Micro-Trains 111 44 430 - 89' Tri-Level Closed Autorack ( Weathered ) - Grand Trunk Western
For many years, automobiles were carried in boxcars like other freight. The relative light weight of the cars for their size meant that these boxcars reached their volume capacity far faster than their weight limit. Loading cars through the side doors was also challenging and inefficient. End door boxcars helped with the loading, but could still only be loaded one at a time. Due to these limitations, modified flatcars, known as autoracks, began to appear in the 1960s. At first, these cars were open sided, with the cargo exposed, but later cars added the protection of aluminum sides to enclose the automobiles within.
Enclosed autoracks come in two basic configurations. Bi-level racks have a two decks: the floor of the flatcar itself, as well as one elevated deck. These cars can haul two rows of taller vehicles like vans and trucks. Tri-level racks have an extra deck and can carry three rows of conventional automobiles. Up until the 1990s, tri-level cars were far more common, but with the rise in popularity of the SUV, the number of bi-level cars has grown quickly over the past 20 years.