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A railroad car float in the Upper New York Bay, 1919. A tugboat (towboat) stack is visible ‎behind the middle car.

A railroad car float is an unpowered barge with rail tracks mounted on its deck. It is used to move railroad cars across water obstacles, or to locations they could not otherwise go, and is pushed by a towboat or towed by a tugboat. As such, the car float is a specialised form of the train ferry.

Until the post-World War II expansion of trucking, the railroads had 3,400 employees operating small fleets with 323 car floats, plus 1,094 other barges, towed by 150 tugboats between New Jersey and New York City. Abandoned car float docks are preserved as part of Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens, and at North River Pier 66a, and New York Central Railroad 69th Street Transfer Bridge.

New York Cross Harbor Railroad formerly operated a car float service carrying freight cars between Brooklyn Army Terminal in Brooklyn, New York and Jersey City, New Jersey. This car float is now operated by the New York New Jersey Rail LLC. Freight cars do not run in the former Pennsylvania Railroad, now Amtrak, tunnels under the East River, Manhattan and the Hudson River, in part due to inadequate tunnel clearances of the New York Tunnel Extension.

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