Open freight car

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Type El gondola similar to UIC type 1 as a slag wagon on a trolley .
Empty ore wagons at the Brockman 4 mine

An open freight car is a fully enclosed rail freight car without a roof, but which, depending on the design, has side doors. The open freight wagons form a large group of freight wagons for the transport of weather-resistant goods, mostly as general cargo or bulk cargo .

Classification in Germany

At DB , open freight wagons made up almost 40% of the total number of freight wagons in 1998.

Gondolas are also called Hochbordwagen referred, in contrast to low side car with low, partly foldable side shelves that the flat cars are attributed.

All freight wagons in international freight transport are used must, according to the guidelines of the International Union of Railways , among others, with a uniform since 1968 (UIC) generic characters and a car number be marked. This applies to all freight wagons of the members of the UIC and the OSJD .

Open goods wagons have been divided into:

  • Open freight wagons of the standard design, marked with the class letter "E"
  • Open freight cars of the special design, marked with the generic letter "F"
Historic open freight car of the Saxon narrow-gauge railways with a lever brake

The open freight wagons with walls made of wood or metal and side doors have been continuously developed for over 150 years. Information on the development history of open freight cars in Germany can be found in the following articles:

Gondola ТСВ6А for peat , 750 mm

Standard freight wagons of the International Union of Railways (UIC)

Standardized open freight cars were developed by the International Union of Railways in the 1950s. The drafts drawn up were discussed in regular meetings until they were approved. This development led to the unification of the main dimensions of the future open standard wagons . The results were recorded in the following UIC leaflets, which the members of the UIC could use either on a binding or voluntary basis.

The construction guidelines for open freight wagons can be found in the following leaflets:

  • UIC 571-1 - Standard freight wagons - freight wagons of the standard design with two wheelsets
  • UIC 571-2 - Standard goods wagons - Standard design bogie freight wagons
  • UIC 571-3 - Standard freight wagons - freight wagons of the special design

Since the end of 1977, flat wagons that partially comply with these guidelines have been marked with the address "UIC". Those who fully comply with the leaflets, hence UIC standard wagons, are given the address "UIS St"

Open freight cars of the standard type E

Type Es gondola similar to UIC type 2 of the ČD in Raspenava
UIC standard car type Eaos of the PKP in Lubań

These cars have a flat floor and solid side walls (shelves) with at least one side door. They are particularly suitable for loading bulk goods , scrap , steel , wood and paper . Most of the trolleys can be front and side tipping, otherwise they are identified by the code letters l (not side tipping) or o (not front tipping). Front-tilting trolleys are equipped with head flaps on one or both ends. Ropes, nets or tarpaulins for securing loads can be attached to the eyelets .

Some wagons are also capable of gyratory tipping , which means that they can be lifted in appropriate systems and tipped out by turning in the longitudinal axis. This primarily requires a very stable base. This type of unloading is particularly widespread in the USA when transporting bulk goods , where the wagons do not have to be individually decoupled thanks to rotatable couplings .

Most of the open freight wagons of the standard design built since the 1960s fully or partially meet the requirements of the UIC leaflets. It is noteworthy that the UIC developed two types during the standardization of the type Es gondola. Type 1 was developed in Paris and, like most other standard freight cars, goes back to French types. Type 2, which comes from the Federal Railroad Central Office in Minden , corresponds almost exactly to the German Omm car .

UIC 571-1:
Freight wagon with two wheelsets
UIC 571-2: four-axle
bogie freight wagons
Type Type 1 ("French") Type 2 ("German")
genus It Ea (o) s
Wheelbase 4.85 m 5.40 m -
Pivot spacing - - 9.00 m
Length over buffers 9.04 m 10.00 m 14.04 m
Loading length, min. 7.79 m 8.76 m 12.71 m
Loading area, for example 22 m² 24 m² 35 m²
Hold, for example 36 m³ 36 m³ 71 m³
Net weight, max. ... 12.5 t 22.0 t
Doors per side 2 1 2
Door width ... 1.80 m 1.80 m

In 1998, Deutsche Bahn had around 16,000 four-axle type E goods wagons . The two-axle types have been increasingly phased out since the 1990s and are rarely found.

Open freight cars of the special type F

Hopper car Fcs 092 of the DB
Funnel-shaped car floor
Dosable unloading device

Typical transport goods are all types of bulk goods, such as coal, ore, sand or gravel. Since bulk goods are often transported in large quantities, these wagons are often used in block trains that only consist of one type of wagon and transport only one type of load from a sender directly to a recipient.

Open freight cars with gravity unloading

Self- unloading wagons can be unloaded into deep bunkers by gravity without external energy . They make up the vast majority of gondolas of the special design. The properties of your unloading device are coded by code letters following the generic letter F.

These code letters which designate the type are:

  • c ... metered gravity discharge, optionally two sides, lying high (≥70 cm unloading edge on SO )
  • cc ... adjustable gravity discharge, optionally two-sided, deep down (therefore no discharge on conveyor systems possible)
  • l ... sudden gravity discharge, simultaneously two-sided, high (discharge edge ≥70 cm above sea level)
  • ll ... sudden gravity discharge, at the same time two-sided, deep down (therefore no discharge on conveyor systems possible)

The shape of the car floor is also significant. As a rule, the wagons with adjustable unloading are funnel wagons , those with sudden unloading are saddle wagons . In 1998 the DB had around 12,000 hopper wagons and 10,000 saddle wagons.

Both types are also available as trolleys with an opening roof . While the two-axle wagons have mostly complied with the UIC specifications since the 1960s (even older ones are about 1/2 m shorter), the standard shape of the four-axle wagons is only a snapshot of the 1980s in a constant process of ever greater lengths.

UIC 571-3: Special design freight wagons
design type Two-axle open hopper wagon Four-axle open saddle wagon
genus Fcs Fals
Wheelbase 6.00 m -
Pivot spacing - 7.50 m
Length over buffers 9.64 m 12.54 m
Hold, for example 40 m³ 75 m³
Net weight, max. 13.0 t 15.0 t

Hopper car

The railway initially only used wagons with a funnel-shaped floor as service wagons for ballasting the tracks . The Talbot wagon factory was significantly involved in their development , which is why these older designs are often referred to as Talbot ballast wagons.

Hopper wagons have been used freely for all kinds of pourable goods since the second half of the 20th century. Due to the possibility of metered unloading at any location, the wagons can be used freely and are also used in single wagon traffic. In the majority of cases, high discharge chutes ( ending more than 70 cm above the upper edge of the rails ) can be used to fill assembly lines or conveyor belts at rail or street level.

The DB Fcs 090, built between 1962 and 1972 in 16,260 units, is outstanding due to its frequency . Since the 1990s the trend for this type of wagon has been from two-axle wagons to bogie wagons .

Falns : PKP four-axle saddle wagon with 82 m³ of cargo space in Horka

Saddle wagon

In the case of saddle wagons, also known as large-capacity self-unloading wagons, unlike the hopper wagons, there is no metered, but only sudden unloading possible. The floor slopes down on both sides like a gable roof , the discharge opening is usually high on both sides. The wagons are mainly used in block trains for the mass transport of coal or ore from mines or ports to smelters or power plants . The bunker into which the train is gradually emptied must be accordingly capable of receiving.

The most modern type of four-axle saddle wagon of the DB is the four-axle Falns 121 with 90 m³ of cargo space. It was built in several series from 1992. A further 100 of these vehicles are to be delivered to DB by February 2008, and another 300 by 2010. These latest wagons should have an axle load of 23.5 t and a dead weight of no more than 24.5 t, resulting in a load limit of 69.5 t.

Side-tilting trolleys

Lifting tipping wagon Eo-u 071
Fans 128

Side- tipping cars have a hydraulic , pneumatic or electrical tilting device that allows the car body to be lifted on one side. The first hydraulic lift and tipper trucks were delivered in 1955. A total of 70 copies were built. They were listed as Ommu 56 until 1963 and as Eo-u 071 from January 1, 1964 and as Emo-u 071 from January 1, 1980 . The dimensions were based on the standardized open UIC type 2. Another hydraulic lift and tipper truck was delivered in 1960. It was listed as Ommu 01 until 1963 and as Eo-u 072 from January 1, 1964 . It was retired in 1970. Its dimensions corresponded to those of the open standardized UIC wagon. These wagons had three flaps and a double-leaf door on each long side. Today four-axle wagons (Fas 126 , Fakks 127 and Fans 128 ) are used. Depending on the design, tilting on both sides or just on one side is possible. To prevent the wagon from tipping over during the tipping process, some are equipped with rail clamps with which the chassis can be secured to the track structure. The wagons are used, among other things, in block trains in excavation traffic from large construction sites. In 1998 there were around 1,000 side-tipping wagons at DB .

Other gondolas of the special design

  • Kübelwagen
  • Fb (s), open car with high side walls
  • F (a) (s), open wagons with a level wagon floor without side doors (or only with service door)

While the importance of the Kübelwagen and the Fb has decreased almost to zero, the Fas have proven their worth especially for transporting steel scrap.

Bibliography and sources

Web links

Commons : Gondolas  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Bulk Carriage  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Stefan Carstens: The freight cars of the DB AG: Numbers, facts, developments, photos . MIBA-Verlag, Nuremberg 1998, ISBN 3-86046-030-7 .