A railroad car, railcar (American
and Canadian English
), railway wagon, railway carriage, railway truck, railwagon, railcarriage or railtruck (British English
), also called a train car, train wagon, train carriage or train truck, is a vehicle
used for the carrying of cargo
s on a rail transport system
(a railroad/railway). Such cars, when coupled together and hauled by one or more locomotive
s, form a train
. Alternatively, some passenger cars
are self-propelled in which case they may be either single railcar
s or make up multiple unit
The term "car" is commonly used by itself in American English when a rail context is implicit. Indian English
sometimes uses "bogie" in the same manner, though the term has other meanings
in other variants of English. In American English, "railcar" is a generic term for a railway vehicle; in other countries "railcar
" refers specifically to a self-propelled, powered, railway vehicle.
Although some cars exist for the railroad's own use – for track maintenance
purposes, for example – most carry a revenue-earning load of passengers or freight, and may be classified accordingly as passenger car
s or coaches
on the one hand or freight car
s (or ''wagons'') on the other.
s, or coaches
, vary in their internal fittings:
cars, seating is usually configured into ranges of between three and five seats across the width of the car, with an aisle in between (resulting in arrangements of 2+1, 2+2 or 3+2 seats) or at the side. Tables may be provided between seats facing one another. Alternatively, seats facing in the same direction may have access to a fold-down ledge on the back of the seat in front.
* If the aisle is located between seats, seat rows may face the same direction, or be grouped, with twin rows facing each other.
* In some vehicles intended for commuter services, seats are positioned with their backs to the side walls, either on one side or more commonly on both, facing each other across the aisle. This gives a wide accessway and allows room for standing passenger
s at peak times, as well as improving loading and unloading speeds.
* If the aisle is at the side, the car is usually divided into small compartments. These usually contain six seats, although sometimes in second class they contain eight, and sometimes in first class they contain four.
Passenger cars can take the electricity supply for heating and lighting equipment from either of two main sources: directly from a head end power
generator on the locomotive
via bus cables, or by an axle-powered generator which continuously charges batteries whenever the train is in motion.
Modern cars usually have either air-conditioning
or windows that can be opened (sometimes, for safety, not so far that one can hang out), or sometimes both. Various types of onboard train toilet
facilities may also be provided.
Other types of passenger car exist, especially for long journeys, such as the dining car
, parlor car
car, and in rare cases theater
and movie theater
car. In some cases another type of car is temporarily converted to one of these for an event.
s were built for the rear of many famous trains to allow the passengers to view the scenery. These proved popular, leading to the development of dome car
s multiple units of which could be placed mid-train, and featured a glass-enclosed upper level extending above the normal roof to provide passengers with a better view.
s outfitted with (generally) small bedrooms allow passengers to sleep through their night-time trips, while couchette car
s provide more basic sleeping accommodation. Long-distance trains often require baggage car
s for the passengers' luggage. In European practice it used to be common for day coaches to be formed of compartments seating 6 or 8 passengers, with access from a side corridor. In the UK, Corridor coaches fell into disfavor in the 1960s and 1970s partially because open coaches are considered more secure by women traveling alone.
Another distinction is between single- and double deck train
cars. An example of a double decker
is the Amtrak superliner
A "trainset" (or "set") is a semi-permanently arranged formation of cars, rather than one created "ad hoc" out of whatever cars are available. These are only broken up and reshuffled 'on shed' (in the maintenance depot). Trains are then built of one or more of these 'sets' coupled together as needed for the capacity of that train.
Often, but not always, passenger cars in a train are linked together with enclosed, flexible gangway connection
s through which passengers and crewmen can walk. Some designs incorporate semi-permanent connections between cars and may have a full-width connection, effectively making them one long, articulated 'car'. In North America, passenger cars also employ tightlock coupling
s to keep a train together in the event of a derailment or other accident.
Many multiple unit
trains consist of cars which are semi-permanently coupled into sets: these sets may be joined together to form larger trains, but generally passengers can only move around between cars within a set. This "closed" arrangement keeps parties of travellers and their luggage together, and hence allows the separate sets to be easily split to go separate ways. Some multiple-unit trainsets are designed so that corridor connections can be easily opened between coupled sets; this generally requires driving cabs either set to the side or (as in the Dutch ''Koploper
'' or the Japanese 285 series
) above the passenger compartment. These cabs or driving trailers
are also useful for quickly reversing the train.
File:Amersham station MMB 18 S Stock.jpg|A Metropolitan line S8 Stock at Amersham in London.
File:Bombardier S Stock Circle line Interior 1.jpg|A interior of a S7 Stock in London.
File:Mark3gner.jpg|British Rail Mark 3 coach, an all-steel car from the 1970s
File:InterCity2 - passenger car interior.jpg|Inside a modern-day car from Finland
File:150243 C Bristol Temple Meads.JPG|A British Rail Class 150 in the United Kingdom.
File:YW25T 677028 20111004.jpg|A China Railway model 25T hard sleeper car in Beijing West railway station in China.
File:201702 Interior of RZ25T-111134.jpg|The interior of a China Railway model 25T soft seat car.
File:HK MTR East Rail SP1900.jpg|A SP1950 EMU train in Sha Tin station in Hong Kong.
File:MTR ERL SP1900 (8).JPG|The interior of a SP1950 EMU train.
File:TRA EMU100 55EM101.jpg|A Taiwan Railway EMU100 series train in Shulin railway station in Taiwan.
File:TRA EMU100 ET102 inside.jpg|The interior of a Taiwan Railway EMU100 series train.
File:JRW T683-4801.jpg|A 683 series train in Japan.
File:JRW series683-2000 ordinarycar-inside-2.JPG|The interior of a 683 series train.
File:JRK-800 U006 826-106.jpg|An 800 Series Shinkansen train in Japan.
File:Kyushu Railway - Series 800-0 - Cabin - 02.JPG|The interior of an 800 Series Shinkansen train.
Freight cars (US/Canada), goods wagon
s (UIC), or trucks (UK) exist in a wide variety of types, adapted to carry a host of goods. Originally there were very few types of cars; the flat car or wagon, and the boxcar
(US/Canada), covered wagon
(UIC) or van
(UK), were among the first.
Types of freight cars
Freight cars or goods wagons are generally categorized as follows:
(US and Canada), covered wagon
) or van
(UK): fully enclosed car with side or end doors. Standard boxcars have about 3.5 times the capacity of a standard Semi-trailer
** Covered wagon
(UK) or boxcar (US/Canada): fully enclosed wagon for moisture-susceptible goods.
** Hicube boxcars
: high-capacity high-clearance boxcar
** Refrigerator car
or reefer (US/Canada): refrigerated boxcar for fruits and vegetables.
* Coil car
: specialized flat or gondola for heavy sheet metal rolls
* Combine car
: combined passenger car
in one wagon
(or ''flat''): for larger bulky loads. Specialized flat cars include:
** Aircraft Parts Car
: with fixtures for large aircraft parts.
(also called ''auto carriers''): multi-level flat for automobiles.
** Centerbeam cars
(US): specialized flat for building materials.
(UK): specialized flat for containers
: self-propelled container flat.
** Container flatcar
** Depressed-center flatcar
or Wellcar or Lowmac
(UK): for high-clearance loads (e.g. transformers and boilers)
** Semi-trailer flatcar
** Rolling highway
: a train designed to carry truck
s and/or semi-trailer
** Single container car; Spine car
, a center sill and side sill only car with lateral arms to support intermodal container
s. See also Well car.
** Double container car; Well car
or double-stack car. Cars for transporting Intermodal container
s with a low deck to allow double stacking, commonly used in articulated
form. See also Spine car
* Schnabel car
: for unusually large and heavy industrial equipment (transformers, boilers, reactors, distillation columns,...)
(US): car with open top, enclosed sides and ends for bulk goods.
** Covered hopper
: specialized hopper car with a cover for weather sensitive loads (grain, pellets,...)
** Open wagon
): railway wagon with an open top but enclosed sides and ends, for bulk commodities and other goods that might slide off.
: similar to gondolas
but with bottom dump doors for easy unloading of things like coal, ore, grain, cement, ballast
and the like. Short hoppers for carrying iron ore
are called ore jennys in the US.
(US/Canada): An open wagon (UIC
) or gondola (US/Canada) with a tipping trough, often found in mines
. See also Tippler.
** Mine car
** Mine cart
(e.g., V skip wagon
** Side dump car
s: used to transport roadbed materials such as, ballast
, and large stone
, and are able to unload anywhere along the track.
** Tippler (UK): An open wagon
with no doors or roof which are unloaded by being inverted on a Wagon Tippler (UK) or Rotary car dumper
(US/Canada). They are, used for mineral
s, such as coal
and iron ore
as well as other bulk cargo
. See also Lorry.
** Quarry tub
: a type of small railway or tramway wagon
used in quarries for the transport mineral
s, such as coal
and iron ore
* Modalohr Road Trailer Carriers
(UK), bulk cement wagons
: a train designed to carry another railway train
* Slate wagon
: specialized freight cars used to transport slate
* Stock car
: ventilated box car for livestock
* Tank car
(US/Canada), tank wagon (UIC) or tanker: for liquid or gas.
** British Milk Tank
** Milk car
: specialized tank car for milk
** Tank cars for bulk loading
** "Whale Belly" car
: high capacity tank car with a "belly".
* Transporter wagon
: a wagon designed to carry other railway equipment.
* Well car
File:Hopper cars.jpg|American style Hopper Car
File:Tank car IMG 9579 1725.jpg|Tank Car
File:Boxcar railbox.jpg|U.S. type RailboxBoxcar
File:DTTX 724681 20050529 IL Rochelle.jpg|Articulated Well Cars with containers
File:Railroad car with container loads.jpg|A Spine car with a 20 ft tanktainer and an open-top 20 ft container with canvas cover
File:DR-Bahndienstwagen-aus-Dok-Nr-655-1.jpg|A DR rail maintenance vehicle converted from a former freight van
File:Tunnel Cement No 6.jpg|Presflo bulk cement wagon (UK)
The first two main-line all aluminum passenger cars were exhibited at the 1933-35 Chicago World's Fair
by Pullman Company
. Aluminum freightcars have a higher net-to-tare ratio of 4.9 than traditional steel based wagons, which have 3.65.
* Ballast regulator
* Ballast tamper
* Barrier vehicle
or match wagon, with a different coupler at each end.
(US) or Brake van
(UIC) attach to rear to watch freight trains, assist in reverse moves, and provide rear braking. Replaced by End-Of-Train devices
* Clearance car
, special car to check for obstructions.
* Crew car
aka Outfit Car or a Camp Car, a bunk, kitchen, or tool car for railroad employees.
s, early MOW car powered by passengers with a handcrank.
* Maintenance of way
(MOW) cars for maintaining track and equipment.
* Office car
which contains a mobile office for a train company.
* Rail ambulance
* Rail car mover
similar to HiRail
* Railroad cranes
* Railway post office
* Road-rail vehicle
* Scale test car
* Line car
or tower car, to maintain overhead lines
* Track tester
Military armoured train
s use several types of specialized cars:
* Anti-air: equipped with anti-air
* Anti-tank: equipped with anti-tank gun
s, usually in a tank gun turret
* Artillery: fielding mixture of gun
s and machine guns
* Command: similar to infantry wagons, but designed to be a train command center
is the reporting mark for the United States Department of Defense Military Traffic Management Command
* Infantry: fielding machine guns, designed to carry infantry
* Machine gun: dedicated to machine gun
* Platform: unarmoured, with purposes ranging from transport of ammunition
or vehicles, through track repair
or derailing protection of ''railroad plough
s'' for railroad destruction.
* Troop sleeper
Mobile missile systems
During the Cold War
, the Soviet Union
fielded a number of trains that served as mobile missile silo
s. These trains carried the missile and everything necessary to launch, and were kept moving around the railway network to make them difficult to find and destroy in a first-strike attack
. A similar rail-borne system was proposed in the United States of America
for the LGM-30 Minuteman
in the 1960s, and the Peacekeeper Rail Garrison
in the 1980s, but neither were deployed. The Strategic Air Command
's 1st Combat Evaluation RBS "Express"
did deploy from Barksdale Air Force Base
with radar bomb scoring units mounted on military railroad cars with supporting equipment, to score simulated thermonuclear bomb
ing of cities
in the continental United States
* Air brake
* Great Western Railway wagons
* List of railway vehicles
* List of rolling stock manufacturers
* Rail car tracking device
* Railway brake
* Rolling stock
* Skytop Lounge
* Tamping machine
* Types of goods wagon
* UIC classification of goods wagons
* Vacuum brake
List of railroad car manufacturers by country
Paquette Railway Solutions, dealing with rolling stock and powerUS Air Force Guard Car G-50
Strategic Air Command guard car, rebuilt from Army 1943 troop kitchen car #8750. Photographed in Portola, California at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum
Peacekeeper Rail Garrison Car.Rail car manufacturingGuide to railroad cars