EXPRESSTRAK LLC RECENTLY ANNOUNCED that it is acquiring the first 109 of a planned 350-car fleet of refrigerated rail cars for coast-to-coast use as part of regularly-scheduled Amtrak passenger trains.
R Franklin Unger, president of ExpressTrak LLC, an affiliate of Soave Enterprises of Detroit, has signed a $10-million-plus contract with Ebeneezer Rail Car Services Inc to build the first order of 57-ft rail cars. A supplier for an additional 241 cars has not been named.
Built for sustained passenger train speed of 90 mph, the first of the 109 cars are scheduled for delivery by March 28 from Ebeneezer's West Seneca, New York, plant.
ExpressTrak's Rapid Modal System has had two prototype cars in service since July 2000. They are successful from both commercial and engineering standpoints, Unger says. Shippers such as Sunkist have used them and the Rapid Modal system with success. "Shippers have been calling about these cars for months, and now we can begin setting realistic shipping dates," he says.
Robert A Walker, chairman of the privately-held ExpressTrak LLC, says the company's new service will help Amtrak more fully utilize its infrastructure and new facilities, and generate additional revenue.
The Rapid Modal system uses local cartage at each end of the line where cars are stuffed and the cars are coupled to the passenger train.
The ExpressTrak cars remain with the Amtrak train traveling almost nonstop across country. At destination, cargo is transferred back to trucks for local delivery. Up to three truckloads fit in each rail car.
The 109 cars have refrigeration units for temperature as low as -20 F and up to 86 F. Refrigeration will be remotely controlled from ExpressTrak's Customer Service Center. Each car is equipped with global positioning tracking and monitoring.
Special high-speed rail suspension and tight-lock, slackless couplers provide an easy ride, much the same as Amtrak coach and sleeping car.
ExpressTrak specializes in moving temperature-sensitive and time-sensitive loads such as fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen juice, meat, and other foods. Operating since 1998 as a member of the Soave Enterprises group of companies, ExpressTrak LLC runs RoadRailers with Amtrak as well as the refrigerated prototype rail cars.
Information about ExpressTrak Rapid Modal service is available, toll-free, by phoning 1-877-EXP-TRAK (397-8725).