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A couple of years ago I had picked up a 3-disc bluray set "The World's Greatest Railroads", and last weekend watched most of the first disc. This introduced me to the concept of "roadrailers" - semi-trailer (articulated lorries for the British) trailers designed to be directly useable on railroad tracks. Most people know about road-rail vehicles in general, but I hadn't seen these before. The local train show is coming up soon, so I couldn't resist building a set of them.

Because these units can go directly from rail travel to road travel, they can be a cheaper alternative to boxcars, containers and standard trailer-on-flatbed alternatives. However, because these are really just trailers, they are not as strong as railroad cars and so cannot have railroad cars behind them in a train. This restricts how they can be used - they must always be at the end of train (or be the whole train).

I built 5 of the trailers - that was basically determined by the number of rear door pairs I have, and the number of 1x6x5 panels in white was a pretty good match as well. A further parts match was the number of spare train wheel units I have.

The Wikipedia page has some info on these units, and the official web page for Triple Crown Services also has information and some pictures of the real units.

My trailers are variations on the trailers in Lego sets 3221 and 7848. Mine have no side doors, have the rear doors raised a brick to make space for the couplings, have a different wheel set, and have my extra parts for the coupling system.

Because of the tight curves that Lego track has, I had to make the coupling train bogies longer than they should be. They also use a different connection.

One trailer
Outside corner
Inside corner

Bogie underside
Bogie side
Coupling bogie

Trailer details
Rear trailer underside
Front trailer underside
Trailer wheel unit
Trailer rear

After I had finished my first variations, I thought of using the trailers in a road train, so built some trailer-towing wheelsets to do that. I also changed the front support stands a bit, so that they fold up higher.

Road train use
Road train
Towing coupler
Road train join

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