|In The News|
|PHL Gets an “A” for First Delivery of School Buses by Rail|
LOS ANGELES, CA - Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. (PHL) announced today the successful completion of the first transcontinental movement of Thomas Built school buses in a new type of railcar known as a “unilevel” car.
Four buses were driven from the Thomas Built Buses factory in High Point , N.C. to Norfolk Southern's vehicle loading facility at Winston-Salem , N.C. , where they were loaded into prototype unilevel railcars built by TTX Corporation and Trinity Industries. Norfolk Southern then moved the railcars to Kansas City , Mo. , where they were interchanged to the Union Pacific Railroad for their journey to Los Angeles and delivery to PHL for unloading at Wilmington , Calif.
The buses were unloaded by Wilmington-based Vanco Heavy Lift, Inc. and turned over to drivers for their journey to BusWest in Whittier , Calif. and eventual delivery to their customer First Student, Inc.
This project resulted from initial discussions between PHL, BusWest and Union Pacific concerning the difficulty of moving full-size alternative fuels buses cross-country. Limited availability of fuels such as LNG makes driving the buses across difficult, and vehicle size makes transportation by truck expensive. In the past, railroads did not have enclosed railcars with enough inside clearance for large vehicles, and the prospect of moving them on open flatcars offered too many chances for en route damage.
“With the introduction of unilevel cars, we can now provide the same type of enclosed, secure service for large vehicles that we offer for new automobiles,” noted Don Norton, PHL's manager of business development. While unloading the buses, Van Hicks, president of Vanco Heavy Lift, added that “We handle a lot of large vehicles at Vanco, and the design of these railcars, and especially the vehicle tie-down system, is great for both in-transit security of the vehicles and ease of loading and unloading.”
Since the transportation plan involved a number of companies, PHL joined with Progressive Rail, Inc. based in Lakeville Minn. , to coordinate arrangements, provide insurance services, and present a single invoice to BusWest. “We are delighted to have played such a key role in this initial delivery to BusWest. Our subsidiary Rail Retrievers Logistics truly offers shippers a turnkey alternative when it comes to finding value in rail transportation. We bundle and manage each shipment door to door, which is something that railroads struggle to do,” added Bill Kutka, vice president Sales and Marketing for Progressive Rail.
At delivery, Bill Webster, president of BusWest, said, “BusWest is pleased to have this new option for delivery of buses from the East Coast, which is beneficial for both us and the transportation companies involved.”
PHL is an affiliate of Anacostia & Pacific Corporation, Inc., a leader in the development of modern short line railroads. PHL provides rail transportation, maintenance, and dispatching services to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.