Semi-Truck Pulls an Entire Train
The next time you’re at a railroad crossing, you might want to pay attention. You might be surprised to see what is riding those rails. It might be a locomotive, or it might be something else. Something else like a truck, but not one of those modified pickup trucks you may have seen. No, it could be a massive diesel truck, hauling a string of rail cars behind it.
Now at first, you might blink your eyes in disbelief, and/or your jaw might drop. The fact of the matter is that this big rig pulls a string of rail cars like it is a locomotive. Is this some weird twisted case of vehicle orientation? Is it okay to refer to the truck as a semi if it identifies as a locomotive? I say we go to the source and ask the Brandt Corporation.
The Brandt Corporation specialize in manufacturing material handling equipment for the rail road industry. You may not know that the rail industry is still thriving. I know in my town more than a few rail road tracks have been taken up and replaced by paved roads, or simply removed to let vegetation reclaim the land. Yet, railroads are still responsible for moving thousands of pounds of freight from point A to point B every single day.
They haul everything from gravel to grand luxury imports vehicles. They do everything from long distance hauls, to inter modal transports of raw materials.â¨
They haul everything from gravel to grand luxury imports vehicles. They do everything from long distance hauls, to inter modal transports of raw materials.
Trucks like this one are used for a number of purposes. The one you see pictured here, the Brandt 6000, is designed to pull a maximum rail car load of 30,000lbs to 60,000lbs, with a top speed of somewhere around 50 mph. That’s pretty fast for an eighteen wheeler with a string of freight behind it! Obviously, the drive shaft has been somewhat modified to make the truck suitable for riding up and down the railway lines. All transmission models on these trucks are automatic to keep from having manual transmission “Oops!” type mistakes. It’s one thing to make a manual tranny mistake on the highway with your big rig, but quite another to make that same mistake hauling five rail cars behind you. You don’t want to have that kind of bad day. Therefore, great care is taken to make sure these modified Peterbilt semi trucks are crafted to pull massive loads with ease. The pull power they have is incredible. You could stack them up against just about any locomotive and get comparable power and efficiency.
There is a Reason Brandt Trucks are Scarce
So, why don’t you see more of them riding the rails? I mean imagine the convenience of driving your truck onto the railroad tracks, lowering the flange wheels, tying up to some rail cars and pulling it to your destination. Then, once the haul is finished, you simply raise the flange wheels and drive your truck on to its next destination. This is much more efficient than locomotives, even if they cannot haul quite as much freight. Use locomotives for intermodal transports or massive distance hauls with large load volumes. The Brandt trucks could take care of the rest. Well that probably won’t happen anytime soon. I had to do a little bit of digging to find this out, my friends, because I was curious myself. Poke your head around in online railway forums long enough and you’re bound to find an answer or two. In this case, the union is that answer. The whole argument stems from the fact that only qualified engineers should be riding the rails behind the controls of a diesel locomotive. This thing is a truck, though. Anybody with a qualified drivers license can drive a truck. The union makes hay over the issue that even though you say it’s a truck, it quacks, walks, and has multiple air brake control stops like a diesel locomotive. Therefore, only a trained railroad engineer should be manning those controls. Obviously, the railroads like them because they don’t have to pay an engineer. Throw a Republican and a Democrat into the mix and you have yourselves one hot button political topic! While we don’t entertain that with this article, we will say that the Brandt 6000 Railway will handily roll over any politician, no matter what flavor they are. It also makes no discrimination towards union or nonunion employees so when this thing is moving, you better pay attention! You can decide for yourself whether or not it is more efficient than a locomotive. Whatever you decide, I’m sure we will both agree that this is one impressive beast!