We call the receiver as we do not have a delivery address  and he tells us to call back in the morning about six local, as he is not sure where the train will be.  TRAIN?  What train...  Our delivery was to Loram and nothing was mentioned that there would be a moving delivery address. The receiver is not sure where the train will be in the morning but it will be within two cities in two different states.  Really starting to figure out why this load pays well.
It took us two days to find this train and while waiting they had us go to Flagstaff, AZ to pickup 3 electric motors and head back to Gallop, NM to find out where the train would be the next day.  We still did not have any idea of what type of train we were meeting.  What kind of train needs 8000lbs of fire retardant and three electric motors?
At last we were told where the train was waiting for us back in Arizona and off we went with some odd instructions.  Go to the back of this very small truck stop and then follow the dirt road beside the train track, cross over the tracks, and then follow the dirt road back to get beside the train.  Dirt Roads? We do not have an off road truck and we had some concerns heading out. 
As I turned into the truck stop I could see our train waiting and it was odd looking but who am I to judge trains.  We followed the directions to the crossing of the tracks and that is where I started getting really concerned.  This was not the normal track crossing it was a back dirt road crossing with huge railroad ties and a lot of rock.  Well our truck actually handled this better then I expected and now we had to tackle the less used dirt road.  The road was sandy so we lifted our skirts to get though the deep ruts and still managed to get through and make a safe delivery.   
When we got beside the train we realized it was some sort of work train but before I could ask questions we had to get 8000lbs, 4 pallets, and the 3 electric motors off of our truck using the lift gate and the pallet jack.  This is where the work started, as not only is our truck not spec'd to be off road neither is our pallet jack.  With all of us helping we were able to place two pallets of fire retardant liquid near one freight car and then we moved to another car and set off two more pallets.  This sounds much easier then it was and we were sore for two days.  Another day in the life of an expediter.
While we were working with this train that was on a side rail two freight trains went by at a high rate of speed, one going east and one going west on the other two rails.  I asked about their speeds and I was told that the freight trains usually run about 70 MPH and the Amtrak runs 80+ miles per hour.   My heart raced a little at these speeds and was I glad we made it easily over those tracks to get to our train.  I then asked about the train we were standing by and I was told it was a grinding train and believe me it was pretty mean looking.  He said that they could usually true up or grind about 40 miles of track a night or more depending on how long they could get the track  to themselves without slowing down the train schedules.  I asked about the noise and he mentioned it was pretty loud, I think he underplayed his comments. 
The workers stay with their train and he said they were out for six weeks and then fly home for two weeks.  They move from hotel to hotel following the train as it goes all over the country.  As I had never heard of grinding tracks this was all news to me and if we ever get a chance to deliver to another Loran Rail Grinding Train I will have more questions.  It was really interesting to learn more about this train and I hope if we deliver to them again they are in a better location.
Here are a few links and facts about Loram Rail Grinding:
Extends the life of the rail which will help with fuel savings, reduces wear on rolling stock, and increasing train speeds, and will improve the ride and quality of passenger comfort.
This is a link the why you would want to hire Loram to work on your tracks:
You Tube of the Loram Rail Grinding train in motion

You Tube of the Loram Rail Grinding train at night

Comments (8)

Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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You never know where this business will take you to deliver .

August 22, 2015 20:23:17 PM

No and I actually just heard about them on Dave Nemo the other day. Someone from the Oklahoma Trucking Association was mentioning it as a big part of their trucking economy.

August 22, 2015 7:18:38 AM

Joey I am working on another fun one we just did trying to get to GATS this year. Have you ever been to a Salt Water Disposal Well?

August 22, 2015 6:23:47 AM

Betty I asked them that question as they normally have the fire retardant trucked out to them in barrels and he said this was the worst delivery location they had ever used. I would have to agree with him...

August 22, 2015 6:22:38 AM

Those are the kind of loads I look forward to. Out of the norm. Great story.

August 22, 2015 6:20:31 AM

Linda that was fascinating. I never heard of rail grinding so I certainly learned something new and if I ever see one on the tracks around here I'll know what it is. That being said they should be a little more considerate of where they receive their supplies, I'm sure if they tried they could have found a "not off road" spot!

August 21, 2015 9:08:04 AM

Craig that is the part of the excitement of expediting is we never know and it is funny how few docks we actually see.

August 20, 2015 9:16:11 AM

Oh yes, off-roading in an on-highway truck, it warms my heart! What a great adventure! It sharpens the senses and keeps you on your toes. Great article!

August 20, 2015 8:48:56 AM