S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Schnabel Railroad Continuation Page 5 keywords = schnabel geometry track schnable rail road freight car train car Combustion Engineering Krupp ABB "

Updated:   22 Oct 2019; 18:00  ET
[Page created 06 Feb 2012
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/rrschnb5.html

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Railroad Continuation Page



(also misspelled "Schnable"* -
by me!)




NOTE:  I regret that some of my internal links refuse to work; if they don't, please click "Back" and scroll.


On the main Schnabel page:

    Scroll away, plus these specifics -
    Schnabel Diagram.
    Schnabel Car Loading Technique.
    Model Schnabel and other Giant Cars (moved to this Continuation Page 2 on 04 Dec 1999).
    Schnabel References (moved to Continuation Page 1 on 14 Sep 2002).
    Road/Highway Schnabels - moved to Road Loads page 16 Mar 2000.

On the Schnabel Continuation Page 0:

    72-wheel 880-Ton Schnabel Car.
    More about 72-wheel 880-Ton Schnabel Car.
        (moved from Schnabel Continuation Page 2 on 09 Jan 2002)
    Mammoet/ETARCO Mammoth Rail Loads.

On the Schnabel Continuation Page 1:

    Krupp Schnabel Brochure
    CEBX-800 Drawing (NOT!)
    Schnabel References (moved from main schnabel page 1 on 14 Sep 2002).

On the Schnabel Continuation Page 2:

    Scroll away, plus these specifics -
    More about 72-wheel 880-Ton Schnabel Car(s).
        (moved to Schnabel Continuation Page 0 on 09 Jan 2002)
    Model Schnabel and other Giant Cars (moved from Main Page, 04 Dec 1999).
    Schnabel Miscellany.

On the Schnabel Continuation Page 3:

    More Model Schnabel and other Giant Cars.
    Dave Allen's Concept Models Schnabel Kits. (moved to page 4 on 17 Jan 2005)

On the Schnabel Continuation Page 4:

    Schnabel Models - continued.
    Dave Allen's Concept Models Schnabel Kits. (moved here 17 Jan 2005)
    GEX 80003 - World's Largest Drop-Center Flat Car.
    Bachmann HO Schnabel Models.     Nisco Steel move in China. (moved here from Cont. Page 3 on 08 Dec 05)

On this Schnabel Continuation Page 5:

    Schnabel Car Geometry.
    Schnabel Car Model Geometry (15 Mar 2014).
    Even More Schnabel Car Models.
    Mark Runyan's 800-801 Models (24 Aug 2012).   rev (22 Oct 2019)
    Krupp CEBX 800 Schnabel Car Drawings (20 Sep 2014).

On the Schnabel Continuation Page 6:

    Drop Center Flats Cars in Erie (11 Dec 2014).

On the Schnabel CEBX 800 Page:

    CEBX 800 in Houston - 28 Mar 2005.

On the Road Loads page:

    Road/Highway Schnabels - material moved from main RR Schnabel Car page,
    MOVING LOCO #833

On Road Loads Page 2:

    Mammoet Mammoth Road Loads, plus
    just scroll away.

On the Road Loads Page 3:

    Danly Press
    Miller Transfer
    Road Load Models (moved from page 2 on 01 Mar 05)

Something has to lift these giant loads; see Big Cranes.

Jump to SB,III's RAILROAD Page for a goodly set of RR links

  and to SB,III's MODEL RAILROAD Page for a goodly set of model RR links (yea, verily, forsooth!).

SCHNABEL and other

(and highway variants)


If this subject interests you, you must also see Tom Daspit's site, linked below!

* - Spelling of the Name:  SCHNABEL vs. SCHNABLE - "Schnabel" is the KORREKT spelling!  It is the German word for "beak", which I originally thought referred to the beak-shaped loading arms, but now know was the name of the German inventor of the design ca. 1930 or so.  I don't know where or when I started using "Schnable", but it was wrong and I don't mind admitting my error.

Schnabel Car Geometry   new (06 Feb 2012)

Having created these (very) rough diagrams for a Power Point presentation on Schnabel Cars and other giant cars, I thought I'd throw them in here as well.   new (06 Feb 2012)

Curving is a sort of obvious challenge, little different than on smaller multi-truck cars with span bolsters, just far more complex.  The only major difference is that the load can be shifted sideways both to improve balance and to clear obstacles.  This latter feature is also useful on tangent track to clear obstacles.  It is accomplished hydraulically by pivoting an intermediate span bolster horizontally:

(06 Feb 2012 diagram and © 2012 by S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
Schnabel Car Horizontal Shifting Geometry

Accomodating vertically-curved track (changes in track elevation) is critical in order to keep the load level and to avoid bending the load arms.  As gradual as the changes in elevation are, the extreme length of Schnabel cars makes this problem all the more critical as the car lengths increase.  The verticality is wildly exaggerated in this diagram for effect:

(06 Feb 2012 diagram and © 2012 by S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
Schnabel Car Vertically Curved Track Geometry
(Changes in Elevation)

Lifting the load to clear obstacles is accomplished in the same way as it is leveled for changes in elevation.

The worst problem of all, however, is twisting or wracking of the load.  This occurs, again, because of the extreme length of the whole car, especially when carrying a long load.  When entering a super-elevated section, the front axles are well into the super-elevation while the rearmost axles are still on level track.  Accomodation for twisting/wracking is made by lateral vertical pivoting of the center plates on the bolsters.  On cars with many trucks, the twist is taken out gradually from truck to truck (and bolster to bolster) while the load remains level:

(06 Feb 2012 diagram and © 2012 by S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
Schnabel Car Super-Elevated Track Geometry

Roll is controlled in the same manner as twisting.

All these complex geometries are adjusted constantly and simultaneously by many hydraulic cylinders, all controlled by exceedingly complex computer programs.  Inch-by-inch surveys of the right-of-way are made long before a route can be selected and traversed.  In spite of all this sophistication, the cars are walked through tight spots with several observers alongside, up top, on the ground, and in the cupolas of the dedicated cabooses that accompany the shipments.

Schnabel Car Model Geometry
new(15 Mar 2014)

If you are a wee bit overwhelmed by all the geometry problems of the actual Schnabel cars, as noted above, be of good cheer; it's quite a hit simpler for models.  Articulating model Schnabel cars does not have to account for load shifting, just for example (unless you have those big Márklin/Trix HO cars).  All you really have to concern yourself with is the longitudinal twisting that occurs when you leave level tangent track and enter a grade and the torsional twisting that occurs when you leave level tangent track and enter a super-elevated curve.

Lest you think this an unimportant consideration, let me assure you it is NOT!  My wood mockups shown above exhibited a woeful tendency to not merely derail but to jump off the track until I resolved matters.  If you merely fit bolsters on top of each other, flat surface against flat surface, they are then vertically rigid and can pivot only horizontally.  Any change in grade or supoer-elevation causes them to rise and fall as a unit, lifting adjacent truck wheel flanges clear of the rail head.

On the real thing, Krupp uses hemispherical joints, which they call "Calotte Shells", lined with pads of low-friction material:

(Photograph from Mar 1982 Krupp Brochure in SB,III collection, courtesy of ThyssenKruppAG - all rights reserved)
Krupp Schnabel Car "Calotte Shell" Joint

[Oh, my!  Here's the mating piece, the ball, at #1 end and at #2 end (two shots):

CalotteMatingBall#2EndB CalotteMatingBall#1End9 CalotteMatingBall#2End6
(Cropped screenshots from 22 Jun 2014 Video by FNGFASHA Productions - all rights reserved)
Kasgro/Westinghouse Schnabel Car "Calotte Shell" Joint Mating Balls
#1 End Left || #2 End Center and Right

but at what a cost to get the photos!  WECX 801 flipped!  See 801 FLIP!.]   new (01 Jul 2014)

That's not an easy thing to model in HO (at 1:87.1), let alone in Z (at 1:220).  What I did was far less arduous to achieve.  I simply put vertical pins in each joint with a mating hole in the bolster below that piece that is a fairly snug fit around the pin - BUT - I counter-bored the hole in the lower part (bolster) from below so that the pin, while fairly snugly seated at the joint, has room to swivel under the interface.  In addition, I added a very small, thin washer between the mating faces to enhance rocking.  The snug fit of the pin at the interface carries draft and buff.  Here's a rough sketch (wildly exaggerated), corresponding to the one above, to show the idea:

(15 Mar 2014 diagram and © 2014 by S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
Model Schnabel Car Pivot Geometry
(Changes in Super-Elevation)

Similarly, and perhaps even more roughly, here's a side view (also wildly exaggerated) showing how a change in grade is accomodated:

(15 Mar 2014 diagram and © 2014 by S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
Model Schnabel Car Pivot Geometry
(Changes in Grade)

Even More Schnabel Car Models

Mark Runyan's 800-801 Models

Should you have a hankering for an elegant model of CEBX/WECX 800 or WECX 801, Mark Runyan, Elgin Locomotive Works, is making a simpy-stunning N-scale Schnabel car in resin and etched brass [featured information moved here from Schnabel car models on page 2 on 24 Aug 2012].   rev (24 Aug 2012)

(photo courtesy of M. Runyan - all rights reserved)

If this isn't the highest degree of small-scale modeling (in N at 1:160), I don't know what is!  Z scale (1:220), anyone?

Well, Mark is thinking in terms of O (1:48), HO, N, and Z!  Here's the latest N version (24 Aug 2012):

(photo courtesy of M. Runyan - all rights reserved)
[Click on thumbnailed picture for larger image.]

It still lacks brass details and hand brake details but this is an incredible effort!  Stay tuned here or on Mark's Elgin site (linked above).

Oh, hey; look at that cab and platform and BLACK truck frames and BLUE color - that's WECX 801!   rev (22 Oct 2019)

- - -* - - -

Wow; I'd no sooner posted the above than in came this photo of a very early model of WECX 201, from famed Schnabel photographer Vince Skibo (24 Aug 2012):

(photo courtesy of V. F. Skibo - all rights reserved)

It was made for him by his brother, Andy Bartosh, back when the car was new (ca. 1961?) in O-gauge.  It was built to represent the early configuration of the car from drawings and using B&W photos from the P&LE Book by McLean and photos in old Erie RR employee magazines.  They thought that only 6-wheel passenger trucks were available in O-scale*, so they are incorrect.  Vince didm't come up with a color photo until many years later, so he never (as of yet) had it properly painted and decaled.  The car ends were originally red and the super-structure was yellow.  The load was a dark greyish purple.  The following photo from the May/June 1961 Erie RR employee magazine shows the car after it left the Westinghouse Medium Transformer Division plant at Sharon, PA, at the Erie's Ferrona Yard, also in Sharon:

[* - O-scale 3-axle Buckeye trucks actually were readily available back then; too bad they didn't know - SB,IIIHE WECX]

(photo courtesy of V. F. Skibo - all rights reserved)

The E-L's caption read: "This Westinghouse transformer moved from Ferrona Yard to Lima over the high and wide Erie-Lackawanna early this month, destined for a new Westinghouse plant at Muncie, Ind.  The load was 19 feet high and the bottom of the load was less than seven inches from the rail.  The car, the largest Schnabel car in the United States, is owned by Westinghouse.  With this load it weighed 770,440 pounds; it has a light weight of 299,600 pounds, and a load limit of 750,000 pounds."

(caption courtesy of T. Daspit)

This is a classic Schnabel operation - there are no load beams or pallet; the load is rigidly bolted to the load arms, which bear its full weight, and the load itself bears all draft and buff.

Krupp CEBX 800 Schnabel Car Drawings

Somehow (I'm not quite sure how) I managed NOT to post the original drawings Krupp made for Combustion Engineering and udated for Trans-Alta and Westinghouse!  Either that or they got lost in the shuffle; regardless, my deepest apologies to those modelers who really needed this information.  All I can do now is to post them, from 10 Oct 1980, through the great courtesy of English Westinghouse (20 Sep 2014).

These are huge files; here's the main drawing (Page 8) in one piece:

(1980 image courtesy of WEC - all rights reserved;
click on thumbnail for larger image; click here for huge full scan)

Page 6 is the clearance diagram with the 116' 9"/35.6m long (Co-Op) Husky Bi-Provincial Upgrader; page 7 is the clearance diagram of the Trans(-Alta) empty (light) car:

CEBX800KruppBiPrUpgrClrDwg CEBX800KruppTransLightClrDwg (1980 images courtesy of WEC - all rights reserved;
click on thumbnails for larger images)

As shown elsewhere, here is my enlargement of the towbar area:

(excerpted from 1980 image courtesy of WEC - all rights reserved)

I'm NOT depressed, just feeling flat, sort of like I'm in a well,
as if my center had dropped, through, heavy,
split and loaded down - too much on my plate.
I need to shift my load and inch through, if my plate has clearance.
Only joking!

Look also at the main schnabel page, et seq.

You may wish to visit the Railroad Continuation Page, et seq.

of this series of Railroad pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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