Title:
Reinforced Bi-Modal Open Top Trash/Refuse Trailer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An open top trash refuse hauling trailer as used in highway transportation, is modified for bi modal application in railway hauling in a train of other bi modal trailers or conventional railway cars. The open top trailer is structurally reinforces to compensate for the forces of torsion, bending, tension, and compression, from railway usage, with the same efficiencies as when used on the highway, in single or tandem hauling.



Inventors:
Lombardo, Joseph (Wood Dale, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/556223
Publication Date:
05/08/2008
Filing Date:
11/03/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SMITH, JASON C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOEL I. ROSENBLATT (Marietta, GA, US)
Claims:
1. An open top trash refuse bi-modal vehicle convertible from highway travel to railway travel and conversely, by an interchangeable highway wheel assembly, displace able from a highway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted for railway use, and by an interchangeable railway bogie wheel assemble, displace able from a railway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted to highway use, with the improvement comprising, a open top trash refuse hauling vehicle with a bottom, top, front, back and sides and partially enclosing an interior space, by connecting side panels, front panel, back panel and bottom panel; an opening into said interior space, located at said top of said trash refuse hauling vehicle and defined substantially by said side panels and said front panel and said back panel; a plurality of reinforcing members attached to said side panels and extending respectively from said bottom panel to said top, of said trash refuse hauling vehicle.

2. The open top trash refuse vehicle of claim 1, comprising, a plurality of reinforcing members attached to said front panel or said back panel and extending respectively from said bottom panel to said top, of said trash refuse hauling vehicle.

3. The open top trash refuse vehicle of claim 2, wherein said trash refuse vehicle enclosed a longitudinal axis parallel to said side panels and passing through said front panel and said back panel and through said interior space; and a plurality of said reinforcing members are orthogonal to said longitudinal axis.

4. The open top trash hauling vehicle of claim 3, wherein a plurality of said reinforcing members are in a cross pattern, parallel to said longitudinal axis.

5. The open top trash hauling vehicle of claim 3, wherein a plurality of said reinforcing members are in a cross pattern, orthogonal to said longitudinal axis.

6. The open top trash hauling vehicle of claim 4, wherein said reinforcing members are attached to said side panels.

7. The open top trash hauling vehicle of claim 6, wherein said reinforcing members are attached to said front panel or said back panel or said bottom panel.

8. The open top trash hauling vehicle of claim 1 wherein said reinforcing member is an open channel reinforcing member, or a closed channel reinforcing member or an I beam reinforcing member.

9. The open top trash hauling vehicle of claim 8, wherein said reinforcing members are attached to said side panels or to said front panel or to said back panel or to said bottom panel, by tabs, partly coextensive with a surface of said reinforcing members and partly coextensive with said side panels or said front or back panel, or said bottom panel.

10. An open top trash hauling vehicle of claim 8, wherein said reinforcing members are attached to said side panels or to said front panel or to said back panel or to said bottom panel, by a welded connection, partly coextensive with a surface of said reinforcing members and partly coextensive with said side panels or said front or back panel, or said bottom panel.

11. An open top trash refuse vehicle convertible from highway travel to railway travel and conversely, by an interchangeable highway wheel assembly, displace able from a highway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted for railway use, and by an interchangeable railway bogie wheel assemble, displace able from a railway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted to highway use, with the improvement comprising, container means for trash refuse; said container means including side panel means, front panel means, back panel means and bottom panel means, enclosing an interior space extending from said bottom panel means and said side panel means and said front panel means and said back panel means, to the top of said container means; said container means including a longitudinal axis means parallel to said side panel means and orthogonal to said front panel means and said back panel means; said container means including a port means at said top of said container means, opposed to said bottom panel means, parallel to said longitudinal axis, and bounded by said side panel means, said front panel means, and said back panel means; said container means including reinforcing means and means for attaching said reinforcing means to said side panel means, said front panel, or said back panel, substantially from said bottom panel means to said port means.

12. The open top trash refuse vehicle of claim 11, wherein, said reinforcing members are parallel to said longitudinal axis.

13. The open top trash refuse An open top trash refuse vehicle of claim 12, wherein, said reinforcing means are orthogonal to said longitudinal axis.

14. The open top trash refuse vehicle of claim 11, wherein, said reinforcing means are in a cross pattern orthogonal to said longitudinal axis or parallel to said longitudinal axis.

15. A method of transporting trash refuse in a bi modal convertible highway and railway use vehicle, comprising the steps of, loading a bi-modal open top trash refuse highway trailer; converting said trash refuse loaded bi modal open top trailer from highway use to railway use; coupling said bi modal open top loaded trailer to a train of railway vehicles; transporting said bi modal open top loaded trailer over a railway; converting said bi modal open top trailer from railway use to highway use.

16. The method of claim 15, including the step of transporting said bi-modal trailer over a highway to a dump site.

17. The method of claim 16, including the step of transporting said loaded bi-modal trailer over a highway to a railway.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to vehicles, and more particularly to bi-modal trash hauling vehicles convertible from railway to highway/roadway use and conversely.

2. Description of the Prior Art

U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,169, issued to Viens, discloses a rail bogie including a truck having a platform with railway wheels underneath, a fifth wheel and a hooking lock. A self-actuating lift assembly on the bogie is used to raise and hold a tractor or the back of a semi-trailer. Two different bogie designs are used to support and carry a semi-trailer on the railroad track.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,917,020, issued to Wicks, et al., discloses a transition vehicle with roadway wheels and railway wheels. The transition vehicle contains a clamping mechanism to grasp the sidewalls of a trailer being carried. The roadway wheels are raised during rail use by an air spring suspension system. The transition vehicle can be attached to a road vehicle, another rail car or a train engine.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,448,132, issued to Beatty, discloses a convertible railway highway vehicle containing railway wheels and highway wheels. The vehicle uses a number of axles for highway wheels to maximize the load it can carry. The highway wheels are on a liftable axle assembly with a locking mechanism. An airbag spring assembly is used to lift the axle assembly.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870, issued to Larson, discloses a convertible highway-railway hauling vehicle for both highway and railway use. A highway wheel assembly is permanently and slidably mounted to the underside of the vehicle. The highway wheel assembly includes a set of leaf springs and air bags which are used to raise and lower the vehicle to permit coupling of a railway wheel bogie for railway use and uncoupling of the railway wheel bogie for highway use. The air bags and leaf springs also permit the highway wheel assembly to be raised off the ground when the railway wheel bogie is coupled to the hauling vehicle.

While the vehicles described in the prior art patents describe various intermodal or bi-modal trailers, the feature of interest is the apparatus or devices for conversion of the trailer from highway use to railway use and from railway use to highway use. However, the problem of applying a bi-modal or inter-modal, trailer to a specific use, for example, use in the bi-modal hauling of trash over a railway, using an open top trailer without structural support for any one of its fours sides or bottom, is not addressed, recognized or considered.

Additionally not considered or addressed are the specific needs or requirements of a trash/refuse bi-modal trailer in use on the highway, pulled over a prepared roadway by a single tractor and in railway use, coupled into a train of other trailers or railroad cars and pulled by one or more locomotives, over a curved or uneven railway road bed and subjected to the forces of torsion, tension, and compression.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a bi modal hauling vehicle specifically designed for over the road use on a conventional highway or roadway, adapted for pneumatic tires as used by trucks or automobiles, or in a bi-modal capacity, over a conventional railway, adapted for use with standard railroad bogies, as would be know to those skilled in the art. An example of a bi-modal trailer, as would be known to those skilled in the art, is shown and disclosed in Larson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870.

As disclosed in the Larson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870, one example of the convertible bi-modal highway wheel assembly and railway wheel bogie assembly, which may be used with a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention of an open top bi-modal trash/refuse, trailer, is convertible from highway travel to railway travel and conversely.

Particularly disclosed in the Larson Patent, is a trailer or hauling vehicle, with a slidably connected highway wheel assembly attached to the posterior trailer end, a socket means at said posterior end for connecting a railway wheel bogie assembly. The slidably attached highway wheel assembly has at least one axle and contains a lifting means for raising the posterior end of the hauling vehicle. The anterior end of the hauling vehicle has a first connector capable of releasably connecting the hauling vehicle to a highway tractor. The anterior trailer end has a second connector capable of releasably connecting the hauling vehicle to a railway locomotive. The railway locomotive can either be a powered vehicle, another hauling vehicle or a train car. The posterior end of the hauling vehicle has a connecting means for releasably connecting said hauling vehicle to another hauling vehicle.

As disclosed in the Larson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870, included as an example of a bi-modal trash/refuse trailer, which may be used in a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention, the slidably attached highway wheel assembly is unlocked and the brakes on the highway wheels are applied. The main body of the hauling vehicle is slid over the highway wheel assembly, moving the highway wheel assembly to the middle of the hauling vehicle. The lifting means of the highway wheel assembly is activated and the posterior end of the hauling vehicle is raised high enough to be positioned over the main shaft of a waiting railway wheel bogie assembly. The socket at the posterior end of the hauling vehicle is positioned over the main shaft of the railway wheel bogie assembly and the lifting means is deactivated, lowering the posterior end of the hauling vehicle onto the railway wheel bogie assembly main shaft. The railway wheel bogie assembly is then attached, preferably with chains, to the posterior end of the hauling vehicle. An electromechanical breaking system that is part of the railway wheel bogie assembly is connected with a wiring harness permanently attached to the hauling vehicle. The lifting means of the highway wheel assembly is reactivated and the hauling vehicle with railway wheel bogies attached can be relocated to any desired track.

As would be understood by those skilled in the art, the device disclosed in the Larson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870 is shown as an example of one of many types of bi-modal trailer conversion equipment and methods that may be used in a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention. As would be understood by those skilled in the art, the invention principles are not limited to the bi-modal conversion device disclosed in the Larson Patent and may be use with any other existing or future, bi-modal trailer conversion apparatus.

This invention recognizes the problems in transporting trash/refuse over a railway when a conventional open top trash/refuse highway trailer is adapted to a bi-modal highway railway use and placed in a railway train made up of a plurality of other bi-modal trailers or conventional railcars. A train comprising a plurality of cars hauled over a curved and uneven or twisting road bed, would produce the torsional, bending, tension, and compressive forces, which are likely to exceed those same forces which may be present on an open top trash/refuse trailer when used on a highway made for use by a single tractor trailer combination or in a tandem combination.

As would be known to those skilled in the art, highway or roadway trailers used for hauling refuse or garbage, are made with an open top for efficiency in loading and off loading. In loading a trash hauling trailer, the trailer may be placed in a pit or trench, below grade for the efficient loading of trash into the open trailer top. In unloading, the open top trailer may be placed in an apparatus which up ends or tips the trailer allowing gravity to pull the trash through its open top.

However, the structural integrity of the highway trailer, and its resistance to the forces of torsion, bending, compression, and tension, is diminished by the open top, used for trash and refuse loading and dumping. The open top, lacking the structural support provided by a closed top, requires reinforcing when the open top trash refuse trailer is used off the highway and in a railway train over a railway roadbed.

When landfills were located close to urban or even suburban areas, the hauling distance to the landfill would be through established road ways where the over the road tractor trailer combination, operating on conventional pneumatic rubber tires, and pulled by conventional highway tractors, would be the most efficient way of trash transportation.

However, where open space becomes developed space, landfills are not welcome and must be relocated to remote locations and then may be forced to move again as suburban and urban development continues to encroach on the existing landfills. As the landfill location is moved or relocated farther away from the area of trash or refuse origination, the cost of over the road hauling tractor trailers over existing roadways, increases relative to the cost of moving the trash or refuse by railway.

In adapting trash and refuse hauling from highway to railway, a highway trash refuse trailer may be hauled over a railway by deploying railroad bogies under the highway trailer and lifting the pneumatic roadway tires, so the trailer can ride on its railroad bogies, and can be connected to other trailers, to be pulled by a locomotive, in a train of plurality trailers, the same as a train of railroad cars may be pulled.

While the efficiencies of trash hauling can be improved by railway, relative to the distance traveled, once at a landfill railhead, it becomes necessary to tip or upend the trailer, allowing the use of gravity to empty the trash trailer in the most efficient way. Lifting or other wise changing the trailer position to empty the trash by gravity, is well known by those skilled in the art, for example, as shown in Pat. No. 6,402,451, issued to Brown.

Moving the trailer to a device for emptying the trailer then may require the trailer to be refitted for use with its pneumatic tires for conventional over the highway road use, for hauling the trailer the final distance, referred to as the “last mile,” to an emptying device or apparatus, to allow gravity to empty the trailer.

Accordingly, this invention, taking into account, existing and known systems for bi-modal trailer transportation, recognizes and solves the problem posed by the hauling of a less structurally force resistant open top trash trailer, and of efficient transportation over the increasing distances between trash or refuse areas of origination and the remote trash or refuse landfill. This invention solves this problem of efficient long distance hauling of trash or refuse, by the use of a highway open top trash trailer, as would be known to those skilled in the art, arranged or adapted for use as a bi-modal trailer, with improved structural support to resist the forces from torque, bending, torsion, tension, and compression, as would occur in railway use.

An open top trash trailer with body structure and its interior space limited to two sides, a front and back and the bottom, relative to a longitudinal axis through the front and back and parallel to the sides and the sides, used for long distance trash hauling in a connected train of trailers, over a railway, and pulled by one or more locomotives, would be subject to torsional, tension, or compressive, forces that would caused structural damage and limit the bi-modal trailer useful life or possibly cause catastrophic destruction of the trailer, and unintended dispersal of the trash, with its costs of clean up, adding to the cost of transporting the trash.

This invention recognizes the problem of adapting an open top highway trash refuse trailer and the need to strengthen it for use as a bi-modal open top trash trailer.

In accordance with the inventive principles, and as shown in a preferred embodiment, the open top trailer, as shown and disclosed, may employ strengthening members on its side panels or bottom panel. The strengthening members as shown and disclosed, may be “I” beam members or closed or open channel box beam members, mounted on the bi-modal trailer front, back and side panels. The strengthening members may be mounted cross ways on the side and front and back panels and on the bottom of the bi-modal trailer, leaving space for mounting of the highway wheel assembly and the railway wheel bogie as know to those skilled in the art.

The strengthening members may be orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the trailer or arranged in a cross pattern, may be evenly or unevenly spaced along the length of the trash/refuse trailer or the types of strengthening members may be varied or mixed, along the length of the trash/refuse trailer.

Strengthening members, as disclosed are significant to the inventive use of the bi-modal open top trash trailer, to maintain its structural integrity, preventing deformation by the forces of torque tending to twist or bend the trailer about its longitudinal axis, or torsion, tension, or compression forces, on the trailer bottom and the sides.

Accordingly, what is shown and described is an open top trash refuse bi-modal vehicle convertible from highway travel to railway travel and conversely, by an interchangeable highway wheel assembly, displace able from a highway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted for railway use, and by an interchangeable railway bogie wheel assemble, displace able from a railway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted to highway use, with the improvement comprising,

a open top trash refuse hauling vehicle with a bottom, top, front, back and sides and partially enclosed by connecting side panels, a front panel, a back panel and a bottom panel;
an interior space within said trash refuse hauling vehicle;
an opening into said interior space, located at said top to said trash refuse hauling vehicle and defined substantially by the side panels and by said front panel and said back panel;
a plurality of reinforcing members attached to said side panels and extending respectively from said bottom panel to said top, of said trash refuse hauling vehicle.

Features of the open top trash refuse vehicle of claim 1, include,

a plurality of reinforcing members attached to said front panel or said back panel and extending respectively from said bottom panel to said top, of said trash refuse hauling vehicle;
a longitudinal axis parallel to said side panels and passing through said front panel and said back panel and through said interior space;
a plurality of said reinforcing members are orthogonal to said longitudinal axis;
a plurality of said reinforcing members are in a cross pattern, parallel to said longitudinal axis;
a plurality of said reinforcing members are in a cross pattern, orthogonal to said longitudinal axis;
said reinforcing members are attached to said side panels;
said reinforcing members are attached to said front panel or said back panel or said bottom panel;
said reinforcing member is an open channel reinforcing member, or a closed channel reinforcing member or an I beam reinforcing member;
said reinforcing members are attached to said side panels or to said front panel or to said back panel or to said bottom panel, by tabs, partly coextensive with a surface of said reinforcing members and partly coextensive with said side panels or said front or back panel, or said bottom panel;
said reinforcing members are attached to said side panels or to said front panel or to said back panel or to said bottom panel, by a welded connection, partly coextensive with a surface of said reinforcing members and partly coextensive with said side panels or said front or back panel, or said bottom panel.

The invention is shown and described functionally, as an open top trash refuse vehicle convertible from highway travel to railway travel and conversely, by an interchangeable highway wheel assembly, displace able from a highway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted for railway use, and by an interchangeable railway bogie wheel assemble, displace able from a railway use position when the open top trash refuse vehicle is adapted to highway use, with the improvement comprising,

container means for trash refuse;
said container means including side panel means, front panel means, back panel means and bottom panel means, enclosing an interior space extending from said bottom panel means and said side panel means and said front panel means and said back panel means;
said container means including a longitudinal axis means parallel to said side panel means and orthogonal to said front panel means and said back panel means;
said container means including a port means opposed to said bottom panel means, parallel to said longitudinal axis, and bounded by said side panel means, said front panel means, and said back panel means;
said container means including reinforcing means and means for attaching said reinforcing means to said side panel means, said front panel, and said back panel, substantially from said bottom panel means to said port means opposed to said bottom panel means.

The invention includes reinforcing members are parallel to said longitudinal axis; or the reinforcing means are orthogonal to said longitudinal axis; or the reinforcing means are in a cross pattern orthogonal to said longitudinal axis or parallel to said longitudinal axis.

Shown and disclosed is a method of transporting trash refuse in a bi modal convertible highway and railway use vehicle, comprising the steps of,

converting said bi modal open top trailer from highway use to railway use;
coupling said bi modal open top trailer to a train of railway vehicles;
transporting said bi modal open top trailer over a railway;
converting said bi modal open top trailer from railway use to highway use.

In the disclosed method are the steps of transporting a bi-modal trailer over a highway to a dump site and transporting a loaded bi-modal trailer over a highway to a railway

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a prior art diagrammatic side elevational view showing as an example for a preferred embodiment of a convertible hauling vehicle configured in the roadway mode of operation with the highway wheel assembly located at the posterior end.

FIG. 2 is a prior art diagrammatic side elevational view showing as an example for a preferred embodiment the convertible hauling vehicle when the roadway wheel assembly has been slid to the middle of the hauling vehicle main body.

FIG. 3 is a prior art diagrammatic side elevational view showing as an example for a preferred embodiment the convertible hauling vehicle of the present invention when the lifting means in the highway wheel assembly is inflated and the railway wheel bogie is being slid underneath the posterior end of the hauling vehicle.

FIG. 4 is a prior art diagrammatic side elevational view showing as an example for a preferred embodiment the convertible hauling vehicle configured in the railway mode of operation with the highway wheel assembly retracted and the railway wheel bogie securely attached to the hauling vehicle.

FIG. 5 is a prior art bottom view of the convertible hauling vehicle as an example for a preferred embodiment configured in the railway mode of operation with the highway wheel assembly positioned in the middle of the hauling vehicle and the railway wheel bogie securely attached to the posterior end of the hauling vehicle.

FIG. 6 is a prior art side elevational view as an example for a preferred embodiment of the railway wheel bogie used in the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a prior art exploded side elevational view as an example for a preferred embodiment of the convertible hauling vehicle showing the slidable highway wheel assembly, the lifting means, the retracting means, and the undercarriage rail that the highway wheel assembly slides on underneath the hauling vehicle.

FIG. 8 is a side elevational schematic view of the invention as disclosed in a preferred embodiment showing in a side panel of a trash/refuse bi-modal trailer, different examples of strengthening members that may be used in a preferred embodiment to structurally enhance the open top bi-modal trailer, and with the prior art example of conversion apparatus as shown in FIGS. 1-7, shown schematically in a phantom view block form.

FIG. 9a is a schematic view of a detail of one example of reinforcing strengthening members, as used in a preferred embodiment, shown in a top view as an open channel reinforcing member attached to the partially shown side panel of the trash/refuse trailer of FIG. 8, by welding or by connecting tabs and screws or rivets.

FIG. 9b is schematic view of a perspective of a partial view of the side panel of FIG. 9a, showing the position of the reinforcing member and its attachment to the partially shown side panel of FIG. 8.

FIG. 9c is schematic view a detail of another example of reinforcing strengthening member, as used in a preferred embodiment, shown in a top view of the partially shown side panel, of FIG. 8, as a closed channel reinforcing member and attached by welding or by connecting tabs and screws or rivets.

FIG. 9d is a schematic perspective view of a partially shown side panel of FIG. 8, showing a I beam reinforcing member, attached to the side panel by connecting tabs and screws or rivets or by welding.

FIG. 10 is a schematic perspective partial view of the open top bi-modal trailer showing examples of how each of the reinforcing members, disclosed in FIGS. 9a, 9b, 9c, and 9d, may be used in a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention.

FIG. 11 is a schematic top partial view of the bi-modal trailer of FIG. 10, looking through the open top to the trailer bottom, showing the arrangement of the disclosed reinforcing members of FIGS. 9a, 9b, 9c, and 9d, on a side and rear panel of the open top trailer and on the bottom panel of the open top trailer.

FIG. 12 is a schematic partial elevation view of the open top trash refuse bi modal trailer, connected in a train made of a plurality of railway cars.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIGS. 1 to 7, shows by way of an example, the method and system disclosed in the Larson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870, for converting a bi-modal hauling vehicle 2 convertible from highway to railway use and conversely, and as an example of one may be used in combination in the disclosed preferred embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGS. 8 to 12, comprising a main body 4, an anterior end 6, a posterior end 8, a bottom 7 and a highway wheel assembly 10 slidably attached to the bottom 7 at the posterior end 8.

As would be understood by one skilled in the art, from the example given in the Larson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870, the conversion from highway to railway, use may be by inflating the air bag assembly 18 to lift posterior end 8 of main body 4, and by sliding the highway wheel assembly 10 toward the center of the trailer 4, lifting an end 8 of the trailer 4, and sliding the railway bogie wheel assembly 24 under the end 8, of the trailer 4, and locking it in place.

As disclosed and as described in the example of a bi-modal conversion system shown in the Larson U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870, during highway use the highway wheel assembly 10 is locked in position at end 8 with To convert the hauling vehicle 2 into a railway vehicle, the highway wheel assembly is unlocked, and the highway wheel assembly 10 is slid forward underneath, and relative to the main trailer body 4.

As shown in the Larson Patent in FIG. 4, when the railway wheel bogie 24 has been positioned on the desired track, the air bag assembly 18, in the highway wheel assembly 10, is deflated and the highway wheel assembly 10 retracts to a position above the bottom of the railway wheels by the action of a spring assemble 20 which pulls the highway wheel assembly 10 up to the main body 4 and out of the way for railway travel.

As disclosed in the example shown by the Larson patent, the air bag 18 is inflated, raising end 8 of the hauling vehicle 2 above the bogie 24, the hauling vehicle 4 is moved away from the bogie 24 and the air bag 18 is deflated to a level used for highway use.

Connecting means may be first connecting means 12 is preferably a fifth wheel 13 used for connecting to a highway moving means such as a semi-truck (not shown). A second connecting means 14 is preferably a vertical steel pin 15 on a steel hitch 11. The hitch 16 is slid underneath the main body 4 during highway use. During railway use, the hole 17 in the steel hitch 16 is extended past the posterior end 8 for connecting to the pin 15 of a second hauling vehicle 2. This allows a train of hauling vehicles to be connected together, one after the other.

The explanation of the features shown in the Larson Patent FIGS. 1 to 7, and which are not part of the claimed invention, as disclosed in a preferred embodiment, are disclosed in the Larson Patent and would be known and understood by one skilled in the art.

The inventive principles are disclosed for a preferred embodiment of the present invention, in FIGS. 8 to 12, in connection with an example of a bi-modal conversion method and system as shown in the Larson Patent in FIGS. 1 to 7, and described above would be understood by one skilled in the art.

The inventive principles are shown in a preferred embodiment and described with reference to FIGS. 8 to 12, in combination a prior art system shown in the example given in FIGS. 1-7, for the Larson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870, and wherein the elements of the Larson patented system are displayed in a schematic form by blocks shown in phantom, representing the highway wheel assembly 10 and railway bogie wheel assembly 24, and as would be understood by those skilled in the art.

A preferred embodiment of the trash/refuse trailer, according to the principles of the invention, is shown with reference to FIGS. 8 to 12. In describing the inventive trailer, as shown in a preferred embodiment, the same numerals refer to the same parts as shown in FIGS. 8 to 12, and in phantom in the example of a bi-modal trailer as shown in FIGS. 1-7 shown as an example of bi-modal railway to highway, and visa versa, apparatus as may be used in a preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 shows a schematic, the trash/refuse bi-modal trailer disclosed in a preferred embodiment according to the disclosed inventive principles, in a side elevation view. For the disclosed invention, the trash/refuse trailer, is indicated generally by numeral 50, and is shown as a view toward side panel 51. The relation of side panel 51 of the inventive trailer 50 to the opposite side panel 67 and to front panel 74 and rear panel 73, may be viewed in the perspective view of FIG. 10. The trailer is shown with front 6 and back 8, and with the conversion highway wheel apparatus 10 and railway wheel apparatus 24, of FIGS. 1-7, shown in phantom by numeral 10 and shown in phantom by numeral 24, respectively.

As would be understood by those skilled in the art, the prior art bi-modal trailer shown in FIGS. 1-7, is one example of an inter-modal or bimodal trailer that may be used in the practice of this disclosed invention and that this invention is not restricted to the inter-modal or bi-modal trailer or its conversion devices 10 and 24, shown in phantom, and can be practiced with any suitable inter-modal or bi-modal trailers and highway and railroad conversion devices.

The trash/refuse trailer shown in FIGS. 8-11 and as indicated by numeral 50 in FIG. 8, has an opening 71, shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, at the top 72 of the trailer 50, opposed to the bottom panel 69 and bounded by, and defined substantially by the top of side panels 51 and 67 and front panel 74 and rear panel 73, opposed to their respective bottoms where joined to the bottom panel 69.

The bottom of the trailer 50 is enclosed by bottom 69. The relationship of the top and bottoms of the front, rear, and side panels, may be viewed in FIGS. 10 and 11, shown as side panel 51 and 67 joined or connected to front panel 74 and rear panel 73 and to the bottom panel 69. The connection of the side panels 51 and 67 to the front panel 74 and rear panel 73 and of the side and front and rear panels, to the bottom panel 69, may be by any suitable means or method known to those skilled in the art.

Reinforcing members, used to reinforce the open top trailer, are shown in the side panel view of FIG. 8, by numerals 53. As shown in FIGS. 9a to 9d, and in the perspective view of FIG. 10, the reinforcing members 53 may be made in a suitable shape, as would be known to one skilled in the art and as disclosed in FIGS. 8-11.

In FIGS. 9a to 9d, the side panel 51 is shown in partial form for the purpose of explanation.

As shown in a preferred embodiment, and with partial reference to Section A-A′ of reinforcing member 53, shown in FIG. 8, the reinforcing member 53 may be an open channel member 59 as shown in FIG. 9a, and 9b, or a closed channel member, 63, as shown in FIG. 9c, or an I beam member, 65, as shown in the perspective view of FIG. 9d. As those skilled in the art would recognize, the invention is not limited to the particular shapes for the reinforcing members 53, as shown in a preferred embodiment.

Attaching of the reinforcing members 53 to a side panel, for example side panel 51, of the open top trash/refuse trailer, may be as shown by tabs 58 attached to the reinforcing member 53 by a screw or rivet 57, as shown in FIGS. 9a, 9b and 9d, or by a welded joint as shown by welded joints 55, in FIGS. 9a, 9c, and 9d. As would be understood by those skilled in the art, the number and placement of the welds 55, or tabs 58, are representative for purposes of explanation and would be augmented by additional attachment tabs 58 or welds 55.

The reinforcing member tabs 58 may be attached to the trash/refuse trailer side, side panel 51 for example, by a screw fasten or rivet 57, as shown in FIG. 9a, 9b, 9c, and 9d, or by any other suitable fastener as may be know to those skilled in the art.

The invention in a preferred embodiment, comprises a front hitch 14, shown by a phantom block representation, and a rear hitch 16, as shown in a phantom block representation, with reference to the example of a prior art inter-modal or bi-modal trailer as shown in FIGS. 1-7 and as may be used a preferred embodiment of the disclosed invention, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 10.

A perspective partial view of the inventive trash/refuse trailer, is shown in FIG. 10, to partially illustrate how the reinforcing members 53, shown in the open channel shape 59, of FIG. 9a, the closed channel shape 63, of FIG. 9c and the I beam shape 65, may be attached, to a side, with side panel 51 shown for example for a preferred embodiment.

In FIGS. 10 and 11, the means for attaching the reinforcing members 53 to the trailer 50, shown as tabs 58 or welds 55, are partially shown, it being understood to those skilled in the art, the tabs 58 and welds 55, or other suitable fastening means, shown, would be applied to those reinforcing members 53, which are not shown with attaching tabs 58 or welds 55, for purpose of explanation.

A partial top view of the inventive trash/refuse trailer 50 is shown generally in FIG. 11, with a view to the open top 71 and to the bottom 69. As shown in a preferred embodiment, the bottom may 69 may be reinforced by reinforcing members 53, arranged across the width of the trailer 50, for example from side panel 51 to side panel 67.

To illustrate the possible arrangement of selected reinforcing members 53, according to the disclosed invention, as explained with reference to the disclosed preferred embodiment, the reinforcing members are disclosed in FIG. 11, as arranged in the open channel shape 59, the closed channel shape 63, and the I beam shape 65, on the side panel 51 and the front panel 73. As would be understood by those skilled in the art, any one or more of the reinforcing members as disclosed in the open channel shape 59, the closed channel shape 63, and the I beam shape 65, may be used in any combination on the side panels 51 and 67, the front panel 74 or rear panel 73, or bottom panel 69.

The reinforcing members 53 may be used on the bottom panel 69, as shown in FIG. 11.

A longitudinal axis 81-82, is defined by the parallel sides 51 and the front 74 and back 73. As would be understood by those skilled in the art, the longitudinal axis is orthogonal to front panel 74 and back panel 73, and parallel to the side panels 51 and 67 and to the bottom 69.

As shown in FIGS. 8, 10, and 11, of the inventive trash/refuse trailer, the reinforcing members 53, may be arranged in parallel relative to the longitudinal axis 81, 82, of the trailer 50, or may be arranged orthogonally to the longitudinal axis 81, 82 as shown in FIG. 11. The reinforcing members may be arranged in a cross pattern 85, as shown by the reinforcing members 53, arranged in a cross or X configuration, as would be known and recognized by those skilled in the art as shown and indicated generally by numeral 85, on side panel 51, in FIG. 8, on the trailer bottom panel 69, and on trailer side panel 67, parallel to the longitudinal axis of the trailer 50 and orthogonally to the trailer 50 longitudinal axis 81, 82, as shown by numeral 86 on the trailer back panel 73, shown in FIG. 10.

As would be known and understood by those skilled in the art, the description of the arrangement and use of the reinforcing members 53 is applicable to the bottom panel 69, the side panels, 51 and 67 and the back and front panels, 73 and 73, as shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 12 shows in a schematic partial view, the open top trash refuse bi modal trailer connected in a train comprising a plurality of railway cars. For purpose of explanation, the trailer 50 is shown connected in a train with a plurality of other trash refuse open top trailers, according to the disclosed inventive principles and being transported over railway 84 on boggie wheels 24. The coupling of the trailers by coupling members 14 and 16 and their associated parts, as explained in the Larson U.S. Pat. No. 5,220,870.

As would be understood by those skilled in the art, the disclosed structure and principles of the invention shown and described, may be varied without departing from the disclosed inventive principles.