Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Union Pacific patents new multi-level car

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autoflex_1_web.jpgUnion Pacific has unveiled its new AutoFlex™ convertible multi-level car for transporting vehicles. UP said it holds 15 patents related to the design and process in developing the car, designed by UP’s engineering group and built by UP forces at the railroad’s DeSoto, Mo., car shop.

UP said the 90-foot-long car can be adjusted to bi-level or tri-level vehicle transport while using the same rack structure.

UP claimed these benefits for AutoFlex™ customers:

* “Easier convertibility and more flexibility resulting from the ability to quickly and efficiently adjust the rail car to transport large or small vehicles.

* “Enhanced loading and unloading safety resulting from convenient access provided by an improved panel end-door structure.

* “Increased service quality thanks to a proven durable door edge system, improved tie-down chock systems, and upgraded in-transit damage protection.

* “Superior security by removing exterior ladder access to the railcar roof and upper decks. The lautoflex_2_web.jpgadder is accessible only when the end doors are open.”

“Improving safety and efficiency create greater value for our customers,” said Julie Krehbiel, Union Pacific vice president and general manager - Automotive. “With the AutoFlex™ convertible multi-level, we can more easily adjust to changes in consumer purchasing trends and keep our customers’ products moving. This is a newly engineered railcar, not a converted bi-level car, and our engineering group did an outstanding job in developing this new railcar.”

“Results of our preliminary tests have been very promising in terms of vibration, stability and overall ride quality,” said Barry Kanuch, Union Pacific chief mechanical officer. “We are excited about the car’s performance so far.”

autoflex_3_web.jpgUP spokesman Tom Lange said current plans call for constructing 100 AutoFlex™ cars per year for the foreseeable future. UP will build the cars itself in DeSoto.