At least one fifth wheel pin 32 is connected to ground side 20 of container platform 18 and is suitable for connection with truck fifth wheel coupler 16 .
  • a dolly 34 can be connected to container platform 18 .
  • Dolly 34 includes a frame 36 , a set of road wheels 38 rotatably connected to frame 36 , a fifth wheel coupler 40 connected to frame 36 , and a tow bar 42 connected to frame 36 . In general, fifth wheel coupler 40 and tow bar 42 are connected to container platform 18 .
  • tow bar 42 can be connected to lunette 30 and fifth wheel coupler 40 can be connected to one fifth wheel pin 32 .
  • At least one set of landing gear 44 can be connected to ground side 20 of container 18 .
  • Landing gear 44 can be as is known for semi truck trailers, for example.
  • the present invention further includes an intermodal rail car 46 (see particularly FIGS. 2-7 ) having a rail car frame 48 with a first end 50 and a second end 52 .
  • a first fifth wheel coupler 54 is connected to rail car frame 48 .
  • a second fifth wheel coupler 56 can be connected to rail car frame 48 in a longitudinally opposed relation with first fifth wheel coupler 54 .
  • At least one railroad car coupler 58 is connected to at least one of first end 50 and second end 52 .
  • Fifth wheel couplers 16 , 40 , 54 and 56 can be similar, as can be railroad couplers 28 and 58 .
  • a first mount 60 connects first fifth wheel coupler 54 to rail car frame 48
  • a second mount 62 connects second fifth wheel coupler 56 to rail car frame 48
  • Each of first mount 60 and second mount 62 includes a respective rail system 64 allowing a longitudinal movement of a respective mount 60 , 62 .
  • Each respective mount 60 , 62 can include a platform connected to rail system 64 , and at least one resilient member 68 connected to both platform 66 and rail car frame 48 . At least one resilient member 68 can be oriented in a vertical direction.
  • Rail car frame can include at least one pin 70 connected to a respective platform 66 .
  • Each respective fifth wheel coupler 54 , 56 can include rollers 57 and pivot 59 .
  • Intermodal rail car 46 can include intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 connected to one of first fifth wheel coupler 54 and second fifth wheel coupler 56 and intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 can also be connected to at least one railroad car coupler 58 . At least one sill railroad car coupler 14 can be connected to at least one railroad car coupler 58 .
  • FIGS. 10-17 illustrate how the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of the present invention can be embodied as a refrigerated intermodal rail container/truck trailer 72 , a live stock intermodal rail container/truck trailer 74 , a liquid container intermodal rail container/truck trailer 76 , a dry bulk intermodal rail container/truck trailer 78 , a flat bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer 80 , an open top intermodal rail container/truck trailer 82 , a double container intermodal rail container/truck trailer 84 , and a low bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer 86 .
  • the present invention discloses a method, of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 from rail to road use, see particularly FIG. 9 , including the steps of: providing an intermodal rail car 46 ; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 connected to one of first fifth wheel coupler 54 and second fifth wheel coupler 56 where at least one sill railroad car coupler 28 is connected to at least one railroad car coupler 58 ; lowering at least one set of landing gear 44 ; connecting a dolly 34 to intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 where dolly fifth wheel coupler 40 is connected to one fifth wheel pin 32 and tow bar 42 is connected to ground side 20 of container platform 18 ; connecting truck tractor 12 to intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 , where truck fifth wheel coupler 16 is connected to another fifth wheel pin 32 ; and raising landing gear 44 .
  • Movement of intermodal rail car 46 can be with a standard locomotive 88 .
  • Truck tractor 12 can have a suitable attachment for allowing it to run on the railway, if necessary.
  • the present invention discloses a method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 from road to rail use, including the steps of: providing an intermodal rail car 46 ; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 ; providing a dolly 34 connected to container platform 18 ; lowering at least one set of landing gear 44 ; disconnecting dolly 34 from container platform 18 ; connecting one fifth wheel pin 32 to one of first fifth wheel coupler 54 and second fifth wheel coupler 56 ; connecting one sill railroad car coupler 28 to one railroad car coupler 58 ; and raising landing gear 44 .

Abstract

An intermodal rail container/truck trailer includes a container platform with a ground side, and a sill connected to the ground side. The sill includes a first end and a second end. At least one railroad car coupler is connected to at least one of the first end and the second end. The invention further includes an intermodal rail car which includes a rail car frame having a first end and a second end. A first fifth wheel coupler is connected to the rail car frame, and a second fifth wheel coupler is connected to the rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with the first fifth wheel coupler. At least one railroad car coupler is connected to at least one of the first end and the second end. The intermodal rail container/truck trailer and rail car can be interconnected using the railroad couplers and fifth wheel couplers and pins.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to transportation systems, and, more particularly, to intermodal rail/road transportation systems.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Transportation systems which utilize aspects of two or more distinct transportation systems, such as truck and train, are sometimes known as intermodal transportation systems or bimodal if only two systems are combined. One motivation to combine elements of a truck and train system is to take advantage of the lower cost per freight mile of the railroad system while still having the convenience of road transportation, as only a small percentage of commercial and/or residential locations are directly accessible via rail. Another example of an intermodal system is ferryboats used by railroad companies such as the ferryboat that runs between Ludington, Mich. and Mantiwoc, Wis. Although this ferryboat is now converted primarily for recreational purposes, it has a hold with rail lines in which sixteen fully loaded railroad cars can be held. The motivation for this particular ferryboat included avoiding the several hundred mile trip around southern Lake Michigan, and the transit through the busy train yards of Chicago.
  • In the mid-1800s, canal boats were hauled by cog railroad over mountains from one stream to another. Boats were also used to haul supplies, horses and wagons of westward bound pioneers on inland waterways. On festive occasions, Canadian railroads operated special picnic trains hauling passengers and sleighs that were mounted on flat cars. In the United States, early railway-highway intermodal operations were often termed “piggyback” operations which eliminated to need to unload the contents of the road transportation. The early piggyback operations included trains hauling farmers' wagons. An early piggyback train began operation in the late 1800s and hauled sixteen wagons on eight flat cars. The distance traveled was approximately twenty miles and the savings in time was substantial. As the service became more well known, special cars were built that could haul four wagons each. Passenger service for the owners or drivers of the wagons was furnished in a separate car. The operation only lasted about a decade, but it was a beginning of railway-highway intermodal travel in the United States.
  • The railroad faces at least two handicaps in competing with motor carriers. First, rail service does not offer the door-to-door pickup and delivery service that is provided by motor carriers, and second, freight in less than carload quantities needs better packaging for shipment by rail than for shipment by motor carrier. Piggyback service can help overcome these problems.
  • In 1920s, the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee Railroads began hauling railroad-owned highway trailers on flat cars, providing one of the first modern piggyback service in the United States.
  • Between 1939 and 1951, the railroads' efforts to expand piggyback service were curtailed. The economic pressure on the railroads to increase traffic was greatly relieved by the freight shipments generated by World War II and by the pent-up demand for consumer goods immediately following the end of the war. When the backlog of orders was reduced, rail tonnage again began to decline. Before any action was taken toward increasing piggyback services, however, the Korean War led to an increase in the demand for service to such an extent that railroads did not feel that it was necessary to explore avenues which might yield additional freight tonnage. When rail freight tonnage began to decline, the railroads again became interested in methods of increasing tonnage and the search led them to a reappraisal of piggyback service. During the 1950s, piggyback operations expanded rapidly and, by the end of 1959, many of the principal railroads in the United States were providing piggyback service.
  • Over the years, many methods and designs of piggyback service have been developed. Typically these methods are a variation of one of two primary methods. One of these methods involves hauling the complete trailer. A disadvantage of this system is that the tare (the weight of a container that is deducted from the gross weight to obtain net weight of the cargo) is increased by the road wheels, axle(s) and suspension thereby reducing transportation efficiency. The other method involves hauling only the trailer body. A disadvantage to this system is that special cranes are required to lift the trailer body off of a rail car and onto a truck.. Another system uses trailers outfitted with special railroad wheel dollies that ride on rails built into specially fitted flatbed cars. The railroad dollies can be either permanently attached to the trailer or detachably mounted. Detachable dollies are put on the trailer using a hydraulic jack to lift the dolly up to the trailer bottom. Disadvantages of this system include, in the case of a permanently mounted railroad dollies, increasing the tare with the railroad dollies, and in the case of detachable dollies, the need for the hydraulic jack.
  • Another system uses trailers outfitted with detachable sliding rear roadway wheel assemblies. To detach a roadway wheel assembly, the trailer is backed up to a flatbed car that has a hydraulic turntable built into it. The roadway wheel assembly is released and slid forward before the turntable is hydraulically raised. The turntable mechanism lifts the trailer off of the roadway wheels. The trailer is then hauled on a flatbed car. A disadvantage of this system includes the need for a flatbed car that has a hydraulic turntable built into it, which increase the cost and the tare of the flatbed car, and decreases the reliability of the flatbed car.
  • In the late 1970s, a new trailer was designed with a single rail axle and tandem highway axles. This trailer has a set of non-removable railway wheels located between tandem highway axles. To run on the road, the railway wheels are retracted above the highway wheels. Conversely, to run on rails, the railway wheels are extended below the roadway wheels. One major disadvantage of this system is that the railway wheels are heavy and the weight must be carried at all times. This decreases fuel economy and increases the cost of hauling tonnage over the highway, whereas the highway wheels decreases fuel economy and increases the cost of hauling tonnage over the railway.
  • A system was devised that eliminated the flatcar and replaced it with a railway dolly or so-called bogie such as a system wherein a semi-trailer is driven onto a bogie. However, such a system requires a large truck turning area and a high degree of driver skill to accomplish the loading process. Additionally, this system requires a separate incline ramp to load the trailer onto the dolly and if a separate incline ramp is not available at the destination, the trailer cannot be unloaded.
  • Another system uses a railway bogie incorporating a platform adapted to connect directly to a truck-trailer. The platform is raised by a pneumatic system integrated into the bogie to couple it to the underside of the trailer. However, the pneumatically raised platform is relatively expensive and unreliable, and increases the tare of the system.
  • In general, prior truck-train systems have proven to be less than desirable by requiring additional equipment for their operation such as special lifting cranes and/or pneumatic lifts and turntables, and separate switching engines. Further, many of the prior art truck-train systems require the use of a railroad turntable device and a complex loading area or equipment to link the truck-trailers together for transportation. Yet further, prior truck-train systems include mechanisms such as road wheels during rail use, or vice versa, or other complex manipulation mechanisms which increase the tare of the system and thereby, and otherwise, decrease the economy of the system.
  • What is needed in the art is an intermodal rail car/truck trailer which does not require specialized lifting or manipulation equipment at either the origination or destination, which does not require special locomotive engines or truck trailers, which minimizes the tare of the transportation system and which improves the economy of the system.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides an intermodal rail car/truck trailer which does not require specialized lifting or manipulation equipment at either the origination or destination, which does not require special locomotive engines or truck trailers, which minimizes the tare of the transportation system and which improves the economy of the system.
  • The invention comprises, in one form thereof, an intermodal rail container/truck trailer which includes a container platform with a ground side, and a sill connected to the container platform on the ground side. The sill includes a first end and a second end. At least one railroad car coupler is connected to at least one of the first end and the second end.
  • The invention comprises, in another form thereof, an intermodal rail car which includes a rail car frame having a first end and a second end. A first fifth wheel coupler is connected to the rail car frame, and a second fifth wheel coupler is connected to the rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with the first fifth wheel coupler. At least one railroad car coupler is connected to at least one of the first end and the second end.
  • The invention comprises, in another form thereof, a dolly for use with an intermodal rail container/truck trailer which includes a frame, a set of road wheels rotatably connected to the frame, a fifth wheel coupler connected to the frame, and a tow bar connected to the frame.
  • The invention comprises, in another form thereof, a method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer from rail to road use, including the steps of: providing an intermodal rail car including a rail car frame having a first end and a second end, a first fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame, a second fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with the first fifth wheel coupler, and at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to one of the first fifth wheel coupler and the second fifth wheel coupler, the intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to at least one railroad car coupler, the intermodal rail container/truck trailer including a container platform including a ground side, a sill connected to the container platform on the ground side, the sill including a first end and a second end, at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end, at least one fifth wheel pin connected to the ground side of the container, and at least one set of landing gear connected to the ground side of the container, the at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one railroad car coupler; lowering the at least one set of landing gear; connecting a dolly to the intermodal rail container/truck trailer, the dolly including a frame, a set of road wheels rotatably connected to the frame, a dolly fifth wheel coupler connected to the frame; and a tow bar connected to the frame, the dolly fifth wheel coupler connected to one the fifth wheel pin, the tow bar connected to the ground side of the container platform; connecting a truck tractor to the intermodal rail container/truck trailer, the truck tractor including a truck fifth wheel coupler, the truck fifth wheel coupler connected to another fifth wheel pin; and raising the at least one set of landing gear.
  • The invention comprises, in another form thereof, a method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer from road to rail use, including the steps of: providing intermodal rail car including a rail car frame having a first end and a second end, a first fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame, a second fifth wheel coupler connected to the rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with the first fifth wheel coupler, and at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer, the intermodal rail container/truck trailer including a container platform including a ground side, a sill connected to the container platform on the ground side, the sill including a first end and a second end, at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one of the first end and the second end, at least one fifth wheel pin connected to the ground side of the container, at least one set of landing gear connected to the ground side of the container; providing a dolly connected to the container platform, the dolly having a frame, a set of road wheels rotatably connected to the frame, a dolly fifth wheel coupler connected to the frame, and a tow bar connected to the frame, the dolly fifth wheel coupler and the tow bar connected to the container platform; lowering the at least one set of landing gear; disconnecting the dolly from the container platform; connecting one fifth wheel pin to one of the first fifth wheel coupler and the second fifth wheel coupler; connecting one sill railroad car coupler to one railroad car coupler; and raising the at least one set of landing gear.
  • An advantage of the present invention is that it provides an intermodal rail container/truck trailer which does not require specialized lifting or manipulation equipment at either the origination or destination.
  • Another advantage is the present invention does not require special locomotive engines or truck trailers.
  • Yet another advantage is the present invention minimizes the tare of the transportation system.
  • Yet another advantage is the present invention improves the economy of the transportation system.
  • Yet another advantage is that the present invention can be adapted for use with a variety of container platforms.
  • Yet another advantage is that the present invention can be adapted for use with a variety of railroad systems and standards.
  • Yet another advantage is that the present invention does not require a railroad turntable device and/or a complex loading area or equipment.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The above-mentioned and other features and advantages of this invention, and the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and the invention will be better understood by reference to the following description of embodiments of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of an intermodal rail container/truck trailer according to the present invention and adapted for road use;
  • FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, exploded side view of an embodiment of an intermodal rail container/truck trailer, dolly and intermodal rail car according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of FIG. 1 being adapted for rail use with an intermodal rail car according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of FIG. 3 being further adapted for rail use with the dolly being removed;
  • FIG. 5 is a side view of the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of FIG. 3 completing the adaptation for rail use with the addition of a second intermodal rail car according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of an intermodal rail car according to the present invention, shown in conjunction with two intermodal rail container/truck trailers;
  • FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along section line 6-6 of FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 8 is a side view of an embodiment of a dolly according to the present invention connected directly to a truck tractor;
  • FIG. 9 is a side view sequential illustration of an embodiment of the method according to the present invention showing the conversion from rail use to road use, and road use to rail use;
  • FIG. 10 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a refrigerated intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a live stock intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 12 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a liquid container intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 13 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a dry bulk intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 14 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a flat bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 15 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of an open top intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 16 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a double container intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention; and
  • FIG. 17 is a fragmentary side view of an embodiment of a low bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to two intermodal rail cars according to the present invention.
  • Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplifications set out herein illustrate one preferred embodiment of the invention, in one form, and such exemplifications are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a transportation system 10 which generally includes truck tractor 12 and an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14. Truck tractor 12 particularly includes truck fifth wheel coupler 16 as is known in the art and particularly used with over-the-road semi tractor trailers. Truck fifth wheel coupler 16 can also be known as a tongue, hitch or head.
  • Intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 includes a container platform 18 with a ground side 20, and also a frame and sides depending on the design and usage of intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14. A sill 22 is connected to container platform 18 on ground side 20. Sill 22 is generally a horizontal structural member. Sill 22 including a first end 24 and a second end 26. At least one railroad car coupler 28 is connected to at least one of first end 24 and second end 26.
  • Railroad car coupler 28 is sometimes known as a MCB (Master Car Builders) coupler. MCB was later known as the American Railroad Association (ARA), and is currently known as the Association of American Railroads (AAR), which association's Mechanical Committee establishes standards for railroad car couplers. An example of an embodiment of railroad car coupler 28 is AAR Standard type E, incorporated herein by reference, which can be a prevalent type on railroad freight cars. However, railroad car coupler 28 is not limited to such an embodiment, but instead can be as is known for General Railway System (GRS) of North America applications, as is known for non-GRS applications such as amusement parks, mines and industrial applications (which may be narrow gauge), as is known by the Association of American Railroads and/or as is known for foreign applications. In general, railroad car coupler 28 is an apparatus suitable for coupling two railroad cars.
  • At least one lunette 30 is connected to ground side 20 of container platform 18. Although only one lunette 30 is shown in FIG. 1, for example, it can be advantageous to have another lunette 30 generally at the other end of sill 22 and in opposed relation to lunette 30 shown. At least one fifth wheel pin 32 is connected to ground side 20 of container platform 18 and is suitable for connection with truck fifth wheel coupler 16. A dolly 34 can be connected to container platform 18. Dolly 34 includes a frame 36, a set of road wheels 38 rotatably connected to frame 36, a fifth wheel coupler 40 connected to frame 36, and a tow bar 42 connected to frame 36. In general, fifth wheel coupler 40 and tow bar 42 are connected to container platform 18. More particularly, tow bar 42 can be connected to lunette 30 and fifth wheel coupler 40 can be connected to one fifth wheel pin 32. At least one set of landing gear 44 can be connected to ground side 20 of container 18. Landing gear 44 can be as is known for semi truck trailers, for example.
  • The present invention further includes an intermodal rail car 46 (see particularly FIGS. 2-7) having a rail car frame 48 with a first end 50 and a second end 52. A first fifth wheel coupler 54 is connected to rail car frame 48. A second fifth wheel coupler 56 can be connected to rail car frame 48 in a longitudinally opposed relation with first fifth wheel coupler 54. At least one railroad car coupler 58 is connected to at least one of first end 50 and second end 52. Fifth wheel couplers 16,40, 54 and 56 can be similar, as can be railroad couplers 28 and 58.
  • A first mount 60 connects first fifth wheel coupler 54 to rail car frame 48, and a second mount 62 connects second fifth wheel coupler 56 to rail car frame 48. Each of first mount 60 and second mount 62 includes a respective rail system 64 allowing a longitudinal movement of a respective mount 60, 62. Each respective mount 60, 62 can include a platform connected to rail system 64, and at least one resilient member 68 connected to both platform 66 and rail car frame 48. At least one resilient member 68 can be oriented in a vertical direction. Rail car frame can include at least one pin 70 connected to a respective platform 66. Each respective fifth wheel coupler 54, 56 can include rollers 57 and pivot 59.
  • Intermodal rail car 46 can include intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 connected to one of first fifth wheel coupler 54 and second fifth wheel coupler 56 and intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 can also be connected to at least one railroad car coupler 58. At least one sill railroad car coupler 14 can be connected to at least one railroad car coupler 58.
  • Although intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 is shown as a freight van embodiment, FIGS. 10-17 illustrate how the intermodal rail container/truck trailer of the present invention can be embodied as a refrigerated intermodal rail container/truck trailer 72, a live stock intermodal rail container/truck trailer 74, a liquid container intermodal rail container/truck trailer 76, a dry bulk intermodal rail container/truck trailer 78, a flat bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer 80, an open top intermodal rail container/truck trailer 82, a double container intermodal rail container/truck trailer 84, and a low bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer 86.
  • In use, the present invention discloses a method, of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 from rail to road use, see particularly FIG. 9, including the steps of: providing an intermodal rail car 46; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 connected to one of first fifth wheel coupler 54 and second fifth wheel coupler 56 where at least one sill railroad car coupler 28 is connected to at least one railroad car coupler 58; lowering at least one set of landing gear 44; connecting a dolly 34 to intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 where dolly fifth wheel coupler 40 is connected to one fifth wheel pin 32 and tow bar 42 is connected to ground side 20 of container platform 18; connecting truck tractor 12 to intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14, where truck fifth wheel coupler 16 is connected to another fifth wheel pin 32; and raising landing gear 44. Movement of intermodal rail car 46 can be with a standard locomotive 88. Truck tractor 12 can have a suitable attachment for allowing it to run on the railway, if necessary.
  • Conversely, the present invention discloses a method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14 from road to rail use, including the steps of: providing an intermodal rail car 46; providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer 14; providing a dolly 34 connected to container platform 18; lowering at least one set of landing gear 44; disconnecting dolly 34 from container platform 18; connecting one fifth wheel pin 32 to one of first fifth wheel coupler 54 and second fifth wheel coupler 56; connecting one sill railroad car coupler 28 to one railroad car coupler 58; and raising landing gear 44.
  • While this invention has been described as having a preferred design, the present invention can be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains and which fall within the limits of the appended claims.

Claims (15)

1. An intermodal rail container/truck trailer; comprising:
a container platform including a ground side;
a sill connected to said container platform on said ground side, said sill including a first end and a second end; and
at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of said first end and said second end.
2. The intermodal rail container/truck trailer of claim 1, further including at least one lunette connected to said ground side of said container platform.
3. The intermodal rail container/truck trailer of claim 1, further including at least one fifth wheel pin connected to said ground side of said container platform.
4. The intermodal rail container/truck trailer of claim 1, further including a dolly connected to said container platform, said dolly having a frame, a set of road wheels rotatably connected to said frame, a fifth wheel coupler connected to said frame, and a tow bar connected to said frame, said fifth wheel coupler and said tow bar connected to said container platform.
5. The intermodal rail container/truck trailer of claim 4, further including at least one lunette connected to said ground side of said container platform, and at least one fifth wheel pin connected to said ground side of said container platform, said tow bar connected to said lunette and said fifth wheel coupler connected to one said fifth wheel pin.
6. The intermodal rail container/truck trailer of claim 1, further including at least one set of landing gear connected to said ground side of said container platform.
7. The intermodal rail container/truck trailer of claim 1, wherein said intermodal rail container/truck trailer is at least one of a freight van intermodal rail container/truck trailer, a refrigerated intermodal rail container/truck trailer, a live stock intermodal rail container/truck trailer, a liquid container intermodal rail container/truck trailer, a dry bulk intermodal rail container/truck trailer, a flat bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer, an open top intermodal rail container/truck trailer, a double container intermodal rail container/truck trailer, and a low bed intermodal rail container/truck trailer.
8. An intermodal rail car, comprising:
a rail car frame having a first end and a second end;
a first fifth wheel coupler connected to said rail car frame;
a second fifth wheel coupler connected to said rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with said first fifth wheel coupler; and
at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of said first end and said second end.
9. The intermodal rail car of claim 8, further including a first mount connecting said first fifth wheel coupler to said rail car frame, and a second mount connecting said second fifth wheel coupler to said rail car frame, each of said first mount and said second mount including a respective rail system allowing longitudinal movement of a respective said mount.
10. The intermodal rail car of claim 9, wherein each respective said mount includes a platform connected to said rail system, and at least one resilient member connected to both said platform and said rail car frame, said at least one resilient member oriented in a vertical direction.
11. The intermodal rail car of claim 10, wherein said rail car frame includes at least one pin connected to a respective said platform.
12. The intermodal rail car of claim 1, further including an intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to one of said first fifth wheel coupler and said second fifth wheel coupler, said intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to at least one said railroad car coupler, said intermodal rail container/truck trailer including a container platform including a ground side, a sill connected to said container platform on said ground side, said sill including a first end and a second end, and at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one of said first end and said second end, said at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one said railroad car coupler.
13. A dolly for use with an intermodal rail container/truck trailer, comprising:
a frame;
a set of road wheels rotatably connected to said frame;
a fifth wheel coupler connected to said frame; and
and a tow bar connected to said frame.
14. A method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer from rail to road se, comprising the steps of:
providing an intermodal rail car including a rail car frame having a first end and a second end, a first fifth wheel coupler connected to said rail car frame, a second fifth wheel coupler connected to said rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with said first fifth wheel coupler, and at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of said first end and said second end;
providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to one of said first fifth wheel coupler and said second fifth wheel coupler, said intermodal rail container/truck trailer connected to at least one said railroad car coupler, said intermodal rail container/truck trailer including a container platform including a ground side, a sill connected to said container platform on said ground side, said sill including a first end and a second end, at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one of said first end and said second end, at least one fifth wheel pin connected to said ground side of said container, and at least one set of landing gear connected to said ground side of said container, said at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one said railroad car coupler;
lowering said at least one set of landing gear;
connecting a dolly to said intermodal rail container/truck trailer, said dolly including a frame, a set of road wheels rotatably connected to said frame, a dolly fifth wheel coupler connected to said frame; and a tow bar connected to said frame, said dolly fifth wheel coupler connected to one said fifth wheel pin, said tow bar connected to said ground side of said container platform;
connecting a truck tractor to said intermodal rail container/truck trailer, said truck tractor including a truck fifth wheel coupler, said truck fifth wheel coupler connected to another said fifth wheel pin; and
raising said at least one set of landing gear.
15. A method of converting an intermodal rail container/truck trailer from road to rail use, comprising the steps of:
providing an intermodal rail car including a rail car frame having a first end and a second end, a first fifth wheel coupler connected to said rail car frame, a second fifth wheel coupler connected to said rail car frame in a longitudinally opposed relation with said first fifth wheel coupler, and at least one railroad car coupler connected to at least one of said first end and said second end;
providing an intermodal rail container/truck trailer, said intermodal rail container/truck trailer including a container platform including a ground side, a sill connected to said container platform on said ground side, said sill including a first end and a second end, at least one sill railroad car coupler connected to at least one of said first end and said second end, at least one fifth wheel pin connected to said ground side of said container, at least one set of landing gear connected to said ground side of said container;
providing a dolly connected to said container platform, said dolly having a frame, a set of road wheels rotatably connected to said frame, a dolly fifth wheel coupler connected to said frame, and a tow bar connected to said frame, said dolly fifth wheel coupler and said tow bar connected to said container platform;
lowering said at least one set of landing gear;
disconnecting said dolly from said container platform;
connecting one said fifth wheel pin to one of said first fifth wheel coupler and said second fifth wheel coupler;
connecting one said sill railroad car coupler to one said railroad car coupler; and
raising said at least one set of landing gear.
US11/167,692 2005-06-27 2005-06-27 Intermodal rail car/truck trailer Abandoned US20060288902A1 (en)

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