Curtainsider trailer

Trailer with a 'curtain' along the sides of its body which can be opened to load / un-load goods.

A curtainsider trailer, also known as a ‘tautliner’, is the generic name for a curtain sided type of trailer. It is the haulage industry’s most popular type of trailer and is used to carry a variety of different types of goods, which may be loaded / un-loaded from the side when the ‘curtain’ is open. Loading / un-loading in this way, usually via fork-lift truck, can provide an efficient alternative to doing so via the rear doors.

Curtainsiders usually have a hard-shell roof, solid front bulkhead, conventional rear doors and a retractable curtain along both sides.

When a traditional loading bay is not available, the curtains can be pulled back to provide access to the trailer's bed or its cargo, depending on whether you are loading or un-loading. It can then be loaded or un-loaded from either or both sides, in addition to the rear via its doors.

Curtain-sided trailers are also very useful where items being transported are either over-sized or simply awkward to load and un-load.

The curtains are on ‘runners’, top and bottom, and can be easily pulled back and forth for load access. Being able to do this can be particularly useful if you need to make multiple drops along a route. Drivers can access more of the cargo more easily compared to when un-loading from a box-van trailer.

Another advantage of a curtainsider is that, once the curtains are closed, the cargo is instantly protected from the elements without the need to spend time covering it, as may be required with a flatbed trailer.

Curtainsiders are available as single deck trailers and double deck trailers (also known as double decker trailers), the latter often with a ‘step-frame’ design, which together with the increased height, enables additional cargo to be carried. Double deck trailers can have their ‘second’ deck as a fixed deck or as a lifting deck that can be lowered and raised to load and un-load the cargo.

A curtainsider may also be a refrigerated trailer, offering the benefits of a temperature controlled trailer with that of easy access via the side. This variety is referred to as an ’insuliner’.

Curtainsiders are manufactured in the UK by SDC, Don Bur, Montracon and Lawrence David. Overseas manufacturers such as Schmitz Cargobull and Krone also offer a curtainsider range of trailers.

TIP offers curtainsider trailers on a short-term rental or a long term lease basis from all of these leading manufacturers and others.

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Curtainsider Specification Options

  • 3 axles
  • 13.7 metre length
  • Heights available from 4 metres - 4.8 metres
  • Drum brakes
  • Straight or step frame options
  • ENXL options
  • Pillarless body options
  • Load restraint options

What is EN 12642-XL?

EN 12642-XL is a load containment standard that sets out the bodywork (including the curtain on a curtainsider) requirements of commercial vehicles and trailers. Curtainsiders that do not meet this standard must use a load restraint system to prevent loads from moving during transit and should consider the curtain as only providing weather protection. However, curtainsiders that meet the standard may be an exception to this rule provided that other criteria are met. In order to achieve the standard, bodywork is tested by an accredited third-party organisation and upon passing the tests a compliance mark may be applied to the bodywork to indicate that the trailer complies with the standard.

Are curtains easily repaired?

Curtains can get damaged or become worn in parts but can be repaired quite easily with the correct equipment to hand. TIP's network of branches and authorised service providers throughout the UK and Ireland specialise in the repair of curtains to ensure your curtainsider remains secure and keep it looking great.