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View Full Version : RailEx Reefer Train.


Jaypee_Logger
12-09-2006, 12:58 AM
Does anyone have any pics of the RailEx reefer train that runs from Wallula, WA to New York on the UP and CSX? Its is a 55 car block of jumbo reefers that is usually powered by 4 or 5 units. If anyone has pics i would like to see them.

Tåg
12-09-2006, 03:48 AM
Here is the Railex website, an article from UP and our union:

http://www.railexusa.com/

http://www.utu.org/worksite/detail_news.cfm?ArticleID=31526

https://employees.www.uprr.com/emp/news/uponline/2006/10_23/produce_train.shtml

https://employees.www.uprr.com/emp/news/uponline/2006/07_31/produce_train.shtml

Tåg
12-09-2006, 03:49 AM
It sounds like the old PFE idea.

Jaypee_Logger
12-09-2006, 04:09 AM
Thanks for the info. I know quite a bit about the company.. my cousin is part owner of the small RR that moves the cars through the plant at Wallula. i have been out there and been the plant many times. i just find it odd that for a train that stands out like a sore thumb nobody seems to have pics of it moving over the lines.


TAG, do you work for the UP in this area? (WA)

John West
12-11-2006, 04:20 PM
It will be interesting how successful this kind of operation can be. Years ago I worked the PFE perishable trains out of Salinas. The railroad did the best it could, but the whole system was inefficient. Refrigeration was expensive and unreliable, transit times were too long and way too unreliable, and loss and damage claims sometimes exceeded freight revenue. Poor product for shippers, unprofitable business for the railroad. One big problem was the typical railcar carried far more that any one distribution point really needed.

Some years later I was able to spend some time with an entrepreneur who was trying to put together a rail-based dedicated refrigerated container operation that included inert gasses to help preserve freshness. He was a hands on distributor, and it was interesting listening to him describe how screwed up the whole distribution process was, how much wastage occurred (even with trucks), and what herculean efforts high end retailers and restaurants had to make to get really fresh stuff to sell. He seemed to have some interesting ideas but I don't think he was able to get financing. Too much risk.

So it is interesting to see that folks are still trying to come up with something better, and that railroads might still be able to participate. I wonder what ever happened the Ice Cold Express on the BNSF? Probably still a tough business with a lot of risk. But the bright guy with the right idea can probably make a bundle.

Jaypee_Logger
12-11-2006, 04:45 PM
John, i have talked to the owner of the small RR that switches out the railex plants in WA and NY. he says that so far the operation has been a huge success. the trains have been arriving ahead of schedule and the product is in great shape. with exception of the of the UPS train the railex train is the hottest train on the line. i was a bit skeptical at first also but it seems to be going quite well. they run one 55 car train a week and load single cars in between that the local switcher picks up. so far all the trains have arrived on time or early.

John West
12-11-2006, 05:15 PM
Are they using mechanical reefers or the new cryogenic cars? One of the big problems used to be the unreliability of the mechanical refrigeration units. At least with trucks there was a driver to restart or fix a unit that decided to turn off enroute for whatever reason (or no reason).

Jaypee_Logger
12-11-2006, 05:17 PM
they are using the brand new jumbo mechanical reefers.

Tåg
12-11-2006, 05:39 PM
I think I have seen these trains moving through our Hermiston yard. I could be wrong, but we have been moving allot of reefers that way as of late.

Jaypee_Logger
12-12-2006, 04:00 AM
you have seen them there. they run from wallula to hinkle and then over the blues and back east.

J
12-13-2006, 02:23 AM
Mechanical reefer business was on life support a few years ago. Sure the rates were competitive but it might take 10 days to get a load across the country due to the need to visit a yard or two along the way. A truck could do it in 3 or 4 days. The key to fast freight is staying out of the yard and building an entire train to go from one origin to one destination is the best way to do it. Add to that the fact that a loaded interstate truck is limited to pretty much 80,000 lbs gross while a reefer is just getting started at 160,000 lbs and you can see that this concept makes sense. I understand they are looking at generating westward backhaul business. If they can pull it off, look for more such shipments coming from places like California's San Joaquin Valley.

Tåg
12-13-2006, 03:50 AM
We had a rail of reefers get stuck in our yard a few summers ago when we were so busy we couldnt even switch. These reefers sat and sat until they ran out of diesle and the motors kicked out. Imagine what a rail full of rotten TV dinners smells like.

Railfan Ohio
12-13-2006, 05:46 PM
We were in Fostoria Ohio the first weekend of December and saw the reefer train blast through. I had read about it only a few days before in Railfan and Railroad and couldn't believe my look. It passed us doing around 60mph with three units on the front, all Union Pacific. The first two were good looking SD70M's, with American flags on the side. The third unit was a new GEVO, also with an American flag on the side. With 55 reefers behind them that train lookedGREAT I got a picture of it but doe to the angles and speed I didn't get it on the site.

Jaypee_Logger
12-14-2006, 12:58 AM
hey andy send me the pic in an email.

Railfan Ohio
12-14-2006, 10:05 PM
Sorry I can't e-mail it to you, my e-mail has been having problems sending out messages. Do you know how I could attach it to a post?

Tåg
12-15-2006, 08:36 AM
Word around the UP campfire is these trains are getting priority over even Z trains. Then again the dispacters around here can even kill a Z train before getting to the next terminal.

J
12-15-2006, 01:43 PM
* * * Then again the dispacters around here can even kill a Z train before getting to the next terminal.

Now now.
Back in my DS days I'd occasionally chat with crews on the "side phone" who wanted to critique my technique. I'd remind them that they could only see a few hundred yards out the windshield and didn't always know of the drama unfolding a hundred miles away that could give them a bad run.

Of course, I wasn't perfect. One time a trainmaster asked me to give a LACHT (Los Angeles / Chcago Trailers - hot hot) a stop signal so they could climb up the platform, kick in the doors and examine the crew's paperwork. I stopped the Chicago at a crossover on the main track in the middle of the long siding. I also had an opposing set of light engines coming along. Feeling saucy, I decided to keep the engines on the main and run them through the seldom-used crossover rather than safely dump them into the siding at the far end. It seemed like about only about 25 seconds passed before the officers released the LACHT. Of course the meet was already set up so I "enjoyed" watching the board as the light engines trundled along at approach speed for 4500 feet before finally reaching the crossover and getting out of the way. Presumably the LACHT crew (and the trainmaster) wondered what sort of hot train was holding up the LACHT as they watched the headlight slowly approaching from the east.
My delay report explained that the train was stopped for officer testing.

Tåg
12-15-2006, 02:27 PM
Now now.
Back in my DS days I'd occasionally chat with crews on the "side phone" who wanted to critique my technique. I'd remind them that they could only see a few hundred yards out the windshield and didn't always know of the drama unfolding a hundred miles away that could give them a bad run.

Of course, I wasn't perfect. One time a trainmaster asked me to give a LACHT (Los Angeles / Chcago Trailers - hot hot) a stop signal so they could climb up the platform, kick in the doors and examine the crew's paperwork. I stopped the Chicago at a crossover on the main track in the middle of the long siding. I also had an opposing set of light engines coming along. Feeling saucy, I decided to keep the engines on the main and run them through the seldom-used crossover rather than safely dump them into the siding at the far end. It seemed like about only about 25 seconds passed before the officers released the LACHT. Of course the meet was already set up so I "enjoyed" watching the board as the light engines trundled along at approach speed for 4500 feet before finally reaching the crossover and getting out of the way. Presumably the LACHT crew (and the trainmaster) wondered what sort of hot train was holding up the LACHT as they watched the headlight slowly approaching from the east.
My delay report explained that the train was stopped for officer testing.

Well you know how it goes then. Some days you hear a familiar voice and say YES he/she is going to take care of us, and if we get stuffed in a siding there is a good reason. Then there are people like SKR (AKA Skar AKA She Kills Rails.) and you know you are dieing before you get off the Kenton line. We were about 10 minutes from Eugene one time when she stuffed us in a siding to wait for Amtrack that had not even left Portland.

CMS extraboard switchmen, or dispatchers, there are some that if you know you are working with them you are going to have a good night....others you wish you would have laid off "redblock" to get out of it.

Jaypee_Logger
12-16-2006, 03:44 AM
Andy,
I'm not sure how to attach pics in here. someone on here should know.

Byrnsy383
12-17-2006, 03:54 PM
Hey "J", way to go for taking care of the road crew and avoiding the officials from jumping on board! Love the story. There needs to be more dispatchers like you ;)

Jaypee_Logger
12-18-2006, 07:10 PM
the key thing with the dispatchers around here just stay on their good side. if you piss them off in any way shape or form they will stick it to you hard core. i've found that if you develop a personal friendship with them you trips will go alot easier.

Tåg
12-18-2006, 10:41 PM
the key thing with the dispatchers around here just stay on their good side. if you piss them off in any way shape or form they will stick it to you hard core. i've found that if you develop a personal friendship with them you trips will go alot easier.

Same goes for CMS. It doesnt take much to be nice, but it pays out in kind.

We had a bunch of the new (BLT 10-06) reefers in our yard lastnight headed east. Those are the best cars on the RR to ride with that nice big porch on them.

Jaypee_Logger
12-19-2006, 03:53 PM
funny thing about those reefers. the BNSF says we cant ride on that nice big platform. its still considered riding on the end of a car, which we cant do. its stupid because there is no way in hell you could fall off of that platform. hell, theres even safety chains on the sides. some of the rules they have just dont make sense. for instance, i got caught knocking off hand brakes with a 2x4, i didnt know there was a TM watching me. he said that i had to climb up on each car and release the brakes. so they would rather have some one climb up on icy ladder rungs with icy hand rails and risk falling of and hurting them selves pretty bad. some things just dont make sense.

Tåg
12-20-2006, 02:47 PM
We had a guy from PFE at Brooklyn yesterday inspecting some reefers we had there. Turns out this whole program is a PFE deal. (I didnt even know they were still around. He was saying this new thing is really working out well and they are building a new facillity in CA.

J
12-27-2006, 03:23 AM
* * * i got caught knocking off hand brakes with a 2x4, i didnt know there was a TM watching me. he said that i had to climb up on each car and release the brakes. so they would rather have some one climb up on icy ladder rungs with icy hand rails and risk falling of and hurting them selves pretty bad. some things just dont make sense.
Several roads (including Class 1's) use what is called a brake stick. Imagine a hatchet-shaped tool on the end of a telescopic fiberglass pole. You stick the “hatchet” through the rungs of the brake wheel and can apply and loosen from the ground without getting in the foul. I understand it works even when you have a tight wheel or want to set one as you can use the tool to hammer on the spokes of the brake wheel. I looked on the internet and couldn't find much - I'll see if what else I can find out about them.

Tåg
12-27-2006, 08:11 AM
Several roads (including Class 1's) use what is called a brake stick. Imagine a hatchet-shaped tool on the end of a telescopic fiberglass pole. You stick the “hatchet” through the rungs of the brake wheel and can apply and loosen from the ground without getting in the foul. I understand it works even when you have a tight wheel or want to set one as you can use the tool to hammer on the spokes of the brake wheel. I looked on the internet and couldn't find much - I'll see if what else I can find out about them.

And I bet you will see a "knuckle mate" or a "knuckle strap" before you see one of these on a class 1 railroad. I usually just call a crew hauler to bring me Bigfoot or Frankenstein....and MAYBE some ice and water.

Jaypee_Logger
12-28-2006, 04:03 AM
definitely wont wont see one on the BNSF. i got bitched at for knocking off hand brakes with a 2x4. they would rather you climb up on the icy walkways with the icy ladder rungs and take the brake off. for a railroad that is so concerned with safety this doesn't make sense.

jaanfo
12-29-2006, 10:34 AM
For attachments you open a response window and scroll down to beneath the "Reply to Thread" window where you see the "Additional Options" window and click the "Manage Attachments" Button.

That will open a new browser with all the upload options. When you've uploaded the photo just close the upload browser and submit your reply.

As far as drama unfolding ahead, I was once on a late night Coaster (when they still existed) running southbound and we could hear fifteen minutes ahead of us two freight trains meet at a siding that apparently neither one fit in. That was an interesting night, sat at a red signal for over an hour before the DS asked us to render assistance, then the fun REALLY got started.

Tåg
01-01-2007, 07:54 AM
definitely wont wont see one on the BNSF. i got bitched at for knocking off hand brakes with a 2x4. they would rather you climb up on the icy walkways with the icy ladder rungs and take the brake off. for a railroad that is so concerned with safety this doesn't make sense.

I have yet to see anything on the railroad that makes sense.

jaanfo
01-02-2007, 08:04 AM
I have yet to see anything on the railroad that makes sense.


Amen to that!

medic_pilot
01-02-2007, 07:56 PM
So after this train is unloaded on the East coast, does it return empty or are there products coming back on the westbound trip?