For many years Royce Curry has offered the truck industry some very innovative components that relate to truck steering systems.
His D-train concept offers the promise of greater safety on the nation’s highways by reducing the number of articulation points and by increasing the wheelbase of the tractor unit. It would certainly benefit the commercial transport industry if the D-train truck combination could be adapted to transport shipping containers.
A D-train that could carry shipping containers would need to begin with the appropriate straight truck at the leading end.
At present there are 20 states that are all next to each other in the Southcentral US that allow passage to 45-ft straight trucks.
It is possible to modify a cabover straight truck of 45-feet in these states to carry a 40-ft shipping container (or 2 x 20-ft containers) except that the shipping container would extend beyond the rear of the frame rails.
A 50-ft straight truck can legally be operated in at least three American states and carry a 40-ft container. A cabover straight truck may need to ride on four axles and be lengthened to 47-feet to carry a 40-ft container (or 2 x 20-ft containers).
It may be possible for such a truck to operate in a D-train combination to transport two 40-ft containers along certain selected highways.
There is an old design of 40-ft straight truck that will definitely carry 40-ft shipping container. It is the “cab-under” design that the Teamsters dislike and about which they make strong comments.
The under-frame location of the horizontal engine is something that most maintenance departments would prefer to avoid.
The “cab-under” could form the basis of a D-train that also could transport two 40-ft containers on certain selected highways provided it is driven by non-Teamster drivers.
Many years ago John Long of Cambridge, Ont. pioneered the development of the four-axle articulated-steer, on-highway truck concept known as “Rubber Railroad” that was used as a concrete mixer truck.
That concept can also be modified to carry a 40-ft container and may be able to turn in less road space than a 47-ft “cab-over” or a 40-ft “cab-under.”
The Rubber Railroad could also form the basis of a D-train concept that can carry two 40-ft containers along selected highways and it may also be able to use an A-train dolly to pull the semi-trailer.
While intermodal trains may carry double-stacked shipping containers between major centres, they do not go everywhere that shipping containers need to go.
There may be economic benefit if full-sized shipping containers can be transported in pairs to many destinations and from many points of origin.
A modified D-train combination may offer a greater measure of safety during periods on inclement weather.
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