Rail to Truck Terminals

Today, logistics networks are looking for ways to add portability to their systems. For example, in following the Frac Sand market, one rail-site location may be center-of-market today, but another location would be better tomorrow. How do we make these terminals mobile?


figure-1_rail-to-truck-terminalFigure 1 illustrates a simple concept. Sand or Cement is unloaded from rail cars, transferred to a storage bin, and trucks loaded through the facility. Typically, a single lane loading system can manage 10 trucks per hour; into a pneumatic trailer.

Figure 1: Rail To Truck Terminal; 500-2000 tons





How can we make this a “portable” location? The easy way is to excavate a pit, pour a leveling slab of concrete, and use a metal form, as in Figure 2.. After placement, the excavation is backfilled with lean concrete.



Figure 2 – Direct Burial Pit Form



In Figure 3, the structural/mechanical piece (which is designed for the locomotive loads) is placed across the rail pit. Within a day, the rail track can be placed as shown in Figure 4.




Figure 3 –  The Structural/Mechanical Piece



Bulky materials like Frac Sand and Cement use boot-lifts to quickly connect to the rail can.




Figure 4 – Two Position Hopper-car Unloading pit (cement)



In Figure 5, shows the built in pneumatic circuit, that will provide the vibration necessary to completely empty the hopper-car.


Figure 5 – Boot-lifts, Car Vibrators, Checker-plate Pit Covers




Figure 6 shows the mechanics of transferring bulk materials (here cement) to the day bin for this terminal. Further portability can be designed into the terminal with the terminal office.



Figure 6 – Rail Pit ready for use



In Figure 7, the owners chose a concrete modular office for the terminal rest rooms and control room. This particular location was a tough inter-city location.



Figure 7- Portable Office; here Concrete, with Security Windows



The most elegant design is probably similar to Figure 8, where the flexibility to add capacity is just a node away.

If the owner wants to move this terminal, only the metal pit formwork and silo foundation is left behind. The remaining terminal works are re-purposed at the new location.

Figure 8: Expandability; Simplicity, all belong in good terminal design. Click to enlarge.



PEC specializes in finding new ways for owners to benefit from thorough planning. Our consultants have years of experience designing, owning and operating logistics systems. Have us conceptualize your terminal such that the driver loads himself!  Just keep the rail cars coming!


Main feature contributor: Thomas W. Hedrick, P.E.

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