Forklift Dock Plates
Have you ever wondered how box cars were unloaded at a freight dock?
I did a little research on the Internet and found pictures of what are called Forklift Dock Plates.
This is a very common item found around prototype loading docks, but never seen until now in HO scale.
This prompted me to make a brass master pattern to be manufactured in a high production metal casting machine.
The Brass Master Pattern is seen in the above picture set in place between the loading dock and box car.
Notice the Babbitt metal half rounds in the background of the picture. These are from the packing glands of piston rods and pumps (the smaller half round) of steam locomotives from nearly a hundred years ago, re-melted to produce the Dock Plate castings. A large quantity of this Babbitt metal was discovered near a railroad locomotive back shop many years ago, basically the same material used in white metal casting.
A forklift would move these Dock Plates into position once the freight car door was open. An easy way to paint them is by using a large felt tip black marker and rub the casting with a cloth to give a well used effect. Modern day railroads used aluminum, with painted safety side rails.
This old 1950s picture showing loading box cars using a Dock Plate.
You can get these Dock Plate castings for your loading docks from Showcase Miniatures at this link below.