West-to-Midwest rail refrigerated service kickoff set for 2014

What I applaud and appreciate are greater efficiencies in and reduced emissions coming from the transportation sector. I see exactly this in today’s more fuel-efficient, lower-emissions motor vehicles compared to times past. And there is similar improvement in the railroad realm. And it just keeps getting better and better.

In the most recent (Dec. 2013) Vegetable Growers News, VGN correspondent Terri Morgan talks up a new West-to-Midwest rail service in: “Refrigerated rail service will connect West, Midwest.”1

DSCN2812 (340x255)Morgan opens the article as follows: “McKay TransCold and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) have joined forces to expedite refrigerated boxcar shipping from California’s Central Valley to the Midwest. The TransCold Express train service will begin running in early 2014 and will provide vegetable and fruit growers another option for transporting fresh and frozen product.”

The operative notion here is: “another transporting option.”

“Another option,” of course, in this case being transportation that’s rail-based. Freight-lading transference this way will undoubtedly result in fewer over-the-road truck moves and that spells important and greater environmental benefits such as the reduction in air pollution coupled to moving the refrigerated freight in question in this manner.

“Each boxcar is expected to hold 3.4 to 4.2 truckloads, meaning each train will have the capacity to transport about 200 truckloads of produce,” Morgan reported.

“‘Reducing the carbon footprint is very important,’ [McKay TransCold business development vice president Jason] Spafford said,” Morgan wrote in citing Spafford. “‘We will be working with trucking company partners in California and Illinois and talking with a couple of companies that are very focused on providing CNG (compressed natural gas) powered trucks for moving loads to and from our hubs.’”

All the better and forward thinking, most definitely!

Although this approach is certainly not a new one, it is yet another application of what has proven time and again to be a very viable, valuable and, yes, proven service: produce transport the railroad refrigerated boxcar way.


  1. Terri Morgan, “Refrigerated rail service will connect West, Midwest,” Vegetable Growers News, Dec. 2013, p. 22.

– Alan Kandel