On a frigid January morning, ATS Logistics and ATS Heavy Haul worked together to move a historic locomotive from the Becker, MN, Xcel Energy generating station, to its new home at the display track of the St. Cloud Area Rail Legacy Museum (STARail) in Waite Park.
Although the move itself wasn’t far in distance, the dimensions of this load provided their own set of challenges. The locomotive had to be taken off of its drive wheel assemblies to fit on the trailer, and each assembly had to be hauled and placed on the tracks individually, within a very small tolerance for the locomotive placement.
The following is an excerpt from a letter received by Barry S., STARail
“On behalf of the St. Cloud Area Rail Legacy Museum (STARail), thank you (ATS) for a magnificent job planning and executing the move of the 198,000 pound SW 1 diesel switch locomotive from the Becker, MN Xcel Energy generating station to the display track of the St. Cloud Area Rail Legacy Museum (STARail) in Waite Park.
“ATS was the only choice for this haul, based on its sterling reputation for professionalism, experience, safety and available equipment for a haul like this. The planning for this move began with Pete L. months ago, and later involved your
routing and permit staff and safety experts Jack J. and Charley A. as the day of the move approached.
This was a very interesting, and challenging load. When the 129,000 pound chassis of the locomotive was secured on the 130 foot long ATS 13 axle heavy haul trailer, it had a high center of gravity. Your safety team recognized this early on, and
required eight additional D-rings to be welded by a certified welder onto the frame of the locomotive to provide extra down-force and stability to the locomotive chassis on the heavy haul trailer. Despite subzero Arctic cold temperatures and a wicked wind, your crew did a perfect job in Becker of planning dunnage so the locomotive’s 129,000 pound chassis would be secure on its trailer, while at the same time minimizing its height profile. You also organized two additional semis, each to carry a 38,000 pound locomotive drive wheel assembly from Becker to Waite Park.
Once in Waite Park, the two wheel assemblies were unloaded from the two regular duty ATS trailers and spotted exactly where they needed to be on the STARail display track. Because of the extreme cold, the gear grease in the wheel assemblies did not allow any movement of the wheel sets once they were on the track. There is less than a one inch margin of error between the two wheel sets in order to have the locomotive chassis lock correctly on the two wheel sets. Your crew and the Landwehr Crane crew accomplished this precise spotting of the wheel sets and mounting of the locomotive on the wheel sets in less than 15 minutes. Amazing.”
The load arrived safely, and without any damage. I was impressed and appreciative of your concern for safety at every step of this heavy haul. Jack J. and Charley A. are at the top of their trade as safety experts. Despite the Arctic cold and bitter wind, there were no injuries to anyone involved in this move.
Bravo, ATS Heavy Haul team, for your professional, exacting and safety planning for this locomotive move. Your plan was executed flawlessly. Thanks to you, the SW 1 STARail locomotive will remain on its display track in Waite Park for generations to come.”
St. Cloud Area Rail Legacy Museum (STARail)