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Old 01-13-2009, 08:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by elhigh View Post
Better yet, why not load the trailer, then put it on a train? Trains do even better.
That's been my suggestion for years. For long-haul trips don't drive the truck cross-country (what a monumental waste of fuel) - just drive to a regional rail yard and load the truck AND trailer onto a rail car. The drivers hang out in the driver's lounge/sleeping car (TV, WiFi, food, etc) until the train arrives at the rail yard near the destination. The truck then drives off the train and continues on to its local destination.

It's almost an exact copy of the Channel Tunnel drive-on drive-off setup so all the technology and equipment is already available, tested, and proven.

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Old 01-13-2009, 09:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Better yet, why not load the trailer, then put it on a train? Trains do even better.
And then electrify the trains :-) But of course a lot of trailers do get loaded onto trains - seems like every freight train I see has carloads of them.
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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But of course a lot of trailers do get loaded onto trains - seems like every freight train I see has carloads of them.
I think those are mostly containers being sent from/to ports, not for local or regional deliveries. From an efficiency point of view shipping only trailers would be best - just have different tractors pick up the trailers at the other end, but in reality it would never work because truckers get paid by the mile, and they can't make enough money on a bunch of little short-hauls.

True, the truckers would pay the railroads money to transport them, but they would save money in fuel, tires, depreciation, accidents, etc. Seems like a win for truckers, railroads, and consumers. Setting up a system like this might be a good project for some of the infrastructure money coming in the economic recovery funds.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:28 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:34 AM   #15 (permalink)
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what the railroad doesn't tell you is that it can up to 30 days to get a rail car from CA to TN, I know as I work in a distribution center for a food conglomerate based in NE, which doesn't always work with the just in time inventory methods alot of places have gone to, which is what WM does, we ship on average 15+ TL's of product to various WM's thru out the SE US. The RR delivers the rail cars whenever they feel like it and then you have 24-48hrs to unload a rail car or pay detention charges. It might be cheaper but certainly not more convenient. A rail car can get lost in the switching yard and then, oops, here, sorry.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I think those are mostly containers being sent from/to ports, not for local or regional deliveries. From an efficiency point of view shipping only trailers would be best...
Take a look at the next few freight trains you see. There are a lot of actual trailers being shipped (with wheels & all), as well as containers.

Of course if we were designing an efficient freight system, it would be best to ship just the containers, then pop them on a trailer bed at the rail depot nearest the the ultimate destination.

Wouldn't be that hard to design an efficient system that'd get freight to its destination on time & efficiently. If FedEx & UPS can do it with packages, why not freight cars? Like so much else, the problem is getting the people involved to actually want to do it, rather than muddle along in the same comfortable "tomorrow's gonna be just like yesterday" trap.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:34 PM   #17 (permalink)
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That WalMart truck, though a step in the right direction, is hardly the final word on improved truck aerodynamics. Too many lumps & bumps, nooks & crannies.

They should have used the fuselage of, say, a Boeing 767, fully conformal shape with the wheels covered, streamlined nose, tapered tail, etc..
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:51 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The super single tire has been around for quite a few years now... Overnite Transport was testing it back in 2004 or so when I was a Security Guard there in Mechanicsburg, PA, and the drivers reported "easier launches/city driving, longer trip times between refuels (1-2MPG in some cases) and less tire noise"

Don't ask how you can translate what's tire noise from what's "everyday loud ass truck noise", but hey, they said it.

Engine tuning for mass produced trucks has yielded mileage gains according to some people I've talked to as well, things like Injector timing (which can also increase HP output) and tweaking certain air passages for greater/less restricted airflow and colder air flow.

Of course, Wal-Mart won't think about those things, they just want things that are visible... better for PR.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:54 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post
That WalMart truck, though a step in the right direction, is hardly the final word on improved truck aerodynamics. Too many lumps & bumps, nooks & crannies.

They should have used the fuselage of, say, a Boeing 767, fully conformal shape with the wheels covered, streamlined nose, tapered tail, etc..
like the futurliner?
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:38 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Super single tires are great. Considering rolling resistance at highway speed is almost equivalent as aero drag for a loaded semi, it makes a lot of sense to work on this aspect. Any reason why it's not common place? If they save >10% off you fuel costs they must pay for themselves relatively quickly.

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