Trailer Talk

Right Place, Right Railroads Help ‘Cool’ Intermodal Shipments

Sometimes intermodal shipping works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Photo courtesy Tiger Cool Express

Senior Editor Tom Berg explores why one intermodal refrigerated operation is expanding, in contrast to another that is suing railroads in blame for its demise, in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Railroads, Intermodal, Drayage, Tiger Cool Express

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 20, 2015 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Founders of Failed ‘Cold Train’ Blame BNSF Railway, Sue for $41 Million

Cold Train containers being handled at the Port of Quincy's BNSF intermodal rail line. Photo courtesy Port of Quincy.

Claims made by Cold Train founders in their $41 million suit, announced on Tuesday, illustrate how the railroads, like truckers, can’t handle all the business being thrown at them. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Lawsuits, Intermodal, Reefers, BNSF

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, April 7, 2015 4:46 PM | » Comments(0)

Price and Weight Comparisons: Steel, Combo and Aluminum

Manac offered a quick look at the three trailer types in its booth at MATS.

Photo: Tom Berg

Different buyers have different considerations, which is why trailer manufacturers offer the three different types. Manac offered a quick look at the three trailer types in its booth at MATS. READ MORE

Tags: Manac Inc., Trailers, Aluminum

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 31, 2015 11:09 AM | » Comments(0)

Refiners Buy Tankers to Ensure Supplies of Better Crude Oil

Photo via Vantage Trailers

Refiners are buying trucks to fetch more desirable crude oil than what they’re getting through pipelines. READ MORE

Tags: OIl, Trailers, FTR, Tankers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:48 AM | » Comments(0)

Why Safe Coupling Procedures Matter

Four people died when their car ran into a semitrailer sitting on a busy highway. How'd it happen?

For a better chance at properly hitching the fifth wheel onto the kingpin, hook up and charge the air hoses, then set the trailer’s brakes before backing onto it.  Photo courtesy of Con-way

It could've been driver error, mechanical failure or both, and we won't know for a while. But it sure matters. READ MORE

Tags: Safety, Trailers, Fatal Accidents, Driver Safety Tips

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 17, 2015 12:51 PM | » Comments(2)

SmartWay Elite Level Even More Efficient, Says EPA

Better aero fairings must save at least 9% in fuel to get the new designation

What does the new "Elite" level of fuel-saving devices offered by the EPA SmartWay program mean? Senior Editor Tom Berg explores the topic in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: SmartWay, EPA, Aerodynamics, Fuel Efficiency, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, March 12, 2015 1:20 PM | » Comments(0)

Edge Fairings Gain SmartWay Elite Status

Elite means a set of equipment will save at least 9% in fuel at highway speeds – nothing to blow off with a shrug.

Photo via Transtex

The Tail resembles the Trailer Tail from ATDynamics, but seems unique in that its panels automatically deploy when the rig reaches about 45 mph, then fold up as it slows down. READ MORE

Tags: EPA SmartWay, Trailers, Fuel Economy, Aerodynamics, Transtex Edge

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 3, 2015 8:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Blinding Snow Turns a Trailer into a Tow Truck

A trucker unwittingly takes a minivan for the ride of its life.

A minivan plowed into the rear of a semi on I-75 in northern Michigan, and got dragged along for miles by the rig because its driver was totally unaware that he had something hanging on. READ MORE

Tags: Winter Driving, Safety, Trailers, rear-end collisions, Rear Impact Guards

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, February 19, 2015 5:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Near High Street in Hicksville, Ohio, is a Really LOW Overpass

Follow the Truck Route or you'll be in trouble.

Here's one warning, but there's a way around it for a driver pulling a tall van trailer.

Sometimes, following the truck route is the only way to stay safe, as Senior Editor Tom Berg finds when he travels through a small town in Ohio. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, February 10, 2015 6:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Metal Coils Snuggle Safely into Cradles on This Specialized Trailer

The heavy loads can't roll off because they're automatically blocked aboard.

Rubber-lined well accommodates big, heavy metal coils, which are usually strapped down. Sliding shelter covers the load.

Most truckers who haul heavy rolls of steel and other metals use flatbeds, but there’s a safer way, in the opinion of those who use Transcraft Coil Haulers. Tom Berg has more in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Cargo Securement, Flatbed Trailers, Transcraft Trailers, Special Specs, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, January 30, 2015 1:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Out-of-Control Doubles Make Spectacular Video

On black ice, all the anti-lock braking systems in the western world can't do much to control a multi-trailer combination.

The truck had gone over the divider by this point coming to rest, only moments before being struck from behind.

This video is so graphic that parts of it, shot by a motorist along the New Jersey Turnpike, were picked up by ABC and CBS in their evening newscasts one day last week. Thankfully, no one was hurt. READ MORE

Tags: Safety, Fleet Safety, Double-trailers, Black Ice

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, January 26, 2015 1:47 PM | » Comments(2)

This Trailer’s Smoking Brake Was a Nose Full

Can't he see that smoke? Can't he feel the trailer dragging against his tractor? Apparently not.

Brake smoke from this trailer's tandem is too faint to be seen by the camera. But if it had a nose it would've squaked. Photo: Tom Berg

Senior Editor Tom Berg tries to warn a driver of a burning brake, but without success. Moral: Check the equipment you're driving. READ MORE

Tags: Brakes, Truck Drivers, Vehicle Inspection

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, January 14, 2015 4:23 PM | » Comments(0)

Why Can't Those 3 Upper ID Lights Be Mounted Low?

They'd be safer to reach for repairs, but they're up there for some good reasons.

On the move, they're still visible -- and more artsy. Photo by Jim Park

The three identification lights at the top-rear of the trailer, mounted around the center line of the vehicle, are to alert following drivers that the vehicle equipped with these lights is wider than 80 inches. READ MORE

Tags: Regulations, Safety, Trailers, Lighting

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, January 8, 2015 1:15 PM | » Comments(0)

Hess Toy Trucks Awaken Positive Memories

Since 1964 the gas stations have sold Hess Toy Trucks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so this year is the 50th anniversary of the tradition.

Michael Roberto and a Hess Toy Truck -- a tanker.

Since 1964 Hess has sold Toy Trucks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so this year is the 50th anniversary of the tradition. Since Hess is closing its filling stations in a few months the 2014 truck will be the last that can be bought in person. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Tankers, Toy Trucks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 1:00 AM | » Comments(0)

A. Duie Pyle Bolsters Fleet of Heated, Insulated Vans for Winter

Pyle has added 80 of the special trailers, augmenting its existing pool of more than 400 such units. Most are 48-by-102s for road and city service.

Great Dane built Pyle's latest heated and insulated vans, like the one shown here in warmer days.

Some carriers turn away temperature-sensitive freight during cold snaps. But Pyle has equipment and facilities to handle it, and the business has grown. READ MORE

Tags: Great Dane, Wabash National, Heaters, Insulated van, Vans, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2014 5:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Steel Springs, White Color Among Penske’s Trailer Specs

Not that many cargoes need the protection of air springs, fleets have found.

Penske encourages customers to do a decal wrap rather than colored paint, because white trailers are easier to sell to a second owner.

White sidewalls and doors can bring thousands of dollars more than a custom color at resale time. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Vehicle Color, Suspensions, Color Choices, Trailer Suspensions, Penske

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, December 3, 2014 6:00 AM | » Comments(0)

It's Snowing, Folks. Slow Down!

High speed plus slippery pavement equals a big crash, all caught on video.

Watch this video and see if you'd have driven into the situation differently. READ MORE

Tags: Accidents, Driving Safety, Snow, Preventable Accidents

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, November 12, 2014 12:43 PM | » Comments(0)

Clever Commercial Celebrating a Boy’s Imagination Includes a Tractor-Trailer

Senior Editor Tom Berg watches the drama and has his imagination provoked, too!

The family comes upon a big rig transporting what looks like a tug or fishing boat, strapped to a special trailer. The little boy looks up at the boat and sees a three-masted schooner, foundering and in peril! READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, In the Media

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, October 31, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

High-Cube Vans Bolster Fast Carriage of Big, Bulky Items

Low floor adds 600 cubic feet to a van's usual capacity.

Low floor is interrupted by wheel wells and step-up at the trailer's nose. So ZCube trailers don't backhaul.

It's "back to the future" in van trailers for one carrier, explains Tom Berg in his "Trailer Talk" blog. The freight is big, bulky and light, with gross combination weights typically at 45,000 pounds, so the ZCube trailers are pulled by single-rear-axle tractors. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Special Specs, Logistics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Solar Panels Can Avoid Run-Down Batteries from Telematic Signaling

Reefer operators can track load temperatures through telematics, but that eats up electricity from a parked trailer's battery.

Carrier's new Thin-Film Flexible Solar Panels are easily installed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies and refrigerated rail cars chilled by Carrier Transicold or other systems. Photo: Carrier Transicold

Recent announcements by Carrier Transicold and Thermo King, that they’re offering solar panels as options on many reefer units, jibed nicely with discussions during TMC's Fall Meeting near Orlando, notes Senior Editor Tom Berg in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: TMC, Thermo King, Carrier Transicold, Solar Charging, Solar Panel, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 7, 2014 10:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Rotting Chicken Brings Attention to Abandoned Trailer

What does rotten chicken have to do with missing household goods? Abandoned trailers, says Senior Editor Tom Berg in his latest installment of the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailer Tracking, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 5:00 PM | » Comments(1)

Using Archimedes’ Lever Principle to Help Propel a Tractor-Trailer

Multiplying the tractor's pulling force could reduce required input and save 80% in fuel, this concept's inventor believes.

1. Floating kingpin  2. Linkage arm  3. Carrier bearing assembly  4. Front and rear levers  5. Trailer chassis 6. Tire-wheel assembly  7. Landing gear  8. Suspension  9. Axle  10. Input pivot (top of lever) 11. Fulcrum pivot at axle12. Output pivot at bracket mount

Archimedes, the scholar and mathematician of antiquity, was quoted as saying, “Give me a place to stand and a large enough lever, and I will move the earth.” That’s debatable, but some pretty big and heavy things can be nudged into motion with a lever – and trailers are among them, says an inventor in Ohio. Tom Berg has the story in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Fuel Economy, Inventions

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, September 19, 2014 5:30 PM | » Comments(0)

75-Ton 9-Axle Lowboy Hauls More, Saves Money for Equipment Dealer

Moving large, heavy machines in one piece avoids the time and work otherwise spent in teardown and reassembly, saving big money.

Trailer includes a 3-axle "jeep" dolly, 3-axle lowboy and 3 flip-down axles. Axles can be removed for lighter-weight loads.

Bill Miller Equipment needed a trailer of higher capacity, with axle configurations and versatility to haul it through numerous states. Talbert built one. Tom Berg has the story in his "Trailer Talk" blog. READ MORE

Tags: Lowbed, Talbert Trailers, Trailers, Heavy Haul

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, September 5, 2014 2:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Here’s to Tequila Patron, Which Made This Trailer Possible

Senior Editor Tom Berg's day is brightened by this clean and colorful van. But what's inside?

Don't the graphics on that clean trailer make you want to sip a bit of Mexican tequila?

“Now why would a trucking company that hauls booze advertise it?” I mumbled. “That’s asking for a hijacking.” Senior Editor Tom Berg investigates in his "Trailer Talk" blog. READ MORE

Tags: Image, Trailers, Specialty Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, August 20, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Liquid Nitrogen – How Cool is That?

Guest post: Toss the diesel and pump in some liquid nitrogen for super-cold cooling.

The Cryometrix CB-40 pollution-free reefer.

Reflect Scientific says a Cryometrix CB-40 transport refrigeration unit made history by delivering its first commercial load of frozen foods using a new pollution-free refrigeration technology. READ MORE

Tags: Cryogenics, Reefers, Transportation Refrigeration Units, Trailers

Author: Rolf Lockwood, Executive Contributing Editor | Posted @ Friday, August 8, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

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Author Bio

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Tom Berg

Senior 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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