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Freight Car Placement


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Back when JNR was still running mixed freight trains, were there regulations on car placement in trains, like there are here in the US (e.g., placement of cars carrying hazmat or shiftable loads)?

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bikkuri bahn

Barring someone coming up with an official JNR freight rules/regulations handbook, I think it's safe to assume that general safe operating practices that any contemporary first world railway operator would adhere to would also be found in a peer operation such as JNR freight (with concessions to the era- safety rules in say 1965 would be different than 2022).  Looking at pictures of mixed freight in the JNR era, flammable materials were generally spaced in the middle portions of the consists away from the rear or the head end, with concession to the shorter length of freight trains in Japan- so the spacing may be just two or three car lengths.


Iida Line 1974:



Muroran Main Line 1983:


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Definitely, tank cars were usually in between other wagons but I can't find any further info on whether some of these were empty barrier wagons or just other loads. I know with some of the earlier container trains, the Kokifu cab locations were changed from the ends of trains to avoid/reduce conductor fatalities from rear end collisions. 


I think for main lines, where the risk of collision was higher due to traffic volume, and higher operating speeds, the volatile materials were often in the middle of trains. For branch lines, the rules may have been less necessary due to the slower speeds or positioned to make drop offs more efficient.


Here a tanker is directly behind the ED19 loco.






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Okay, that helps with how I’m going to run my mixed freights.


How about unit tank trains today?  I don’t see any barrier cars of any kind in the images/videos I’ve seen.

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