Cal San Rail Arm Front Loader - Refuse Truck Photography

Rail Arm FL

C&O built these three for Cal San Inc. in 1974 to duplicate the ones owner Morrie Adnoff acquired with a company he bought. The original company who designed the Rail Arm was called Rite-Way Mfg  in Downey, CA. I don't think they lasted very long as Cal San soon had Chet building him several copies on Cab Over chassis.

Morrie adopted this type of "container mating" method for his company and it became known as the "Cal San Carriage". In the early days (and even today) companies would steal competitor’s containers, repaint them and put them out on route. Haulers tried to mitigate that by ordering containers with different pocket widths than their competitors. However, a truck with adjustable width forks could easily pick up any container, so this practice was quickly abandoned in favor of a "standardized" width.

With the "Cal San Carriage," Morrie had a completely unique and different method of engaging the container. The only drawback to this method was that it limited Cal San to a 3yd maximum size container, where as the traditional fork and pocket method could engage containers up to 8yd's. Later on Signal Hill Disposal adopted some containers that used this method. They were the only two companies to have this system.

After Cal San and Metropolitan Disposal merged to form "Cal Met" in the early 1990's, the "Cal San" style was still used and new trucks were delivered with the carriage versus forks. Today, you'll find Cal Met moving back to the fork and pocket method, with the older generation of containers being phased out.

Update July 2014: Morrie Adnoff had a collection of photos and in them were action shots of Rail Arm Front Loaders Chet built him. Click on the picture on the left to open the amazing gallery!


"On my conversion I figured out how to use an air cylinder on the carriage and control it with a valve on the loader arm cross shaft. Photo #1 was the first one. I found the brake chamber was overkill so on the next one (photo #2) we used a small cylinder double acting for sure lock up."


Video of Cal San Carriage In Operation

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