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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Rail-car conversions to boost WC's carrying capacity, reliability

Wisconsin Central Ltd. believes one is better than two — at least when it comes to moving pulpwood.

The 2,926-mile regional plans to soon launch a fleet of 75 Mega Log Haulers, which are high-capacity pulpwood cars created by permanently coupling two 50-foot bulkhead flat cars, removing interior bulkheads, adding side stakes and building a shelf over drawbars.

The cars are designed to increase the payload 32 percent — up to 16 chords — enabling greater capacity and faster loading.

"The cars are oriented toward a short-haul, very truck-competitive market," said Vince Greco, WC assistant vice president of marketing, in the railroad's September newsletter, adding that the cars would be used at high-volume sites that originate 75 percent to 80 percent of WC's pulpwood traffic.

Meanwhile, WC recently finished equipping 500 ore cars with roller bearings, completing a program the regional began in February to make the cars more reliable. WC's mechanical crews repainted the cars and thoroughly inspected car bodies, safety appliances and running gear.

WC also is repairing and soon will return to paper service 80 100-ton, 50-foot box cars: "Our customers simply wore them out, which is great," said WC Vice President Mechanical Bob Nadrowski.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/20/2001