American Truck Simulator: Railroad Loads Guide (How to Handle)

This guide is for those who have, are currently, or are planning on running railroad-related loads from American Lines (Union Pacific, or BNSF depending on City). This is formatted to give vital details in a short read. Remember even as virtual regional/OTR truckers, you put SAFETY first. Let’s get going.


The Loads
The loads in question are three very different monsters that require different tactics while hauling them.
Rails come in three types: Ties & spikes (crate), 40ft section, 50ft section.
Wheels come in 33 inches, or 26 inches depending on trailer length.
And the “Tamping machine” (known to railroaders as a “Tamper”) is a low boy load.

I have to point out that you WILL NOT haul locomotives or rolling stock. Even with the standard-sized rolling stock (50 feet), a lowboy will snap axles under its weight unless you have a specific configuration, which is not in ATS unless you plan on paying up the behind. Locomotives such as GE ES44’s (American Lines Locomotive) are hauled by the railroad from point to point, small engines such as GE 50 Ton locomotives can be hauled by specially ordered lowboy trailers that have special groves for the wheel flanges (the part that keeps trains on the track) to sit into.

Rails come in 3 types: Ties & spikes (crate), 40ft section & 48ft section. Non of these are realistic hauls. If you are a person who strives for realism, don’t haul rails unless you plan on hauling ties only.
Your trailer length determines the type of load you get, 28-32ft trailers get ties & spikes, while 40ft & up get either 40ft or 48ft sections of rail.
Sections of rail are always hauled by the host railroad (Union Pacific, or BNSF based on current map geography) to where they are needed. Usually, in the form of welded rail trains, 89ft flatcars built/modified for that purpose, or 60ft “panel” cars. Ties can be bought by the public at home improvement stores, such as Home Store on the map.

Wheels…a favorite. Ever wanted 5+ steel coils behind you? Well, you are in luck.
Train wheels are very heavy and are to be treated as steel coils, that is if someone break-checks you, bulldoze them. As my dad says; “live to see court”. Trailer type again determines the type of wheel (yes there are types of railroad wheel). 28ft-32ft have 26-inch wheels. This type is commonly used on Autoracks (train cars that carry cars). 40ft-45ft get 33 inch wheels. These are used on most other rolling stock & locomotives. 48ft-53ft get a mixture. The best way to haul these is like steel coils, take it slow, have your GPS handy, and pray.

Tamping Machine (AKA Tamper)
The tamping machine (or Tamper proper) is a Maintenance of Way (from here MoW) machine designed to tamp the ballast below the ties. It usually comes with a telescopic set of wheels. The configuration for the in-game model is a basic unit. Most likely, the host railroad just bought it. The wheel configuration needed to haul this on a low boy is a 0/3/1 (no jeep/3 axle lowboy/1 axle booster) set up. Any fans of realism can be reassured that it’s usually trucked such as Viper’s 389 (on the workshop) hauling these around. Seeing Tampers on trucks is common, just not as common as anything else. Usually once bought, the Tamper’s are moved by MoW Equipment trains from site to site, and within the host railroad’s system.

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