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19 Facts to Know About Utility Pole Rail-Car Unloading

If you need to get your utility poles from rail cars to a truck and then to the job site, you might know how complicated the entire process can be.


With these 19 facts about utility pole rail-car unloading at your disposal, you can become more confident and complete your project with minimal aggravation.


1. What is rail-car unloading? Also called “transloading,” rail-car unloading is essential to utility projects. It is the process of moving freight, whether it is a utility pole shipment or power line spools, from one vehicle to another.


2. The railways are still useful today. Although rail travel has not been popular for quite some time, it remains a fixture in the utility industry. Despite other industries using ships to move their cargo, the utility industry typically uses the rail network.


3. North America has an extensive rail infrastructure. The United States, Canada, and Mexico are home to a rail network that connects major cities.


4. The North American rail network does not only transport utility equipment. It is used to deliver coal, rain, and chemicals across the continent.


5. Why do most companies use waterways for shipping? It is less expensive than other methods.


6. Getting your utility shipment onto a truck and to the material yard or job site is only one part of rail-car unloading. Sometimes the bigger challenge is unloading them from the truck. Some utility haulers do not offer unloading services. They will leave the final (and very important step) to project managers to figure out. Choosing a self-unloading utility hauling company is the best solution.


7. You can unload your utility poles. This approach can cost a lot of time and money. You will probably need a forklift or a telehandler to remove the equipment from the truck. If you do not have either machine, then you might need to rent one. This requires you to contact companies, set up times and dates, and pay for the rental. You will also need a rigger to hook up the load and move it along the flatbed. Since this is a dangerous job, hiring one can push your project over budget.


8. If money is no concern, then unloading cargo yourself is a viable option. It is also one rife with risks. The rental equipment is large and heavy like the cargo. The size of all of these items creates opportunities for injuries. The more people you have to hire increases your project’s liability risk, especially if they are not properly trained.


9. Not utility poles are the same size. This is something to consider if you have to rent a forklift for unloading. Utility poles come in several different sizes based on the pole class. Poles are generally 40 feet long.


10. You should not let the average utility pole length fool you. The ones you see alongside North American highways can stand between 60 to 120 feet tall.


11. Utility poles are made from three materials. Steel, concrete, and wood poles are used for particular reasons and carry their own considerations.


12. Steel poles are durable but their weight makes them difficult to transport. Unloading them requires heavy-duty equipment and thorough safety measures.


13. Steel poles may be heavy but concrete poles are heavier. A telephone pole approximately 30 feet long can weigh nearly 2 tons.


14. One reason wood poles are still in use today is their cost. Their weight helps, too. Lighter than steel and concrete, wood poles can be transported and unloaded easier.


15. Unloading utility poles require detailed safety procedures. A lot can go wrong during the process. A major problem is rushing through unloading. This can result in injured workers.


16. You do not have to unload utility poles and other cargo yourself. You can hire a self-unloading hauling company to save time and money.


17. What is self-unloading? It is a service that combines loading, hauling, and unloading into one convenient, cost-effective package. A self-unloading truck is equipped with a crane to unload cargo directly from its flatbed.


18. Self-unloading hauling companies can make a remarkable difference in a utility project’s success. You can save time, keep expenses low, and decrease liabilities when you hire such a company.


19. There are a few things you should look for when hiring a self-unloading hauler. You should get an asset-based company, meaning one that owns its trucks and hires its drivers. You can enjoy more direct communication with drivers instead of contacting a broker and hope your message goes through. You should also make sure the company is dedicated to safety. They should have a clean track record. Utility pole hauling and unloading can result in injuries or worse. You should want to count on the best people to have a pain-free transport.


Face the Facts and Use Blackwood Resources

Add Blackwood Resources as your support team and you may never have to stress out about rail-car unloading for utility poles again. Our handpicked team of operators is experienced in utility pole rail-car unloading. If any railcars are overweight, have had a load shift, or need to be readjusted, our team can safely and quickly resolve each situation.


We know how indispensable electrical and communication utilities are to the world. Utility companies must make sure they stay connected. They must keep poles and lines in working order so service continues uninterrupted. We can adapt to each market and meet our customers’ requirements, including but not limited to utility transloading.


Since 2017, we have assembled an accomplished group of practiced experts to operate our fleet of advanced specialized equipment. We recruit operators and drivers with sterling work and safety records. Completing the job within the limits of the law and your preferences is our utmost goal. It stands to reason that the best people using the best equipment can provide the best service.


Here are 3 statistics from 2021 that we are proud of:


1. We have 98% driver retention. People are our most valuable asset. Our drivers are loyal because we treat them like family.

2. We hauled 100,000 tons. The utility industry trusts us to get their equipment where it needs to be.

3. Our average fleet age is 31 months. You can rely on our high-quality and well-maintained specialized equipment.


Our self-unloading service can save you time, money, and peace of mind. It can also place you firmly in control of your utility project. You know what needs to be done and who will do it. Renting equipment and hiring more workers are two things you can erase from your long to-do list.


Do not be burdened by the facts of rail-car unloading, we're here to help. Unload your worries before your project falls behind schedule and over budget. Please contact us today.

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