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Rail News: Mechanical

TTX adds, modifies cars to keep up with railroads' rising equipment demands


With the fall peak just a few months away, TTX Co. has been readying its fleet and adding maintenance workers to meet railroads' equipment demand, which already has reached unprecedented levels throughout the year.

This year, TTX plans to take delivery of about $600 million worth of flat cars — a company record, said President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Reardon in a letter posted on the company's Web site July 19.

TTX is extending five-unit spine cars' platform length from 48 feet to 53 feet because of the domestic intermodal industry's migration from 48- to 53-foot containers and growth of 53-foot private trailers. The company also is transforming 48-foot well cars into 40-foot well cars to improve on-dock loading efficiency and enable railroads to move more international containers in any given train length.

In addition, TTX is modifying tri-level autorack cars to accommodate bi-level racks because consumer demand has shifted from smaller automobiles — which were transported on tri-level cars — to larger sports utility vehicles.

"This change will be totally transparent to the rail carriers, automotive manufacturers and distributors, as the car will conform in all respects to the standard bi-level requirements," said Reardon.

TTX also plans to modify 800 89-foot cars to carry new Class 8 highway tractors and other large loads, including recreational vehicles.

"It has become well established over the past several decades that pooled rail cars save the railroad industry substantial capital," said Reardon. "Clearly, re-deployed, pooled assets save even more capital."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/23/2004