1 MARCH 2000
(2) The number of tracks required can be determined from the traffic and mission information covered
in chapter 2, the space available in the terminal area, and the criteria for track length above.
d. Staging Area
(1) The size and location of a staging area depend on terrain characteristics and availability of space.
It is recommended that a staging area be located as close to the loading area as possible to facilitate
better command and control. The staging area should be large enough to stage one full loading cycle of
vehicular cargo, thus a loading terminal with a capacity of 50 flatcars would require a staging area with a
capacity of 50 carloads of vehicles.
(2) The staging area must include an access road (or approach) leading up to the loading ramp,
which is straight and in line with the ramp for at least the full length of the longest vehicle to be loaded. If
practical, this in-line approach should be twice the length of the longest vehicle to ensure that a vehicle
can always be positioned ready to load as the first vehicle is driven up the ramp. It is also preferable that
this road not be directly adjacent to any track to avoid a dust cloud from the approaching vehicles
reducing the view of loading operations.
(3) For operation after dark, staging areas need to be lighted with "parking lot" type lighting. Fencing
may also be required if the cargo is security sensitive. (see paragraph 13).
e. End Ramps for Tracked and Larger Wheeled Vehicles.
(1) Rapid loading of larger vehicles onto flatcars is best accomplished with permanent end ramps
constructed at the end of the loading tracks. While end ramps may be constructed with concrete, wood,
steel or earth, they must be capable of supporting the largest and heaviest vehicles being mobilized
(typically, a main battle tank).
(2) A general reinforced concrete ramp design is shown in figure 8-4. More detailed guidance should
be obtained from the Army Transportation Systems Center (CENWO-ED-TX, or at website:
(3) A well designed end ramp will:
(a) Allow an M-1 Abrams tank to be driven onto a flatcar having the lowest platform height used in
commercial railroad service. (Note: It is safer and easier to drive a vehicle from a lower ramp level to a
higher flatcar level than vice-versa).
(b) Provide ample width to enable guides to walk on both sides of an M-1 tank.
(c) Provide sufficient level platform length to allow a tank to be in a completely horizontal position
prior to proceeding onto the railcar.
(d) Have the proper transition between the incline and the level platform so that a tank will not "high
center" itself while negotiating the ramp.