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LTL Trucking - My linehaul job

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AJ D.'s Comment
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Glad to hear it's going well :)

6 string rhythm's Comment
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Glad to hear it's going well :)

Thanks buddy! Hope all's well in your neck of the woods. I'll be posting some more stuff about my job and updating this thread over the weekend.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Training Re-Cap: Halfway Through

I'm halfway done. My training period is 4 weeks long. First week was running with a linehaul trainer, second week was with a P&D driver. I like that my company cross trains. Even though I was hired as a linehaul driver, I had to do a mandatory week of training with a city driver doing P&D. I also received my first check. I'll be clearing (that's right, after taxes) over $700 weekly during my training. Plus I'm home every day with two days off a week. I'm loving LTL!

First Week:

My first week was awesome. It was all linehaul training after my first day of more paperwork and H/R stuff. Our linehaul run was a meet and turn with another driver. Running linehaul, I'll either be going from terminal to terminal, or meeting another driver, swapping sets, and going back to my home terminal. Sometimes the meeting place for a meet and turn is at another terminal that is half-way between each driver's origin point, sometimes it is at a truck stop or someplace besides another terminal. Everything is drop and hook - no waiting, no dealing with shippers or receivers. You get paid a set amount each time you drop and/or hook the trailer(s), on top of your mileage pay. We ran my trainer's regular route, which is a 550 mile round trip run, 5 days a week. He gets home every day and has two days off a week. Because I am new and slow (read also, less efficient), it took us about 12 hours a day whereas for him it usually only takes 8-9 hours.

Linehaul runs doubles , so I was taught how to hook up and break down a set of doubles. Hooking a set involves more equipment to be aware of, making sure everything is in working order, plus making sure that there are no air leaks and everything is connected properly.

You can get hurt when using a dolly. You never, ever grab the dolly by the eye when attaching to the pintle hook of the lead trailer - you can crush your fingers / thumb if you're not careful... And you never, ever attempt to unhook the dolly from the lead trailer without first unhooking the tail or second trailer, your hand can get crushed by the weight of the second trailer pushing down on the dolly like a giant see-saw, smashing anything near the eye of the dolly against the first or lead trailer. These two things are probably the most important to be aware of at all times. Then you have the obvious attention to detail required in order to make sure all your lines are properly hooked up, there are no leaks, your safety chain is hooked from your dolly to your lead or first trailer, the pet**** valve is closed on the dolly, the valves are open on the first trailer to charge the system, and closed at the rear trailer to prevent leaks. Again, I plan on doing a step-by-step tutorial on hooking a set of doubles eventually. This was just a quick glimpse ;)

Backing up a dolly or single pup to get your set lined up for connecting is very tricky. A dolly and / or single pup moves MUCH QUICKER than a 53' or 48' trailer! In fact, when backing a dolly, you can use a little trick - your dolly will back in the same direction as your drive axle tires. This is only a tip for short adjustments, and when backing a dolly, you'll often need a lot of short adjustments! Backing the small pup trailers is very tricky too. They respond very quickly, and whether chasing the trailer or doing a straight-line backing maneuver, every little movement on your steering wheel seems to be exaggerated. Again, not like maneuvering a 53' trailer.

I got used to the driving a lot faster than I thought. I'm talking about stamina. I know now that I'd be able to handle running my full 11 hour drive time if I had to, and more than likely, I will have to do that on a daily basis once I go solo. As far as driving a set of doubles, it really wasn't that difficult. You have a much better turning radias than w/ a 48' or 53' trailer.

The three negatives when driving a set of doubles?

1. You don't back a set. You can't. You might be able to move a few feet, but that's about it. You always are searching for a parking spot that lets you pull out. If you get in a bad situation where you have to back, that means you're breaking that set down, and no, you don't get paid for that instance of dropping a setrofl-3.gif

2. If you're not careful, that rear trailer can start to wiggle a bit on you, it takes more attention and focus to control, but it's not that big of a deal - nothing to be afraid of. A dip or bump in the road, a gust of wind, these are some things that can get that back trailer wiggling. Once it starts wiggling, get it under control. But, you don't give it a hard counter steer, that only exasperates the issue. You have to be smooth, and deliberate. I really had no problems with the wiggle waggle, or crack the whip effect. You just need to be aware of the potential dangers / issues. Some drivers don't even wanna mess with doubles because of what I just mentioned, it's not that big of a deal. Another thing to consider is turns, you gotta take em slower.

3. In an emergency braking situation, if you don't use controlled or stab braking (assuming you couldn't steer away from the problem), your two trailers and dolly will jumble up and cause you more problems than just a single trailer.

Next, my 2nd week P&D recap...

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I noticed that the term used for the valve on a dolly was bleeped out, as if I swore.shocked.png

It's technically called a PET-**** valve, maybe that will get through the censor. Yeah, it is a weird term, I'm sure there's a reason for it...

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

ARG! Still censored! Well, the second half of the word rhymes with "lock," and instead of an 'l', it's a 'c.' Guess you can see why it's being censored... Yes, this is in the books, I'm not being provocative. dancing.gif

Mr M's Comment
member avatar

He probably either got on with abf or od and it's not all thay uncommon you just have to be in right place at right time.

And OP those line haul gigs usually have very tight delivery times I wish you the best of luck!

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

He probably either got on with abf or od and it's not all thay uncommon you just have to be in right place at right time.

And OP those line haul gigs usually have very tight delivery times I wish you the best of luck!

Yep, you gotta be respectful when meeting another relay driver for a meet and turn, don't want to keep them waiting. You just have to be in communication with each other should something come up. Any trucking company is going to want you to manage your time well, truckload or LTL. They all want you to do the job as efficiently as possible.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

6 string rhythm Shoot me a PM with the company you are going with. Really curious.

Anyway everything you said is true. I was one of the people that used to say I would never drive doubles ever. Now if I had my choice I will say I hope I never drive a 53' foot again. Absolutely love pulling doubles. Tight truck stops? No problem.

Yeah the parking can be a problem sometimes but it's not to bad. Since we run teams we never stop except to do our 30 breaks and switching out and fuel stops.

We are not allowed to break down the sets at all. ABF does that and it's in our contract only Union can do that so it's all drop and hook for us.

Wait time? There is not any. We pull into a yard. Drop the set. Turn in our paper work. Get new BOL and pickup new set and pre-trip and we are gone again. Maybe an hour total but none of it spent waiting.

I have made it a habit, always did it with 53' van but even more so now, if I left the sight of my truck that before I get back in I check all 8 air connections and both 5th wheels. Not worried about the pintel hook. As long as I don't see a body laying on the ground and the eye in the air I know it was not messed with though I still look at it.

6 string rhythm you are opening up a new job market for us through your postings. Though I love it where I am at right now and would work here as long as they would have me seriously thinking about look at some LTL near the house. Though not sure what is around Little Rock and one reason why I am curious about where you are at.

Did not want to high jack your thread. Only wanted to say that everything that you have posted about doubles is right on the money.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Hey Guy, pm sent. And I don't think you're hijacking my thread at all! I appreciate your contributions and sharing your experience and knowledge. The whole purpose of the thread is to spread the word about LTL , specifically to new drivers, because I know I would've appreciated a thread like this. If the thread is benefiting people then it's served its purpose.

Funny you mentioned about looking over your rig after returning to it. My trainer during my first week drilled this point home, and I'm glad he did. After returning to the rig anytime we were away from it, even in a company terminal , he would remind me to check the pins on both 5th wheels, all the valves and line connections on both trailers, and look at the locks and seals. Every single time. This guy's been driving 20+ years.

The lack of wait time has me spoiled. I'm ruined. I'll be adding to the thread about my week of cross training with city driving doing P&D , and it definitely opened my eyes to how good L/H drivers have it! During my 2nd week of training w/ P&D, we would go to a lot of places where there were truckload and other LTL company trucks docked at the warehouse. Now my longest wait time to get loaded was 45 minutes, and we did have two stops where we unloaded our own freight which took a few hours w/ a 53' trailer, but I could imagine that it would be similar w/ an OTR gig, except without hitting as many docks in one day or handling freight as much. Being a L/H driver all I gotta do is drive and drop and hook. Love it.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

(Training Re-Cap: Halfway Through) cont.

Second Week:

Even though I was hired as a linehaul driver, my company has mandatory cross training, so my second week was spent with a trainer for P&D. This week and the following, my last two weeks, will be back with L/H.

I was glad that I got a taste of what P&D is like. I actually enjoyed driving in the city. We pulled a good mix of 48' and 53' trailers, and then actually on one day we did pull a set of doubles for a special occasion. The tight quarters and required maneuvering was actually fun, because it was challenging. I got a lot of experience bumping docks in that one week! The least enjoyable experience of my week of P&D was the waiting at shippers / receivers, seeing all the paperwork involved (and each shipper / receiver has certain things they want done their way), the time spent unloading and not actually driving, and trying to figure out where some of these locations were. My trainer has been with the company about 10 years, being a city driver the whole time, so he did know his way around. But I was trying to imagine what it would be like as a new city driver, having to figure out where all the places are, while maintaining a schedule, and then figuring out all the paperwork - honestly I think a P&D driver should be on top of the payscale within the trucking world! It was a great experience to visit all the warehouses and have a small glimpse into the industry, but man did I get tired of stopping and starting, stopping and starting.

What I learned from my week of P&D is that it's not for me. smile.gif If the only job available to me in LTL was being a city driver, I'd go OTR. Again, I enjoyed the challenge of maneuvering and backing in tight quarters, but the stopping and starting really drove me nutty. I want to drive.

I don't know why there's a lot of guys that would rather go city than L/H, but there's a job for everyone I guess. My P&D trainer would never want to go L/H - he actually started his LTL career in L/H w/ another company, and it wasn't for him. I heard a lot of city drivers talking about how they don't like to drive long distances, that they got bored and tired. Personally, being a L/H driver is the ultimate trucking job - for me. And it just so happens that it is probably the best paying company driver trucking job available in the industry, i.e. being a L/H driver. The money is of secondary importance to me, but then again if I'm gonna be away from my family, I'd like to make the most amount of money that I can! Maybe a lot of city drivers like P&D because they have day jobs and are home every day, but eventually I'll have that w/ L/H too once a day run opens up.

I think that wraps up my P&D experience.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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