CEBX 800



"Nuclear generators ride the Schnabel to Cherokee"


The following pictures and text were taken from the July/August 1982 issue of Norfolk Southern World Magazine.



How do you ship steam generators that weigh 790 tons? You use the world's largest rail car, a 370-ton car that's 287-feet, l0-inches long when loaded and 18-feet high unloaded.

Southern Railway did exactly that when two steam generators were moved recently from near Charleston, S.C., to Duke Power Company's Cherokee Nuclear Station near Gafney, S.C. CSX also helped make the delivery.

Together, the car and one of the generators weighed 2,308,086 pounds. This was the largest and heaviest shipment ever to move by rail.

The generators rode atop a 36 axle Schnabel rail car owned by Combustion Engineering of Windsor, Conn. Making three trips--each ranging from three to six days and covering over 300 miles one way--the car transported a total shipment of more than 2,000 tons of nuclear generator components.

Manufactured at Combustion Engineering's Chattanooga facility, the components--two 790-ton steam generators and a 490-ton reactor vessel-were shipped by barge to the Bushy Park industrial area in Goose Creek about 15 miles north of Charleston.

The barge arrived in Charleston after a 12 day, 2,600-mile trip on the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers, around the tip of Florida and up the Atlantic coast. Direct shipment by rail from Tennessee was impossible because of tunnels and the terrain.

The Schnabel car's self-contained power system was used in place of a crane to unload the barge at a slip on the Cooper River. The car carried the components one at a time to their destination. Additional equipment weighing 170 tons was carried on flat cars in the Schnabel train.

The Schnabel car supports its load between two individual car halves. The load is suspended between the car halves on arms with self-contained power systems for lifting, lowering and maneuvering the. The lifting arms can rotate laterally 45 degrees to either side of the car's center-line and together will support 880 tons.

With the car halves on converging tracks on each side of a barge slip, the car itself can lift and move its cargo. Once the load is properly suspended, it proceeds with a locomotive and auxiliary cars as an independent train traveling at a maximum speed of 15 mph.

The power systems on the car permit changing the position of the load by as much as 44 inches vertically and 40 inches horizontally. This feature proves very handy when there's a large tree near the track or when the car passes under a low bridge.

Multiple axles on the undercarriage allow a shipment to navigate horizontal curves having a 191-foot radius and vertical curves having a 2,000-foot radius.

Krupp Industrie und Stahlbau of West Germany built the car to Combustion Engineering's specifications.

Railroad personnel accompanying the Schnabel train to the Duke power plant removed and replaced more than 350 small obstructions, such as signs, switch stand targets, poles and wires, during each of the three trips. In addition, the car had to be shifted, raised or lowered more than 200 times to get around or under permanent obstructions and to provide stability on curved superelevated track along the route.

The power components are now being assembled at Duke's Cherokee Nuclear Station near the Broad River, seven miles southeast of Gaffney. The components are at Cherokee, but getting there on the Schnabel car was half the fun.


The generator went off the track--that's right. Look Closely. When the train maneuvered this curve, the Schnabel car actually shifted the generator away from the track.

The rust-colored steam generator nestles between the halves of the giant rail car as it rolls along at a top speed of 15 miles an hour.

A tree growing close to the tracks posed no problem for the Sehnabel car. It just went around the tree, so to speak, by shifting the generator to the left. The car can shift its load up to 40 inches to the right or left.

Schnabel train crossing the Congaree River in Columbia, S. C.


Sorry for the above poor scan across the middle of the page, This photo was scanned from the center spread of a magazine.



There is no commercial model of the car available. But I am beginning to work on a set of drawings to recreate the above car and load in HO scale. Watch for more updated here.