Editor’s note: What breathing human could pass up a good railroad story? We are certain that at some time or another, wind power will pulse through these heavy transformers.
The Port of Duluth says it’s about to break another record – this time for a transformer project lining up to set a record for the highest count of independent, over-dimensional trains used for a single, heavy haul project.A total of 16 huge electrical transformers – each weighing upwards of 300 tons – were shipped from Antwerp and discharged in the Port of Duluth during the 2013 shipping season. Those transformers are headed to Alberta, Canada for a major power transmission line that will run from north of Edmonton to south of Calgary.
The German-built transformers arrived in Duluth in succession aboard Hansa Heavy Lift vessels and were discharged, along with nearly 500 crates of smaller components, at the Clure Public Marine Terminal in Duluth by crews from Lake Superior Warehousing.
The first shipment arrived aboard the HHL Mississippi on July 16; she returned with four more transformers and dozens of crates on Sept. 3. The last two shipments arrived aboard a sister ship, the HHL Amur, on Oct. 14 and Dec. 1.
The first two transformers loaded out on rail in September. The remaining units will move from now through the end of the year on a series of trains scheduled with Canadian Pacific, utilizing specialized 16-axle railcars.
There are just four such specialized railcars in all of North America able to handle cargo of this size along this route and two of them are owned by Fracht USA, project logistics providers handling the turnkey logistics for the entire transmission line project. Those two KRL16800 series cars, the latest generation in rail engineering, are being coupled with CP locomotives and flatcars to move the large converter transformers safely to their final destination.
“Time seems to be on our side. We worked on refining the design and engineering on our cars for almost two years to bring out the best product possible. It was worth taking the extra time and working with the leading railways in the country on what they like to see on their bridges for supersized loads such as this. Between the light-weight steel and high load capacity of 800,000 lbs. it is a new generation of railcars, and we were pleased that this project started only a few months after the railcars rolled out of Kasgro’s factory,” said Benjamin Liewald, Sr., VP of Projects for Fracht USA . “We are very excited to work with the professionals at Port of Duluth as well as Canadian Pacific, who are both a great part of providing Fracht’s client with a safe and smooth operation.”
Duluth’s Public Terminal – the Port’s only breakbulk terminal – is owned by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and operated by Lake Superior Warehousing Co. Lake Superior Warehousing has earned a global reputation for its expertise in handling dimensional and heavy-lift cargoes like this,” noted Port Authority Executive Director Vanta E. Coda II. “The Great Lakes-Seaway marine highway offers customers notable supply chain efficiencies when moving high, wide and heavy components into the heartland of North America, plus affords them backhaul opportunities.”
Port of Duluth
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