Handling Specialty was approached by a company responsible for designing an oil transloading operation in New Orleans, Louisiana. The company wanted to improve the efficiency of one of its processes where personnel were required to be positioned over the top of rail tanker cars. Two important factors in the development of this solution were the safety of workers and the equipment’s ability to withstand a harsh outdoor environment.

Working with the customer, Handling Specialty developed a 77’ L self-propelled rail gantry that spans four railway lines, which allows four rail tank cars to be accessed by personnel simultaneously by the use of four pivoting and telescoping gangways.

Factors taken into consideration during the engineering of this gantry system included the guide rails themselves given that the environmental conditions of the site called for a high prescribed variation in rail gauge. Furthermore, steps were taken to ensure long lasting structural durability and functionality in extreme weather conditions.

In terms of personnel safety, obstacle detection mechanisms are present on the leading edge of each gantry leg – both front and back – that halt gantry movement if a foreign object is detected on the gantry rails. Mechanisms prevent movement of the system while the gangways are in the lowered position and cable pull switches have been installed to protect personnel while on top of the rail tank car.


  • Moving rail gantry managing four railway lines; could be used for loading and unloading rail tank cars
  • Gantry dimensions are 77’ L x 33’ H x 25’ D
  • Equipment positions personnel safely, ergonomically and efficiently over the top of crude oil tanker cars for various transload activities
  • Folding gangways provide overhead access to tanker vents, but fold up during gantry movement
  • Operators stand on gantry while moving the equipment (maximum capacity 6 people)
  • Variable speed up to 40 fpm. Total travel up to 4,500’
  • Access to the main platform via two alternating tread ladders located on each end of gantry
  • Unit carries self contained power source located on the top of gantry complete with quick convert fuelling assembly


For more information on the Self-Propelled Rail Gantry for Tank Car Facility or other solutions

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