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Old 04-09-2012, 09:08 PM   #601
barnyard
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Road Railers are a Norfolk Southern offering. I am betting you saw them on a BNSF train, as NS and BNSF are partners for a bunch of that type of traffic. The theory is that a roadrailer is a faster way to move a trailer vs lifting it onto a railcar. The problem is that the added weight on the trailer makes for lighter load weight than a regular trailer.

A few years ago, BNSF was rumored to be talking with NS about a merger. It was also rumored that the Fed killed the deal.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:15 PM   #602
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:16 PM   #603
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:14 AM   #604
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnyard View Post
Road Railers are a Norfolk Southern offering. I am betting you saw them on a BNSF train, as NS and BNSF are partners for a bunch of that type of traffic. The theory is that a roadrailer is a faster way to move a trailer vs lifting it onto a railcar. The problem is that the added weight on the trailer makes for lighter load weight than a regular trailer.

A few years ago, BNSF was rumored to be talking with NS about a merger. It was also rumored that the Fed killed the deal.
The UP runs a Road Railer train on their line that runs east into Wisconsin out of the Twin Cities. I don't know how often it runs, but I just happened to see it within the last few months. Other than that, they used to run some on the rear of Amtrak, but haven't for at least a couple of years. Never seen any on the BNSF, around here.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:49 AM   #605
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Freight railroads objected to Amtrak pulling roadrailers, they said it was unfair competition, so Amtrak discontinued the service. Amtrak spent quite a bit of money developing the equipment to make it work.

Here is a link to road railer's service area. NS does not have direct service to Mpls, so those trains have to be pulled by another road.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:35 PM   #606
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Freight railroads objected to Amtrak pulling roadrailers, they said it was unfair competition, so Amtrak discontinued the service. Amtrak spent quite a bit of money developing the equipment to make it work.

.
Interesting. Kind of makes sense that the railroads would take that position, but around here, a couple trailers on the rear end of the Empire Builder doesn't seem like it's taking a huge bite out of anyone else's business.

I used to regularly work between St. Paul and Superior over the BNSF Hinckley sub and ran some of this Rail-Mate stuff when they were testing it. I don't know if it's still being used, I haven't heard anything about it for a long time.

http://www.canadianrailwayobservatio...F/CRO_0608.pdf

(Copied from the PDF above):


CP and BNSF tested new Rail-Mate cars in April. In some ways similar to "Road-Railer’s", "Rail-Mate" is a new innovative bi-modal transportation solution that recently tested on CP hauling select aggregate from Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range for delivery to MNROAD, Minnesota Department of Transportation' s (MNDOT) cold weather pavement testing facility located near Albertville, MN. The railroad ballast-sized aggregate will be used as a foundation for a pavement test segment at MNROAD. The two-week transportation delivery system test, in conjunction with CP occurred from April 21 to May 3, 2008. RailMate units were placed on the rails at CP Hopkins Spur in Hopkins, MN. The TWIN CITIES & WESTERN Railroad (TC&W) moved the RailMate consist to the CP St. Paul Pigs Eye Yard, St. Paul, MN, and to Superior, WI. Jeff Foster Trucking, Inc., Superior, WI, provided tractors and experienced drivers moved Rail Mate trailers on and off the rail spur located at the CP Stinson Yard, Superior, WI. RailMate bogies were parked and RailMate trailers were then driven to the UnitedTaconite Mine, managed by Cleveland Cliffs, in Eveleth, MN, the heart of Minnesota's Mesabi Iron
Range, where Laurentian Aggregate loaded the aggregate material. This is a photo of the actual CP "Rail-Mate" train heading south over the BNSF Hinckley Sub, and others.



http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...232781&skip=-2
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...232780&nseq=70
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:46 PM   #607
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I know right where the 1st 2 photos were taken......

Interesting that CP would have run that test. BNSF would have been a logical choice for that, as they have trackage that runs to Monticello, including tracks where the bogies could have been stored.

The objection to the Amtrak roadrailers was not the business that it started with, it was where it was heading. Amtrak was looking to cultivate fruit and veg express business from the west coast tot he east. UP has spent quite a bit of dough developing carload business that Amtrak would have been pursuing and then transporting on rails that they do not pay for and require dispatching superiority.

I believe it was a 'look at the big picture' kind of thing. Railroads were originally deregulated after one of the large trucking companies tried to get a hauling authority for either ostrich meat or eggs. The railroads objected, stated that their existed relied on protecting that business (or something like that). The ICC saw through that and it marked the beginning of the end of railroad and truck regulation.

I think the railroads learned from that lesson and figure that they better protect the business that they do have. Some people theorized that if the business took off, Amtrak could add trains to a schedule that would carry more trailers than passenger cars. Profitable service, to be sure, but also easy to see why freight railroads would object.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:37 PM   #608
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I made a delivery to stoughton trailer in Wisconsin in the late 80's when I was still driving trucks, they were making some of the original roadrailer trailers there and the original ones had the railroad axle built onto the trailer between split highway axles and all of it was air ride years later I was driving into the rail yards moving inter modal trailers and asked about the trailers I was seeing now that sat on separate railroad bogies and the guy at the yard said that the built in axle was great when it worked but that with the lack of maintenance (break down maintenance) and the extra weight added by the railroad axle, they decided it was a bad idea and went to the present system
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:07 PM   #609
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Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
I made a delivery to stoughton trailer in Wisconsin in the late 80's when I was still driving trucks, they were making some of the original roadrailer trailers there and the original ones had the railroad axle built onto the trailer between split highway axles and all of it was air ride years later I was driving into the rail yards moving inter modal trailers and asked about the trailers I was seeing now that sat on separate railroad bogies and the guy at the yard said that the built in axle was great when it worked but that with the lack of maintenance (break down maintenance) and the extra weight added by the railroad axle, they decided it was a bad idea and went to the present system
That's how I understand it.

The current Triple Crown road railers supposedly only weigh 1,000 lbs more than a regular 53-footer.

That's a pretty big deal when every shipper want 43000 to 45000 in the box.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:37 PM   #610
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I know right where the 1st 2 photos were taken......

The 2nd and 3rd photos were taken at the same spot. He just panned to the right and got a shot after the train cleared M&J and was headed west on the Lakes sub. I only know that because he lists the location as M&J junction on both...I really liked working that line, and those photos bring back some memories. I especially liked it north of Hinckley. It was hilly and lined with aspen and pine trees, we used to see bear quite often. Most of the runs were at night. The taconite trains the BNSF run up there beat the hell out of the track though, and if they didn't stay on top of the upkeep, the whole sub would be littered with speed restrictions. The CP train now runs out of Minneapolis instead of St. Paul and I don't have much interest in working it anymore.

This was about 4am at Bruno, headed north, four or five years ago:
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:22 PM   #611
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Not really a train- but related
from this AM, just missed/saw this in time-- on the old rail trail just west of Golden Spike monument....Irish or Chinese??


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Old 05-25-2012, 10:20 PM   #612
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Yea, it's foo-foo, but it's still a train.



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Old 06-03-2012, 04:13 PM   #613
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:32 AM   #614
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Cool project announced a couple of weeks ago:

http://www.csrail.org/

The plan is to take a 1937 former Atkinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe passenger locomotive, convert it to burn "bio-coal", and (the best part) use it to break the world record top speed for steam locomotives.

The British hold the current record at 126 MPH, set in 1937 with the locomotive "Mallard". Before you say these guys are nuts, you should be aware that similar U.S. 4-6-4 steam locomotives routinely operated at 120 MPH in the hey day of steam operations (google Milwaukee Road Hiawatha passenger trains for more info).

I'll be watching this one closely.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:17 AM   #615
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I'll be watching this one closely.
I will as well. This month's Trains magazine had a blurb about the project. There has been a lot of debate about the efficiency of super power and whether it could compete with diesel. I believe they have the background to do it, but I think their timeline to restore the locomotive is pretty darn optimistic.

I wish them the best of luck.
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