Class U special wagon

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The International Union of Railways groups all special classes of railway goods wagon (less those in classes F, H, L, S or Z) into Class U in its goods wagon classification system.


These are:

Between 1964 and 1979 bulk goods wagons for liquid and gaseous materials (tank wagons) were included in Class U before being reclassified in 1980 as Class Z.

Bulk goods wagons for transporting powders (powder wagons)

Two-axled powder wagon for building materials (cement, lime) SNCF-Ucs.JPG
Two-axled powder wagon for building materials (cement, lime)

The powder wagon is a special form of bulk goods wagon designed to transport goods in powder form. These wagons are pneumatically unloaded, usually by using compressed air. For goods that might react with oxygen in the compressed air, nitrogen is used instead. These wagons are used for bulk commodities, such as cement, that are so fine-grained they cannot be poured, or at least do not pour very well, and so cannot be emptied under gravity. Under the UIC system they are given the category letter U and index letter c. They do not normally have their own compressors but must be unloaded using external equipment.

Intermodal container well wagons

Special low deck wagons

Uik 630 (21 80 990 5 904-8) Uik 630.jpg
Uik 630 (21 80 990 5 904-8)
Differents types of flat wagons and one low deck wagon . US Army foreign freight equipment fig8-5.gif
Differents types of flat wagons and one low deck wagon .

This group has a large variety of different types of wagon that range from the two-axle low deck wagon to the 36-axle Schnabel wagon.

The current designation for all low deck wagons is Ui, which can be supplemented as necessary by the index letters a, aa, k, kk or s. The load limits on low-loading wagons are not indicated by letters. The former German wagon classes were St and SSt.

In 1998 the Deutsche Bahn had a total of 180 well wagons of 43 different types. They are used to move very large and heavy goods that would exceed the loading gauge on flat wagons. Such loads typically include: combine harvesters, generators or narrow gauge vehicles.

List of selected low deck wagons

Class numberMaximum carrying capacity Tare weight Wheelsets Quantity
(DB as at 31 Dec 1997)
Length over buffers Bogie pivot spacing
wheelset spacing
Length of
low loading bay
Uis 632 [5] 25 t
(24.6 long tons; 27.6 short tons)
14,500 kg
32,000 lb
22512,240 mm
40 ft 1+78 in
9,000 mm
29 ft 6+38 in
Uiks 635 [6] 19 t
(18.7 long tons; 20.9 short tons)
12,800 kg
28,200 lb
22715,590 mm
51 ft 1+34 in
15,760 mm
51 ft 8+12 in
9,000 mm
29 ft 6+38 in
7,450 mm
24 ft 5+14 in
Uais 732 [4] 50 t
(49.2 long tons; 55.1 short tons)
29,500 kg
65,000 lb
41619,940 mm
65 ft 5 in
14,900 mm
48 ft 10+58 in
10,000 mm
32 ft 9+34 in

Schnabel wagons

Types of wagons according the manner that they are loaded.
A: Not self-supporting with low-loading bridge.
B: Self-supporting load.
C: Not self-supporting with through-loading bridge Type of heavy capacity wagon.png
Types of wagons according the manner that they are loaded.
A: Not self-supporting with low-loading bridge.
B: Self-supporting load.
C: Not self-supporting with through-loading bridge
OBB Schnabel wagon with transformer at Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein station Tragschnabelwagen mit Transformator (8789).jpg
ÖBB Schnabel wagon with transformer at Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein station

The largest low-loading wagons are designed as Schnabel wagons , made from two completely separate sections. Each section rests on multiple-axle bogies or groups of bogies. The two sections each support a beak-shaped carrying arm which, in turn, supports one side of a low-loading platform or is directly fixed to the outsize load to be transported. In the latter case the load becomes temporarily part of the vehicle itself. The wagons have hydraulic equipment with which the load can be raised or lowered in order to manoeuvre it past obstacles. There are about 30 examples of Schnabel wagon in Europe, North America and Asia.

Typical loads for these vehicles are large boilers for power stations, turbine components or power station transformers. Due to their heavy weight and outsize dimensions these goods are not usually transported in normal goods trains, but are moved in special trains and need careful preparation. Whenever transportation restrictions arise with a wagon and its load due to its weight and size, it is designated as an abnormal load and must be labelled in accordance with the RIV as a U type. When the vehicle is unladen the two carrying arms are joined directly to one another; the wagon can then travel in goods trains at normal speeds.

Hopper wagons with loading hatches

A range of funnel-shaped self-discharging wagons is also classed as special wagons. Their external shape resembles the open hoppers, but they have an enclosed roof with loading hatches or in some other way do not fulfil the criteria for a wagon with opening roof.

The DB has grouped several of the lime wagons with four hatches taken over from the DR into Class Uaoos-y. Some of these wagons have since been fitted with swing roofs.

In the SNCF there is a large number of grain wagons in service that are classed as special wagons.

See also

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Flat wagon Railway goods wagon

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The Victorian Railways used a variety of air-cooled and iced wagons or refrigerated vans for the transport of all manner of goods. This page covers the history and development of the various classes, and how they changed through their lives.

Goods wagons of welded construction were developed and built by the Deutsche Reichsbahn in Germany from 1933 to about 1945. With the introduction of welding technology in 1933 almost all wagon components were joined by welding and no longer by rivetting. This enabled goods wagons to be designed, for example, for higher speeds or for higher payloads through the use of different types of steel and other engineering changes, but their further development was so heavily influenced by the exigencies of the Second World War that, as early as 1939, the Deutsche Reichsbahn had to temper the design of goods wagons to the new economic circumstances. Because there were overlaps in the change from the Austauschbauart - goods wagons made with interchangeable components - to the new welded classes, the period of the changeover cannot be exactly defined. Several standard goods wagons and their classes are covered in other articles. Goods wagons built during the Second World War that were purely intended for military transport use, are covered under the article on Kriegsbauart - wartime classes.

A pocket wagon is a freight wagon that has been specially designed for the transport of truck semi-trailers. This wagon belongs to the group of flat wagons in special design with bogies and is used in combined transport (CT). The name of these freight wagons comes from the fact that between the narrow longitudinal girders on the outside and also lengthways between the bogies, the so-called pockets are located, in which the wheels of the semi-trailers are particularly low. For flexible use in CT, pocket wagons have hinged latches with ISO spigots on the solebar, so that containers and swap bodies up to 45 ft can be accommodated'. As a flat wagon, it bears the UIC generic letter S and, since it is intended for the transport of road vehicles on one level, the code letter d. Since it is also possible to transport containers in a pocket wagon, it bears the UIC generic mark Sdgs. In this context, the code letter g stands for "containers up to 60 feet" and the lower case s for the permitted speed of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). The wagons have a yellow triangle with a black P on the long side. The first pocket wagons were built in Germany as early as 1972 and further developed according to requirements.


  1. Ackermann
  2. Piggyback transport in the 60s, video in French
  3. Uik 630
  4. 1 2 Uais 732
  5. Uis 632
  6. Uiks 635

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