Intermodal

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Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

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BTW, is that new picture really you or did you cut that out of a fashion magazine?????

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Hmmm thanks i think. Either it looks too good to look like me . or i normally look bad so it isnt me. lol

Rainy, sorry if I wasn't clear. It does look like you and it's a beautiful photo. A definite WOW!

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

Hahah .. i was teasing. thanks ;)

And yeah think about what G Town said. Those trailers get lifted then hit the ground. its not just the point of contact causing pressure, but gravity pulling the undercarriage downwards.

Ours have dual tires, and to me they just seem old and rickety compared to the super singles. Its probably a mental thing with me. My V6 Mustang had narrow tires and slid all over, the V8 GT had big wide tires and never slid at all. Pulling the intermodal trailers in Chicago during the winter, I slid a bit. It was probably me being new, but in my head, ut was the tires lol. Therefore I feel safer with wider tires although many drivers hate super singles.

Super Singles:

A single, wide wheel substituted for a tandem (two wheel) assembly. The main benefit of a super single is a reduction in weight and lower rolling resistance which provide better fuel economy. The disadvantage is the lack of tire redundancy (or a 'backup tire' in case of a blowout) from which tandem wheels benefit. A tire blowout is more dangerous with a super single and can not be driven on.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

I don't see much on TT about Intermodal , and frankly, I don't know much about it. When I get back to driving, is there any advantage of intermodal over dry van? Does a driver have to live in proximity to a rail yard to do intermodal? In general, I'd just like to know more about the pros and cons.

Occasionally I'll get tasked to pickup intermodal. Don't mind it at all. The rail yard has a vested interest in getting you out so any mechanical problems are dealt with quickly. Because of the distance involved I can do two turns in 10 hours, sometimes a little less, which works out to be about $300 being paid by the hour.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

I have been running intermodal , regularly, for the past few years in Chicago area and haul loads OTR Regional Midwest ( Chi rail to UP Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois Quad Cities destinations or origin point to Chi rail mostly) My observations:

1) Pool chassis', as G-Town and Rainy have already said, really are the worst. If you can find one that has all of the lights, FHSA sticker up to date, and tires that are fully inflated and have 2/32" or more of tread all the way around without flat spots or dry rot, the brakes will probably be sorely out of adjustment. Find a carrier that owns or leases their chassis', and self maintains. You'll have much less down time, not to mention the ingate will be faster most places since you won't have to have the chassis inspected on the way in.

2) Carrying a couple extra lamp assy's and glad hand seals is a good way to save yourself time. There have been days I have sat in the Quick Repair Lane for over an hour waiting for the dozen or so trucks in front of me to get their "quick" repairs done (usually tire issues - I replace burnt out lamps myself). If the mechanic at quick lane doesn't feel like fixing the chassis with a loaded container on it, you'll be told to take it to the lift line, have the container pulled off the offending chassis, take the bad order unit to the repair drop area, then you have to hunt thru to find a good order chassis to pick your container up. VERY time consuming. These quickly turn into 3+ hour visits.

3) Stops / miles or pay by load is not the best way to consistently make good money in Intermodal. Find a carrier that pays hourly. Several of the busier Chicago IM yards are notorious for lengthy delays - BNSF Logistics Park, NS Landers, BNSF Cicero to name a couple. CN Harvey is busy, but if they're not moving trains they generally get you out in an hour or less for a pickup. A delivery is usually faster.

4) On your first visit to any railyard, you're going to have to go to the Driver Assistance building to register and get fingerprinted for access control. If the railroad offers an intermodal driver's app for your phone, download and register. The app generally saves you time on check in, and more and more of the railyards are no longer printing the J-1 at exit kiosk. J-1 is, basically, the bill of lading for the load. You will need that if you get inspected, and having the rail apps means you get the J-1 out-gate emailed to you so you have the information if needed.

4) Chassis securement is important - twist lock devices at all four corners to hold the container down. Carry cheap zip-ties to secure those twist lock device security measures, they will vibrate open during travel, especially if you're deadheading the container on rough roads. Brightly colored ones are best - you can see them in your mirror while driving for a validation that you're secured properly, and the men and women in the unusual hats can see them as well (gives them one less reason to give you a second look). Our company does very little drop and hook intermodal, since we own our own rolling stock and don't want to leave it in the field to be pulled out inadvertently by drivers from another company. The Megas like Schneider, Swift and Hub often do drop hook which saves you down time as well.

Let me know if you have more questions. When I first started with G&D I was a utility driver, and spent about 50% of my time running I/M. Over the past two years or so, it has been about 90% of my activity. Generally, Intermodal is not a whole lot different than van work, and when you get back in the saddle, it may be worth exploring. I wont say I love it, but it's not as bad as the horror stories I was hearing when I was getting my CDL training. Intermodal is pretty much always busy, and there is a great availability of driving positions.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

I have been running intermodal , regularly, for the past few years in Chicago area and haul loads OTR Regional Midwest ( Chi rail to UP Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois Quad Cities destinations or origin point to Chi rail mostly) My observations:

1) Pool chassis', as G-Town and Rainy have already said, really are the worst. If you can find one that has all of the lights, FHSA sticker up to date, and tires that are fully inflated and have 2/32" or more of tread all the way around without flat spots or dry rot, the brakes will probably be sorely out of adjustment. Find a carrier that owns or leases their chassis', and self maintains. You'll have much less down time, not to mention the ingate will be faster most places since you won't have to have the chassis inspected on the way in.

2) Carrying a couple extra lamp assy's and glad hand seals is a good way to save yourself time. There have been days I have sat in the Quick Repair Lane for over an hour waiting for the dozen or so trucks in front of me to get their "quick" repairs done (usually tire issues - I replace burnt out lamps myself). If the mechanic at quick lane doesn't feel like fixing the chassis with a loaded container on it, you'll be told to take it to the lift line, have the container pulled off the offending chassis, take the bad order unit to the repair drop area, then you have to hunt thru to find a good order chassis to pick your container up. VERY time consuming. These quickly turn into 3+ hour visits.

3) Stops / miles or pay by load is not the best way to consistently make good money in Intermodal. Find a carrier that pays hourly. Several of the busier Chicago IM yards are notorious for lengthy delays - BNSF Logistics Park, NS Landers, BNSF Cicero to name a couple. CN Harvey is busy, but if they're not moving trains they generally get you out in an hour or less for a pickup. A delivery is usually faster.

4) On your first visit to any railyard, you're going to have to go to the Driver Assistance building to register and get fingerprinted for access control. If the railroad offers an intermodal driver's app for your phone, download and register. The app generally saves you time on check in, and more and more of the railyards are no longer printing the J-1 at exit kiosk. J-1 is, basically, the bill of lading for the load. You will need that if you get inspected, and having the rail apps means you get the J-1 out-gate emailed to you so you have the information if needed.

4) Chassis securement is important - twist lock devices at all four corners to hold the container down. Carry cheap zip-ties to secure those twist lock device security measures, they will vibrate open during travel, especially if you're deadheading the container on rough roads. Brightly colored ones are best - you can see them in your mirror while driving for a validation that you're secured properly, and the men and women in the unusual hats can see them as well (gives them one less reason to give you a second look). Our company does very little drop and hook intermodal, since we own our own rolling stock and don't want to leave it in the field to be pulled out inadvertently by drivers from another company. The Megas like Schneider, Swift and Hub often do drop hook which saves you down time as well.

Let me know if you have more questions. When I first started with G&D I was a utility driver, and spent about 50% of my time running I/M. Over the past two years or so, it has been about 90% of my activity. Generally, Intermodal is not a whole lot different than van work, and when you get back in the saddle, it may be worth exploring. I wont say I love it, but it's not as bad as the horror stories I was hearing when I was getting my CDL training. Intermodal is pretty much always busy, and there is a great availability of driving positions.

Curmudgeon, thank you for the great information. On a side note, you said you are going in to recruiting. But you seem to me like a natural instructor. I'm sure you've considered this, but why aren't you going into a training position?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Bruce, thanks for that. I do train new drivers on occasion, on a limited basis. I don't have a condo sleeper cab, so The bulk of our training is done by local drivers, I do field mentoring of otr drivers as needed. The move to recruiting, if it happens, is in a way an effort to " try on a new coat ".

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.

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