Cold train intermodal service popular with produce shippers

A new refrigerated intermodal container rail and distribution service between Quincy WA and Chicago IL is growing in popularity with produce shippers in the Pacific Northwest.

This new expedited, door-to-door Pacific Northwest-Chicagoland Express “Cold Train” intermodal service was launched in April 2010 by Rail Logistics in partnership with the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal and covers 2,000-plus miles in only three days.

According to Steve Lawson, vice-president of intermodal for Rail Logistics, weekly bookings of produce such as apples and potatoes on the Cold Train have increased by more than 40% since the service began and continue to rise weekly. In June, the Cold Train also began successfully shipping cherries from Quincy to the Midwest and “is ideal for shipping Washington State perishable products to Chicago quickly and efficiently,” said Lawson. “We have added capacity heading into the fall harvest season and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”

Produce shippers in Washington State are embracing the new Cold Train service.

Bart Connors of Basin Gold in Pasco WA said, “One of our biggest challenges is finding competitive and consistent transportation services shipping products east. This new intermodal service to the Midwest offers a cost-competitive and sustainable alternative.”

“With fuel prices continuing to rise, this new rail intermodal service option from central Washington to Chicago has given our company an efficient and reliable new alternative to transport our products to the Midwest,” said Scott Marboe, director of marketing for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers in Wenatchee WA.

Receivers in the Midwest also are giving the expedited refrigerated intermodal service positive reviews.

“Like many companies, we have been looking for transportation options that are economical and more environmentally sustainable. The Cold Train has provided us a great new option, with a carbon footprint that’s 50% less than an over-the-road truck,” said Carl Swartz, perishables transportation, The Kroger Co.

“The PNW-Chicagoland Express intermodal Cold Train service has proven to be a cost-effective and speedy new shipping option for our company to ship produce from Washington State to Illinois, Indiana, and surrounding markets,” said Dave Frizzell, president, Blue Ribbon Transport, a subsidiary of Indianapolis IN-based Caito Foods.

For more information about the Cold Train, contact Lawson of Rail Logistics at 913-491-0050 or [email protected] or visit

Visit to learn more about the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal.

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