Monday, November 9, 2015

Unit Trains of Combines and Tractors

(Update: long strings of tractors have been added also. See Interesting Unit Trains for non-ag products.)

David Steckler -> BNSF Historical and Modeling Society
David Steckler -> BNSF Historical and Modeling Society
David Steckler -> BNSF Historical and Modeling Society
David's comment:
This would be a great train to model. C44-9W no. 4460 and sister pulling a unit train of brand new John Deere combines. Put three of four Wiking combines on some flat cars and you have a prototypical train!
I live in a western suburb of Chicago. Since Racine, WI, and Moline, IL, is not that far from here, it struck me as strange that I have not seem much farm equipment on either the railroads or the Interstate highways. I guess it is because they were all on this train :-)

A video of a cut of combines passing through Cresson PA. I don't know the brand of the yellow combines.

A video of a bunch of John Deeres. All of them had tiers and they were removed. I wonder how they ship tracked combines. I think JD is now copying that from CaseIH.

Roger Durfee posted
John Deere combines on NS at Brady Lake, Ohio. Just beyond the highway bridge leading to old Brady tower is the plate girder bridge that takes the former EL main over our Cleveland Line.
I had some trouble finding the girder bridge because the SPV Map shows it was abandoned by ConRail, but the Google road map shows the route still existing. Using the satellite image, the tracks do indeed still exist. They must be "rail banked." But note that a trail goes to the west sharing the right-of-way with the track. I've read about hikers and bikers wanting to tear up track so that they can have a trail. So it is nice to see that some realize they can share the RoW.

Some videos of combine unit trains. "The Billion Dollar Train" (Combines) video. Another video; according to comments it has 59 John Deer (green), 72 CaseIH (red), and 6 New Holland (yellow) worth about $96 million. The red combines where going to the port of Baltimore. A video of some John Deeres.

A video of 39 CaseIH and 3 New Holland. I assume the tank cars at the beginning and end are buffer cars. I wonder why they used tank cars instead of covered hopper cars like those used in oil/ethanol trains. Maybe the train is lighter and tank cars will scrunch easier in a wreck. I counted 21 flat cars, each with two combines. A short train would explain why there was only one engine. The value of the cargo is probably more than enough to pay for the crew.

David Steckler posted a couple of photos. Unfortunately, the only thing he remembers is that it was heading south.


Mark Llanuza posted
I'm the company photographer for U.P the operation life saver train stopping at Elburn .I had a chance to capture this CNW train the year 2007.
That C&NW engine would be 12 years after UP bought them. UP normally paints faster than that.]
Screenshot from video
[It is interesting that there is a buffer car before the first valuable load in case there is a crash. Arong -1.20 it changes from John Deere (green) to CAseIH (red) and New Holland (yellow). I did not notice any tires being shipped for the John Deeres. Are they in the wood boxes? There doesn't seem to be enough boxes since none of the ocmbines have tires mounted on them. The are a couple of DPUs at the end so it is a long train. ]
Screenshot from video
[The CaseIH units must be smaller because not only are they being shipped with their tires on, there are two on each flat car. Even though they have their tires, there are wood boxes in the middle of each flat car. Given all of these combines I have now seen being shipped, why haven't I seen any headers (wheat and corn) being shipped? A combine is worthless without some sort of header to gather the crop and feed it into the guts.]

Note how all of the CaseIH combines could be shipped with their tires on, but some of the JD's needed their main tires removed so that only one combine could be put on a flatcar because room was needed by the tires. And some, such as what I captured in this screenshot, needed all of the tires removed.
Screenshot from video
Screenshot from Combines Harvesters Threshers posting at -1:33
John Deere train Eric Holtz New assembly line in Tianjin, thanks for moving from Niagara falls.Paul Wood Lots of field fires on that there train!Brandon Payne 83 Combines on that train! Roughly about $24,900,000 sitting on those rail cars
Combines Harvesters Threshers posted
The Green Mile.
Mark Beutel How can they possibly sell that many new units all the time ? Theres only room for so many. Where do all last years units go ?Rollie Lux These are probably export units since they are going on rail cars...Dylan Sydora Many new seeders ready for action lol 😂
Christian Jordan commented on the above posting

Almost a unit train of "red" (CaseIH) combines.. (I've noticed that railfans think they need to get the long-long-short-long blowing of a horn for a crossing before you see the train. But I am not a fan of train horns, so I cut to the chase with this link.) Another almost a unit train of red. I assume the flatcars with wood boxes are spare parts. I counted four flatcars of either replacement and/or dual tires. I don't know if I have ever seen a combine with duals.
CaseIH now offers their 30" or 36" "trac" design for the front "wheels."

A "green" train. All of them have just the main tires removed.

Not a unit train, but lots of JD, barge transport of John Deere in Europe. JD 6R/6000 tractors are made in Antwerp and 7R and 8R tractors and S series combines are made in America.

NS 62A High and Wide green combines over the Rockville bridge. (Chicago - Blue Island, Baltimore, MD) Given the Blue Island information, IAIS probably hauled the combines from the Quad Cities to Blue Island. They will probably be put on a ship in Baltimore. The bridge is in the Guinness book for the longest stone arch bridge in the world. As we have seen before, some have all of their tires removed, some have just the big front tires removed, and some don't have any removed. Even if no tires are removed, no flatcar is carrying more than one combine.

Video of UP train that includes a cut of 34 (according to a comment) CaseIH combines. They all had their wheels on, and none of them had tracks. They loaded two combines on each flat car. There was a flatcar with just 8 tires. I spotted a single autorack car. I wonder what city this train was in. I'm used to seeing autorack cars in unit trains. Chad Patterson I've seen this in grand island Nebraska where they are made. Got a 5088 in 2010 from there.

Jerry Jackson posted two photos with the comment: "West Chicago, 1993 IIRC. After over 25 years shooting in the Chicagoland area and having 3000+ photos scanned + 99,99% of them posted in almost 3 years of Chicagoland Railfan, I got's to repost." Actually, I think these are side dump trailers and cotton pickers.
Jerry again posted with the additional information that this was an eastbound train.
John Markl Between NI and Sunset :) A favorite train watching spot of mine as a kid...



Allan Jones posted
[Not a unit train, but it is still John Deere tractors for about as far as the eye can see. ]
John Deere posted
Next stop, innovation. Deere sighting by Melissa N.
[I don't know if it is a unit train, but it is certainly a big block of tractors.]
Joe Di Bella posted
Nice load of new John Deere 🚜🚜 tractors thru West Chicago this afternoon on the UP East Bound.John Donat Cool! I tend to see that in the afternoons during the week when I'm heading home on the train.
Jerry Jackson commented on Joe's posting

Jerry Jackson commented on Joe's posting

Combines Harvesters Threshers posted
Bryon Weesner posted
RI train with new Hart-Parr tractors.

Screenshot at -1:00 of video that Tod Riebow shared
Jim Ball That’s a ‘unit combine train'. Just wondering why the Deere's are bare-foot - export maybe?
Dennis DeBruler My first reaction was that the John Deeres were higher. So I studied a screenshot of the transition. Not only are the tops at the same height, the axles seem to be at the same height. So I agree it must be a width issue. Also note they have removed the end of the unloading augur on the JDs. I think the combines reached a height limit a long time ago. I noticed that the JD parked in my second-cousin's tool shed had about 2 inches of clearance under the rafters. Some combines need to go under bridges between the homestead and fields. So they grow in width. Obviously, they gave up fitting in a single lane of a country road a long time ago. I've seen references to state laws that explicitly exclude agriculture equipment from clearance limit 
Dennis DeBruler A new company is going longer rather than trying to go wider:
(new window), skip to 1:21 for the combines

Video of CaseIH and one New Holland.

Video of a BNSF train "skunked" by a cut of John Deere Combines. They put only one combine on each flatcar. I wonder if it is headed east on a route that cannot clear double-height container cars because all of them have their front tires off and most of them have the rear tires off.

Massey-Harris or Massey-Ferguson Combines

I have grouped MH and MF combines together so that I can reference them from the Brantford, ON, notes.

Massey Harris Heritage Page posted
Sent in to us by a fan.
Trish Brookfield My Dad, John Davies, was the Plant Manager of the Combine Plant in Brantford. He worked there from 1963 until it closed!
Gary Rankin Bought a 510 in 73 it came on rail. Got a 750 in 79 it came on truck.
Tommy Sloan I've unloaded many of these off of rail in the late 70's 750's would come rail but 760 had to come truck.
Curtis Seitz How’s olds this pic?? Anyone have a ruff idea?
Massey Harris Heritage Page Curtis Seitz early to mid 80’s

Gary Berry posted
[510's in the 1960s.]
Tommy Wagoner I believe that they might be 410 instead of 510 and they are rice machines.
Dale Benoit Grandfather had super 92 rice special,, butane,, hell of a machine for its time.

David Jackson shared
Kelly Kien Up here 510 all had cabs.

Andy Moss Very early 510's with no quick attach feeder house. Rubber flails in rethresher, and power assist mechanical steering.
Dennis DeBruler I couldn't figure out what was in the middle of the car until I read this. It is the headers attached to its feeder house for two combines.

Aaron Cumming commented on Gary's post
Don Taylor 92's or Super 92's I'm thinking.
Aaron Cumming There's 63? I believe 92's largest shipment of Massey combines west of the Mississippi, this happened in the late 50's. My grandpa Emerson was the Massey dealer, all but 3 of the machines were sold.

Farm Tractors & Related Items posted five photos with the comment:
These Vintage Pics show the Importance of the Railroad to Farming across America , Not Just Transporting Crops But more importantly, Farm Equipment, International Harvester, Minneapolis Moline, IH Farmall, Ford and John Deere Tractors and all others were Transported By Rail to Dealers across the Country. ...Just another Example of how Trains Built America.
Harry Hurd Tractor Trivia. What invention gave IH an edge in the developing tractor business?
Farm Tractors & Related Items I believe they were the First to Introduce the Row Crop Tractor.
Harry Hurd Farm Tractors & Related Items thank you. I was thinking of the power take-off. Learned this at the Ford museum who has lots of early farm equipment.


Jim Norton String of Clinchfield hoppers is noteworthy!



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