It is fascinating all the different ways that have evolved to move or unload freight cars without locomotives, many of which weigh well over 100 tons.
The need arises in industries that need to shuttle cars for various purposes but the volume is low enough that the industry cannot justify having a locomotive on hand. An example is an industry that unloads covered hoppers over one or a few unloading features such as a grate.
Sometimes the unloading device can move so the cars don’t have to move.
Lastly, one of my favorites…
This devise is good for moving one car short distances at about five feet a minute.
This is the first installment of a three part series on this topic. This post was a quick overview. The second will focus on a couple of industries in greater detail. The last will show how this aspect of railroading has been modelled on B. Smith’s LCN Railroad layout.
Note: The image of a tractor pulling a covered hopper is courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, Photo © –E. Clark