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The Kid Should See This

Every Type of Railcar Explained in 15 Minutes

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When a train passes by, it’s easy to spot the powerful locomotive, and, with some luck, a charming caboose, that iconic vintage car that historically indicated the end of the train. But what are all of those railcars in the middle?

On a passenger train, various types of cars cater to riders’ needs, ranging from cafe cars to sleeper cars. In the case of a freight train, there might be dozens of boxcars, stacked containers, or tanks transporting cargo.

They rush past in a blur or sway gently as they clickity-clack by. But those aren’t the only train cars riding the rails.

dome car
In this delightfully comprehensive video, Practical Engineering host Grady Hillhouse lists different kinds of railcars, from all types of passenger cars to a surprising amount of freight cars. His animated examples and notes about how they’re used might help you recognize them.

high cube
Hillhouse also shares photos examples of rail-ready machines and vehicles that railroad companies use to keep things working smoothly.

rail maintenance
How many of these railcars and machines have you spotted before? Download the corresponding Practical Engineering Railcar Checklist (.pdf) to keep track.

The last part of the video promotes Hillhouse’s excellent book and Infrastructure Road Trip Bingo game, a spotting game to play with fellow passengers on road trips.

pressurized tank car
Find more from Practical Engineering on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon, YouTube, and at Practical.Engineering.

Previously on TKSST: Every Construction Machine Explained in 15 Minutes.

Plus, enjoy a few more train videos:
β€’Β Why do autumn leaves cause train delays?
β€’ How to replace railway ties without pulling up the rails
β€’ Epic stunts by a toy Thomas the Tank Engine
β€’ Pachelbel’s Train Horns
β€’ The biggest model railroad in the Northwest

Bonus: How New York City’s subway technologies are being modernized.