Walthers Rolling Stock Gold Line(TM) Mark IV Flexi-Van Flatcar w/Two Trailers
Pennsylvania/Merchants Despatch #9663
Walthers Part # 932-41060, p. 163 Walthers 2013 HO Scale Reference
HO scale, $59.98, sold out at Walthers
Intermodal Cars for Freight & Passenger Consists
* Mark IV Version * Includes Two Road-Specific Trailers * Use on Freight or
Passenger Trains * Ready to Run * Metal RP-25 Wheels * Proto MAX(TM) Metal
Knuckle Couplers * Razor-Sharp Paint and Lettering * Modeler-Installed Grab
As trailer-on-flat-car (TOFC) service evolved in the late 50s, many roads
began trying to cut costs, opening the door to new ideas. Among these was
the Flexi-Van system, first tested by the New York Central in 1957.
Designed to speed loading and unloading, the design used a special
turntable (mounted on a standard flat car for testing), and a 36' trailer
with a removable wheel assembly (bogie). In operation, the trailer was
first aligned with the turntable and backed into place. The bogie was then
unlocked and the trailer slid aboard. Once in position, a pin locked the
trailer to the turntable, which was turned to the loaded position using the
The successful test car paved the way for the first production models in
1958. These were low profile skeleton cars, designed to meet clearance
restriction on the NYC and carry two trailer units. Simple pivoting
turntables replaced the complex and expensive hydraulic units. Early cars
handled only 36' units, but as 40' was quickly becoming the standard length
for highway trailers, later models carried a 36 and a 40' unit; cars built
from 1961 to 1968 carried two 40' units (Mark IV cars can be easily
identified by their inset trucks). On later cars designed to handle
40' bodies, the turntables were moved to the ends and required the services
of a specialized terminal tractor. These short wheelbase rigs had a
retractable front wheel to simplify lining the truck and trailer with the
turntable, and a large push pole provided the extra reach needed to spin
the trailer into place.
Lighter and lower than standard TOFC cars, the unique design proved well
suited for high-speed operation and many cars were rebuilt so they could be
moved in both freight and passenger service. Other roads showed some
interest in the system, including ATSF, CB&Q, IC, MILW, WP and more.
Although intended for most types of freight, the system eventually proved
quite popular for handling mail. Although successful, the system had its
limits. Snow and ice caused turntable problems during winter months, and
the special bogies had to be available at any point where units were
off-loaded. The rapid rise of containers and the acceptance of
industry-wide methods for moving trailers on flat cars soon pushed
Flexi-Van service into the pages of history.
PLEASE NOTE: As these cars are the correct prototype length, a minimum 24"
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