Title:
Railway system and method to enhance loading and unloading of a railway car
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A railway system to enhance loading and unloading of at least one railway car. The system comprises at least one sliding surface engageable with a moveable portion of a railway track for moving a first predetermined end of a first railway car to a predetermined position. At least one platform of a predetermined size, height, and grade is disposed adjacent a railway track. The platform has a first end and a second end. The first end is aligned with the first predetermined end of the first railway car when the first railway car is moved to a predetermined position. The first railway car can be loaded and unloaded without removing the first railway car from the railway track.



Inventors:
Hathaway, Richard C. (Greenville, OH, US)
Bridges, Mearl K. (New Madison, OH, US)
Barr, John M. (Castine, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/109183
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
03/28/2002
Assignee:
HATHAWAY RICHARD C.
BRIDGES MEARL K.
BARR JOHN M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61D47/00; (IPC1-7): B61D3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCCARRY JR, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JAMES RAY & ASSOCIATES (2640 PITCAIRN ROAD, MONROEVILLE, PA, 15146, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A railway system to enhance loading and unloading of at least one railway car, said railway system comprising: (a) at least one sliding surface engageable with a moveable portion of a railway track for moving a first predetermined end of a first railway car to a predetermined position; and (b) at least one platform of a predetermined size, height, and grade disposed adjacent such railway track, said platform having a first end and a second end, said first end being aligned with such first predetermined end of such first railway car when such first railway car is moved to such predetermined position, whereby such first railway car can be loaded and unloaded without removing such first railway car from such railway track.

3. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein said moveable portion of such railway track is substantially straight.

4. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein a truck of such first railway car is positioned on said moveable portion of such railway track.

5. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein said moveable portion is moved at least one of electronically and hydraulically.

6. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein said platform is at least one of a ramp and dock.

7. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein said height of at least one end of said platform is substantially equal in height to a floor of such first railway car.

8. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein such first railway car is a freight car.

9. The railway system according to claim 8 wherein such freight car is at least one of a box, automotive, and flat car.

10. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein said system further includes at least one said platform engageable with said sliding surface.

11. The railway system according to claim 10 wherein said platform engageable with said sliding surface simultaneously moves into a predetermined position when such first railway car is moved to such predetermined position.

12. The railway system according to claim 11 wherein said first end of said platform engageable with said sliding surface is aligned with a second predetermined end of a second railway car.

13. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein said system includes a plurality of sliding surfaces engageable with moveable portions of such railway track.

14. The railway system according to claim 1 wherein said system includes a plurality of stationary platforms and a plurality of platforms engageable with sliding surfaces.

15. A railway system to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars, said railway system comprising: (a) a plurality of sliding surfaces engageable with moveable portions of a railway track for moving a first predetermined end of such railway cars to a predetermined position; and b) a plurality of platforms of a predetermined size, height, and grade disposed adjacent such railway track, said platforms having a first end and a second end, said first end being aligned with such first predetermined end of such railway cars when such railway cars are moved to such predetermined position, whereby such railway cars can be loaded and unloaded without removing such railway cars from such railway track.

16. The railway system according to claim 15 wherein said height of at least one end of said platforms is substantially equal in height to the floors of such railway cars.

17. The railway system according to claim 15 wherein such railway cars are freight cars.

18. The railway system according to claim 15 wherein said system further includes a plurality of platforms engageable with said sliding surfaces.

19. The railway system according to claim 18 wherein said platforms engageable with said sliding surfaces simultaneously move into a predetermined position when such railway cars are moved to such predetermined position.

20. The railway system according to claim 19 wherein said first end of said platforms engageable with said sliding surfaces are aligned with a second predetermined end of such railway cars.

21. A method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars, said method comprising the steps of: (a) providing at least one sliding surface engageable with a moveable portion of a railway track for moving a predetermined end of a first railway car to a predetermined position; (b) providing at least one platform of a predetermined size, height, and grade disposed adjacent such railway track, said platform having a first end and a second end; (c) positioning a truck of said predetermined end of such first railway car on said moveable portion of such railway track; (d) moving said moveable portion of such railway track to a predetermined position, wherein such truck and such predetermined end of such first railway car move respectively; and (e) substantially aligning said predetermined end of such first railway car with said first end of said platform; whereby such first railway car can be loaded and unloaded without removing such first railway car from such track.

22. The method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars according to claim 21 wherein step (d) includes moving said moveable portion at least one of electronically and hydraulically.

23. The method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars according to claim 21 wherein said method further includes engaging at least one platform with said sliding surface.

24. The method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars according to claim 23 wherein said method includes simultaneously moving said platform engageable with said sliding surface into a predetermined position when such first railway car is moved to such predetermined position.

25. The method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars according to claim 24 wherein said method includes aligning said first end of said platform engageable with said sliding surface with a second predetermined end of a second railway car.

26. The method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars according to claim 21 wherein said method includes providing a plurality of sliding surfaces engageable with moveable portions of such railway track.

27. The method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars according to claim 21 wherein said method includes providing a plurality of stationary platforms and a plurality of said platforms engageable with sliding surfaces.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates, in general, to the loading and unloading of a railway car, and more particularly, to a railway system and method to enhance the loading and unloading of a railway car.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Prior to the present invention, railway freight cars are loaded and unloaded by various methods. Drive-through loading and unloading of automobiles is accomplished in auto carrier car applications by utilizing bi-fold doors on both ends. The automobiles are loaded directly up a ramp through one end, and then unloaded down a ramp at the opposite end. Boxcars are designed with single or double plug doors on the sides of the car. The product is loaded and unloaded with a forklift, or similar vehicle that is driven directly into the car through the door.

[0003] Auto carrier cars with bi-fold doors on both ends provide a greater level of efficiency than would otherwise be achieved by other methods. However, each automobile must be individually driven into, and out of the car. Boxcars, likewise, require a forklift to maneuver a load of material thorough the door, and into or out from the farthest ends of the car, which are the least accessible areas of the boxcar.

[0004] The auto carrier car and boxcar must also be separated from the train, and pulled from the track to an unloading dock, consuming additional valuable time for the shipper and the customer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In a first aspect, the present invention provides a railway system to enhance loading and unloading of at least one railway car. The railway system comprises at least one sliding surface engageable with a moveable portion of a railway track for moving a first predetermined end of a first railway car to a predetermined position. At least one platform of a predetermined size, height, and grade is disposed adjacent a railway track. The platform has a first end and a second end, with the first end being aligned with the first predetermined end of the first railway car when the railway car is moved to a predetermined position. The first railway car can be loaded and unloaded without removing the first railway car from the railway track.

[0006] In a further aspect, the present invention provides a railway system to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars. The railway system comprises a plurality of sliding surfaces engageable with moveable portions of a railway track for moving a first predetermined end of railway cars to a predetermined position. A plurality of platforms of a predetermined size, height, and grade are disposed adjacent the railway track. The platforms have a first end and a second end, with the first end being aligned with the predetermined end of the railway cars when the railway cars are moved to a predetermined position. The railway cars can then be loaded and unloaded without removing the railway cars from the railway track.

[0007] In still a further aspect, the present invention provides a method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars. The method comprises the steps of: providing at least one sliding surface engageable with a moveable portion of a railway track for moving a predetermined end of a first railway car to a predetermined position, providing at least one platform, having a first end and a second end, and of a predetermined size, height, and grade disposed adjacent the railway track, positioning a truck of the predetermined end of the first railway car on the moveable portion of the railway track, moving the moveable portion of the railway track to a predetermined position, wherein the truck and the predetermined end of the first railway car move respectively, and substantially aligning the predetermined end of the first railway car with the first end of the platform.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is therefore the primary object of the present invention to provide a railway system to enhance loading and unloading of at least one railway car.

[0009] Another object of the present invention is to provide a railway system that allows a railway car to be loaded and unloaded without removing the railway car from the track.

[0010] Another object of the present invention is to provide a railway system where automobile carrier cars can quickly and efficiently be loaded and unloaded by directly driving a trailer into one end of the car, and out the other end.

[0011] Another object of the present invention provide a railway system where a redesigned boxcar with doors on the ends can be loaded and unloaded in a similar manner.

[0012] Another object of the present invention is to provide a railway system to enhance loading and unloading of a plurality of railway cars.

[0013] Another object of the present invention is to provide a method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars without removing the cars from the track.

[0014] In addition to the various objects of the invention that have been described above, various other objects and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent to those persons skilled in the relevant art from the following more detailed description of the invention, particularly, when such description is taken in conjunction with the attached drawing figures and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a plan view of the railway system of the present invention;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a plan view of the railway system of the present invention with railcars in position;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a plan view of the railway system of the present invention with railcars in the loading and unloading position; and

[0018] FIG. 4 is a plan view of the railway system of the present invention with a plurality of railcars in the loading and unloading position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF A PRESENTLY PREFERRED AND VARIOUS ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

[0019] Prior to proceeding to a more detailed description of the invention, it should be noted that identical components having identical functions have been designated with identical reference numerals for the sake of clarity.

[0020] Now refer more particularly to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 of the drawings. Illustrated therein is a railway system, generally designated 10, to enhance loading and unloading of at least one railway car. The railway system 10 comprises at least one sliding surface 14 engageable with a moveable portion 16 of a railway track 18 for moving a first predetermined end 20 of a first railway car 12 to a predetermined position. Preferably, the moveable portion 16 of the railway track 18 is substantially straight, and is moved at least one of electronically and hydraulically. Preferably, the truck 28 of the first railway car 12 is positioned on the moveable portion 16 of the railway track 18. At least one platform 22 of a predetermined size, height, and grade is disposed adjacent the railway track 18. The platform 22 has a first end 24 and a second end 26. Preferably, the platform 22 is at least one of a ramp and a dock, and the height of one end 24 of the platform 22 is substantially equal in height to a floor of the first railway car 12. The first end 24 is aligned with the first predetermined end 20 of the first railway car 12 when the first railway car 12 is moved to a predetermined position. The first railway car 12 can be loaded and unloaded without removing the first railway car 12 from the railway track 18. Preferably, the first railway car 12 is a freight car, and is at least one of a box, automotive, and flat car.

[0021] The railway system 10 also preferably further includes at least one platform 30 engageable with the sliding surface 14, wherein the platform 30 moves simultaneously with the sliding surface 14 into a predetermined position when the first railway car 12 is moved to a predetermined position. When the first railway car 12 is moved to a predetermined position, the first end 32 of the platform 30 engageable with the sliding surface 14 is aligned with a second predetermined end 34 of a second railway car 36.

[0022] Preferably, the railway system 10 includes a plurality of sliding surfaces 14 engageable with moveable portions of the railway track 18, and a plurality of stationary platforms 22 and platforms 30 engageable with sliding surfaces.

[0023] Now refer more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 4 of the drawings. Illustrated therein is a railway system to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars. The railway system, generally designated 10, comprises a plurality of sliding surfaces 14 engageable with moveable portions 16 of a railway track 18 for moving a first predetermined end 20 of railway cars 38 to a predetermined position. Preferably, the moveable portions 16 of the railway track 18 are substantially straight, and are moved at least one of electronically and hydraulically. Preferably, the trucks 28 of the railway cars 38 are positioned on the moveable portions 16 of the railway track 18. A plurality of platforms 22 of a predetermined size, height, and grade are disposed adjacent the railway track 18. The platforms 18 have a first end 24 and a second end 26. Preferably, the platforms 22 are at least one of a ramp and dock, and the height of at least one end of the platforms 22 is substantially equal in height to the floors of the railway cars 38. The first end 24 is aligned with the first predetermined end 20 of the railway cars 38 when the railway cars 38 are moved to a predetermined position. Preferably, the railway cars 38 are freight cars, and are at least one of a box, automotive, and flat car.

[0024] Preferably, the railway system 10 further includes a plurality of platforms 30 engageable with the sliding surfaces 14. The platforms 30 engageable with the sliding surfaces 14 simultaneously move into a predetermined position when the railway cars 38 are moved to a predetermined position. The first end 32 of the platforms 30 engageable with the sliding surfaces 14 are aligned with a second predetermined end 34 of the railway cars 38. The railway cars 38 can then be loaded and unloaded without removing the railway cars 38 from the railway track 18.

[0025] Now refer more particularly to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 of the drawings. Illustrated therein is a method to enhance loading and unloading of railway cars. The method provides at least one sliding surface 14 engageable with a moveable portion 16 of a railway track 18 for moving a predetermined end of a first railway car 12 to a predetermined position. Preferably, the method includes moving the moveable portion 16 at least one of electronically and hydraulically. The method also provides at least one platform 22 having a first end 24 and a second end 26, and being of a predetermined size, height, and grade disposed adjacent a railway track 18, positioning a truck 28 of the predetermined end of the first railway car 12 on the moveable portion 16 of the railway track 18, moving the moveable portion 16 of the railway track 18 to a predetermined position, wherein the truck 28 and the predetermined end of the first railway car 12 move respectively, and substantially aligning the predetermined end of the first railway car 12 with the first end 24 of the platform 22. Preferably, the method further includes at least one platform 30 engageable with the sliding surface 14. When the first railway car 12 is moved into a predetermined position, the platform 30 engageable with the sliding surface 14 simultaneously moves into a predetermined position. The first end 32 of the platform 30 engageable with the sliding surface 14 is aligned with a second predetermined end 34 of a second railway car 36.

[0026] Preferably, the method provides a plurality of sliding surfaces 14 engageable with moveable portions 16 of a railway track 18, and a plurality of stationary platforms 22 and platforms 30 engageable with sliding surfaces 14. In this arrangement, the railway cars 12 and 36 can be loaded and unloaded without removing the railway cars 12 and 36 from the track 18.

[0027] Although the invention has been shown in connection with a certain specific embodiment, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes in form and arrangement of parts and method may be made to suit requirements without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.