Trailer Talk

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(0)

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, Horse Hauling

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:57 PM | » Comments(0)

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, Talbert Manufacturing, 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, Farm Equipment

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, Truck Shows, NACV Show

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: Dump Trucks, Dump Trailers, Vehicle Graphics, Truck Graphics, Charity, 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)

Vehicles in Floodwater? Bendix Offers Servicing Tips

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Depending on water depth and time submerged, a truck or trailer might or might not be fit for service again.  Affected components must be dried out and inspected. Image: Screen capture from ABC News

If heavy trucks and trailers have been in relatively shallow water and circuitry and on-board computers are not damaged, they might still be serviceable. Not right away, though. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance, Flooding, Air Brakes, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, September 13, 2017 11:01 AM | » Comments(1)

Harvey Was One Thing, But Irma's Getting Personal

Blog Commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Gasoline tankers are getting police escorts, like this one in Miami. Florida's governor has asked surrounding states to ease weight and driving-hour restrictions for tankers. Screen capture from ABC News

This monster has a female name but is no lady, what with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of more than 200. I've got relatives and friends in her path, and that's really scary, says Tom Berg in his Trailer Talk Blog. READ MORE

Tags: Tankers, Storm Response, Safety, Hurricane Irma, Gasoline Tankers, Hurricane Harvey

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, September 7, 2017 11:08 PM | » Comments(0)

'High-Water Vehicles' Take Many Forms in Harvey Rescue Work

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Most civilian trucks, including this tractor that seems to be hitched to a drop-deck trailer, could not cope with Harvey's deep waters. As winds subsided, air boats joined outboard-motor-powered craft and helicopters in rescue efforts. Image: Screen capture, ABC News

Trucks perform vital work, but explosions at a chemical plant near Houston involved refrigerated trailers that stored temperature-sensitive compounds. Tom Berg also explores some of the various vehicles, including trailers, being used in relief efforts in this Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Military Trucks, Hurricane Harvey, Natural Disaster, Disaster Relief

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 31, 2017 7:11 AM | » Comments(0)

Thin-Walled Fuel Tanks Feed Another Fiery Truck Wreck

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Tractor hits the barrier and begins a violent dismantling. Driver of the small white van really got an eyeful.

One news anchor thought it was a "tanker explosion." But the trailer was a lowboy, and the fire was fed only by the tractor's saddle tanks. READ MORE

Tags: Accidents, Fuel Tanks, Safety, Fiery Wrecks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, August 21, 2017 12:13 PM | » Comments(3)

‘Oh, Shift!’ What Slamming On The Brakes Will Do

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Stack of steel members slipped forward and rammed the tractor's sleeper. It could've been worse. Images: Tom Berg, from YouTube

What do you do when the load on the trailer shifts, ramming your sleeper just behind you? Thank the Lord that the stack of steel didn’t stab you in the back. Then call for a wrecker. Tom Berg muses on the topic in his latest Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Flatbeds, Safety, Load Securement, Wreckers, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:54 PM | » Comments(1)

Quick Feet Help in Parking Trailers with this Machine

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

The Dutch device can move a trailer weighing up to 20 tons, according to the company's website.

V-Move Electrotrekker is a walk-behind (and -ahead) device from Verhagen Leiden, an outfit in Holland. It's electric powered and runs on 36 volts. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Terminal Tractors

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 3, 2017 5:49 PM | » Comments(0)

10 Die in Trailer in Latest Human Trafficking Incident

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Border Patrol agent uses a laser thermometer to read the temperature near the trailer's ceiling. It registered 143.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

It might have been 130 degrees or more inside that trailer. How long can anyone stand that? It’s amazing anyone survived. READ MORE

Tags: Reefers, Human Trafficking

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:15 AM | » Comments(7)

Truck Washing's a Growing Business, Especially at This Company

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Custom-bodied Class 6 trucks are heavy enough to carry water and equipment, but don't require CDLs to operate.

Fleet Clean USA CEO Scott Marr, now 27, ran a part-time washing business and realized that he made more money washing trucks than working at a bank. Learn more in Tom Berg's Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Fleet Management, Maintenance Management, Truck Washing

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, July 20, 2017 3:13 AM | » Comments(0)

Old Dominion's Baseball Trailer Promotes Series Sweepstakes

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Trailer was vinyl wrapped for the trip to Miami and the All Star Game. Wraps came off at Marlins Park. Tractor is a Freightliner New Cascadia.

A special Duraplate van has heavy plexiglass panels to reveal its sporty load. Guess the number of baseballs and win World Series tickets. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor READ MORE

Tags: Equipment, Old Dominion Freight Line, Wabash National

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, July 11, 2017 3:00 AM | » Comments(40)

Be a Virtual American Trucker with New Game from Germany

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Images via astragon Entertainment

TransRoad: USA, Trucks and Trailers, puts players in the executive seat of a virtual trucking company, starting by choosing virtually appropriate equipment for a virtual haul. READ MORE

Tags: Games, Trucking

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, July 7, 2017 7:49 AM | » Comments(1)

Film Promotes Pennsylvania RR's TrucTrain Service in the 1950s

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

The guy on the running board is there strictly for the camera, because drivers in piggyback terminals were very good at backing trailers onto flatcars. Photo: Pennsylvania Railroad/Classic Trains

Trucking is called "a great industry," and footage shows how many trailers were traveling by rail instead of on crowded highways. That's still a good idea. READ MORE

Tags: Piggybacking, Intermodal, Driver Shortage

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 23, 2017 6:14 AM | » Comments(0)

'Bomb Carts' Haul Containers at Busy Port of Charleston

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

TICO terminal tractor and shuttle chassis carry off a pair of 20-foot ocean-going containers. The trailer can also carry  a single 20- and a single 40-foot "box." Photo: Tom Berg

A Pro-Shuttle has a floor of stout steel beams with short, slanted sides that guide a container into place as the gantry crane lowers it. For the short trips within the port, containers are not tied down. Tom Berg has more in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Ports, Containers, Port Trucking, Container Chassis, TICO, Intermodal

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 16, 2017 1:22 PM | » Comments(1)

Smithco's Side-Dumper Is Strictly for Off-Road Running

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Really big rig pauses while Western Star dealers and customers listen to presenters at the Michelin Proving grounds in South Carolina. Photos: Tom Berg

While pulling the Smithco tipper, a Western Star 6900XD acted as a tractor, but it’s really a straight truck fitted with a fifth-wheel kit. This is part of Carco Industries' MBT-40 Multi-Body Transformer system. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor. READ MORE

Tags: Western Star, Palfinger, Extreme Duty Trucks, Smithco

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 9, 2017 8:36 AM | » Comments(0)

Bicyclists Were Original Advocates for Good Roads

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Rutted dirt was the rule on rural roads, like this one in Arizona. Rains made them muddy quagmires. Tall wheels with narrow tires worked well in these conditions. Photos: America on the Move

Motorists and truckers can thank touring "wheelmen" and isolated farmers for together pressuring lawmakers to improve primitive dirt byways, notes Tom Berg in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Infrastructure, Highway Trust Fund, Highways, Infrastructure Funding

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 2, 2017 7:45 AM | » Comments(1)

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Author Bio

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Tom Berg

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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