Trailer Talk

Risky Maneuver Breaks a Two-Rig Blockade

Senior Contributing Editor Tom Berg looks at something that gets his goat.

The "mad" trucker's horn and flashing lights got no results, so he made a bold but risky maneuver.

There is little more annoying than two big rigs driving side by side for miles on a freeway or Interstate road, keeping faster-moving cars from passing and oblivious to traffic building up behind them. Blog from Senior Contributing Editor Tom Berg. READ MORE

Tags: Drivers, Driver Safety, Driver Behavior, Trailers, Safety

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2018 8:41 AM | » Comments(4)

In L.A. Beware of Baxter Street's 32% Grade!

Senior Contributing Editor Tom Berg looks up and down what's said to be one of the steepest streets in Los Angeles and the USA.

Rental truck got over the apex. Its driver, like others new to Baxter Street, must've been surprised by the series of hills.

The grade's apex is unnerving, and can hang up long vehicles, like trucks and semis. Residents want Waze, which has directed traffic in this direction, to wave off this route. READ MORE

Tags: Driver Training, Trailers, Driver Safety, Routing

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, April 8, 2018 10:44 PM | » Comments(1)

Special Trailer Delivers Milwaukee's First New Trolley

The large, heavy load this week brought back memories. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Police and pilot cars escort the rig carrying the first car for Milwaukee's new light-rail system to its drop-off point on March 26. Images: screen captures from Fox6 News-Milwaukee video.

The carrier's name -- Silk Road – is taken from the ancient Eurasian trade routes. It specializes in delivering transit equipment and has trailers set up to handle trolleys like this. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Wisconsin

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, March 28, 2018 12:31 PM | » Comments(0)

Sometimes Trailers Can Be Taxed Twice

New trailers that are resold within six months are subject to the Federal Excise Tax. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

The 12% Federal Excise Tax on new heavy trailers may be added twice if a vehicle is bought and sold within six months. Photo: Tom Berg

Let's say you resell a near-new trailer and charge the tax. The buyer complains that it's a used trailer. What do you say -- life's not fair? READ MORE

Tags: Taxes, Trailers, Federal Excise Tax, Taxation, NTEA

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, March 21, 2018 9:47 AM | » Comments(1)

WisDOT Ponders Using I-94 Shoulders for Autonomous Trucks

Shouldn't self-driving trucks properly test their equipment by mingling with normal traffic in regular lanes? Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

After the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad shut down in 1963, its abandoned right-of-way was considered as a haul route for tractor-trailers. The idea didn't fly. Image: Milwaukee Electric Railway

Should freeway shoulders be set aside to run autonomous trucks? Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation is considering doing exactly that along a portion of Interstate 94 to support the carrying of machinery to a new factory south of Milwaukee. Tom Berg has more in the Trailer Talk blog. (Because autonomous trucks do pull trailers...) READ MORE

Tags: Wisconsin, Trailers, Interstate 94, Autonomous Vehicles

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, March 12, 2018 7:57 AM | » Comments(1)

Low Bridge Ahead! Some Drivers See It, Others Don't

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

A 12' 7" railroad bridge on the west side of Delaware, Ohio, has been hit by 13 trucks in the last two years. The city is readying a laser-activated solution. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Distracted Driving, Safety

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, February 28, 2018 12:50 PM | » Comments(4)

A Dangerous Close-up of a Piggyback Trailer

Blog Commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

This clean Walmart piggyback van seemed a good place to rest while riding the rails in Kansas for RanOutOnARail, who shot this video. Screen captures from RanOutOnARail via YouTube.com

Train hopping is dangerous – always dangerous – veterans of the pastime say. In his Trailer Talk blog, Tom Berg, from the safety of watching via YouTube, shares one train hopper's experience as he gets up close and personal to a piggyback trailer. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Railroads, Piggybacking, Intermodal, Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, February 20, 2018 7:02 AM | » Comments(5)

Book On Trailer Manufacturing History Recalls Personal Stories

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

An article in ATHS's Wheels of Time summarizes the book content during the first 50 years of trailer manufacturing.

U-boat attacks on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts early in World War II forced hauling of petroleum by truck, the interesting volume says. READ MORE

Tags: History, Tankers, Trucking History

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, February 9, 2018 12:44 PM | » Comments(0)

'Thin Blue Line' Trailer Honors a Fallen Police Officer

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Blue stripe across a mourning version of the American flag honors fallen police officers. This one is for Officer Jaimie Cox of the Rockford, Ill., P.D. Photo: Meiborg Inc.

The somber black van commemorates Officer Jaimie Cox, who previously worked for the trucking company, Meiborg Inc. READ MORE

Tags: Vans, Cargo Vans, Vehicle Graphics, Police, Memorials

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:15 AM | » Comments(0)

Growth in Piggyback Includes Short Trailers

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Double-stacked domestic containers make intermodal trains exceptionally productive, but the boxes aren't good for all shipments. Image: A-Train via YouTube

Pups are less efficient than long trailers, but are when the 28-footers are loaded for certain destinations and their parcels avoid multiple handling en route. . . READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Piggybacking, Intermodal, Efficiency, Productivity, Railroads

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, January 18, 2018 7:47 AM | » Comments(0)

Roof Rake-Like Snow Scraper Solves a Dangerous Problem

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Garden mulch substitutes for snow in this dry-weather demonstration of the long-hhandled scraper. It seems to work. Photo: Mazen Shteiwi

Several northern states have laws requiring snow and ice to be removed from trucks and cars. But decreeing it is easier than doing it; automated devices aren't always where a snow-covered semi is. Tom Berg highlights one handheld alternative in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Snow Removal, Safety

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Saturday, January 6, 2018 6:25 AM | » Comments(0)

Heavy Hauls Follow Tragic Train Wreck Near Tacoma

Blog news and commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Siemens diesel-electric locomotive was lifted from southbound lanes of I-5 and placed aboard a huge double-drop transporter. Rescuers spray paainted code letters after they searched the cab. Screen capture from YouTube.com, Puget Sound Rail Productions.

Permitted weight of the locomotive move was 585,000 pounds, said the CEO of Oxbo Inc., which hauled away the battered engine. READ MORE

Tags: Heavy Haul, Dropdeck Trailers, Flatbed Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, December 28, 2017 7:10 PM | » Comments(0)

Truck and Trailer Side Guards Being Pushed and Sold

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Seattle DOT's concrete mixer truck has a Walker Blocker side guard to close the gap ahead of the rear tandem's wheels.

Side guards add weight and cost, and might never come into play in months and years of service. One could say the same about most safety equipment - but accidents do happen. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor READ MORE

Tags: Fatal Accidents, Underride Guard, Safety, Truck Side Guards, Side Guards

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, December 21, 2017 1:36 PM | » Comments(1)

A Rolling Tarp Might Have Worked for an O-O's Special Load

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Rolling tarps retract either forward or aft to allow a flatbed to be loaded normally. Then, when rolled back and locked, the cargo is protected as though it were in a van. Photos: Tom Berg

Chameleon Innovations' literature says the firm offers inside widths of up to 104.4 inches and heights of up to 144 inches, plus custom dimensions to suit a customer’s operations. READ MORE

Tags: Flatbeds, Tarping, Flatbed Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, December 14, 2017 11:28 PM | » Comments(1)

Thoughts From Staring at Semis' Rear Doors

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Stainless or galvanized steel will make that trailer last longer. So will extra door locking rods, which stiffen a van's structure. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Snow, Image, LED Lighting, Vehicle Cleaning

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Saturday, December 9, 2017 9:11 AM | » Comments(1)

Special Vans Haul Horses from the Fairgrounds

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

“If a trailer’s not full, they make it full” with tack and other items needed where the horses are going. In this case, it’s to winter quarters in central Florida, more than 900 miles away.

For horse trailers, corrosion resistance is important because of urine. Strength is, too, so trailer structures don’t twist on rough ground and its doors can freely open. Learn more in Tom Berg's Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Vans, Trailers, Specialty Vehicles

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:57 PM | » Comments(1)

Mack Museum Displays Fancy Fruehauf Van

News and Commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Mack LTF leads a Fruehauf insulated van at the Mack Trucks Historical Museum in Allentown, Pa. Both vehicles were built in 1950. Glossy paint, chrome trim and whitewall tires make the old Mack look better than new. Photos: Tom Berg

The 32-foot insulated van, built in 1950 like its companion Mack LFT tractor, “has all the interior and floor required to make it a refrigerated trailer by adding a cooling unit,” an informational placard says. READ MORE

Tags: Mack Trucks, Museums, Trucking History, Fruehauf

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 21, 2017 10:44 PM | » Comments(0)

Talbert Celebrates Removable Gooseneck’s 70th Anniversary

News and blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Present-day gooseneck low-bed trailer is one of many heavy-haul products made by today’s Talbert Manufacturing, now in Rensselaer, Indiana.

The mechanical gooseneck revolutionized equipment loading by eliminating the need to drive machinery up and over the trailer tires, says Talbert. Tom Berg has more in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Gooseneck, Heavy-haul trailers, Lowboy Trailers, Trailers, History, Trucking History

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:37 AM | » Comments(0)

End Dump Plays the Middle Man in Grain Transfer Operation

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Soybeans move from Killbros field cart (right) into East end dump and then into a silo for storage. Photos: Tom Berg

A big two-wheel field cart has brought beans directly to a silo but needed the semi to dump them into an auger. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Dump Trailers, Military Trucks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, November 8, 2017 6:40 AM | » Comments(0)

No CDL Needed to Operate This Trailer Spotter

Compact walk-behind machine slips under a trailer's nose, lifts it, and pulls it away. Optional air system hooks up to brakes to release them. Photos: Screen capture from DJ Products video

TrailerCaddy is battery-electric powered and can move empty and loaded semitrailers weighing up to 70,000 pounds, its maker says. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor. READ MORE

Tags: Battery-Electric Vehicles, Terminal Tractors, Yard Trucks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, October 30, 2017 2:55 PM | » Comments(0)

You Don't See a Sperry Truck Every Day

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Sperry Rail Services truck with specialized body and equipment is parked outside a Kroger grocery store in Delaware, Ohio. Maybe its crew was inside buying vittles. Sperry operates nationwide.  Photo: Tom Berg

Sperry's specially equipped vehicles scoot along railroad tracks testing for imperfections that could cause derailments. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor READ MORE

Tags: Railroads, Special Specs, Special Service Vehicles, Specialty Vehicles

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 24, 2017 12:01 PM | » Comments(0)

Intellipark Takes the Sting Out of Parking Brake Valves

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Bendix's Intellipark has two blade type switches wired to servos that operate the air valves behind the dash. Sensors on the seat and door tell the system to apply the brakes if the driver doesn't before leaving the cab.

Intellipark can help prevent rollaway incidents and allows for other functions, Bendix says of its upcoming electronic application system. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor. READ MORE

Tags: Bendix, Truck Parking, Air Brakes, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Safety

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, October 16, 2017 11:49 AM | » Comments(0)

Interesting Equipment at the New Atlanta Show

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Floor, front wall and hoist well of the Godwin dump are formed of abrasion-resistant Hardox 450 steel. Sidewalls and most structural members are of aluminum.

Whether or not North America needed another truck show, based on attendance and quality of exhibitors, the new NACV is likely to have a real future. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Flatbed Trailers, Lowboy Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, October 6, 2017 3:30 PM | » Comments(0)

This Fleet Promotes Good Causes with Vinyl Graphics

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Finding a cure for breast cancer is one of the causes promoted by Mike Culbertson's materials-hauling rigs. Vantage end-dump displays a pink ribbon and Kenworth T680 tractor wears the special pink hue.  Photos: Tom Berg

Vinyl wraps are common on van trailers, but not on workaday end-dumps as operated by Mike Culbertson in central Ohio. READ MORE

Tags: Charity, Dump Trucks, Dump Trailers, Vehicle Graphics, Trailers, Image

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, September 29, 2017 11:06 AM | » Comments(0)

Wheels Bring 'Thrills' to the Delaware County Fair

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Large electric power generator is housed in a van trailer that's pulled from fair to fair by a late-'90s Volvo tractor that looks new. Gray box contains a transformer.

Youthful riders are unaware that their gut-churning rides are mounted on special trailer chassis. Tom Berg reflects in a visit to the fair in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Specialty Vehicles, Safety, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:30 AM | » Comments(0)

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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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