What packages go by train and why?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by pkgman001, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. pkgman001

    pkgman001 New Member

    I read somewher that UPS puts an average of 3,000 trailers on trains each day. How do they decide which go on trains vs road? I know that CACH sends a huge number of loads to So Cal-but does it always go by train, or does it depend on the day of week? We were on vaca in New Mexico two years ago, a train comes by going at least 80 MPH, at least half of it was UPS trailers, not a single FedEx that I could see. Well, the family was impressed!
  2. beentheredonethat

    beentheredonethat Well-Known Member

    We use the train for destinations that are a decent distance away. Also, the train is actually sometimes slower then driving it over the road, so if the commit time is very tight. (For ex from MA, NC\SC is two transit days, also from MA, S NJ is 2 transit days away). It's real easy to hit NJ in two total days, but NC\SC are a long way away. So we need a fast method for those tight windows. The good thing about rail is all the UPS trailers on the rail end up needing a lot less fuel \ CO2 then if we put them all on the road with trucks.
  3. pkgman001

    pkgman001 New Member

    Hadn't thought of the fuel/CO2 savings. Doesn't this give us a big advantage in that department over FedEx? . If we're putting 3,000 trailers on trains each day, that should be most of the ground packages that travel 750 miles or more. I hope the sales people are using that info with customers. I'll be willing to bet that there are very few customers who know this. I assume that all of the packages are ground??
  4. beentheredonethat

    beentheredonethat Well-Known Member

    Mostly ground, but 3DS service will go also depending if it can make service.
  5. Old International

    Old International Now driving a Sterling

    Rail works best when the haul is over 500 miles. I know that Atlanta gets several trains a day in from the west coast and CACH.
  6. thebrownbox

    thebrownbox New Member

    hmm so if I order something that comes from the west coast what are the odds of it being on a train using the ground service?
  7. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    Fairly high.
  8. RoyalFlush

    RoyalFlush One of Them

    It costs less to go by rail. No other reason.
  9. SoyFish

    SoyFish Member

    I'd guess if you can't drive it there quick...It'd go by train. :shrug:
  10. overallowed

    overallowed Active Member

    I was told long ago by c/s, anyting over2 zones or 3 states goes by rail. Don't know if that is still the case.
  11. pretzel_man

    pretzel_man Well-Known Member

    Cost is always going to be a consideration in anything done in any business. There are a lot of benefits of using the rail (especially for long moves) other than the cost of the movement itself. (I guess these other benefits probably relate to cost somewhere whether calculated or not)

    Scheduling - Its a lot easier to schedule a move for the train than on the ground. Just get it there before the cutoff time and pick up after grounding. Scheduling meet points or sleeper teams to do this is much more difficult.

    Weather - Trains are less susceptible to bad weather. Even though there was a very bad period a couple of years ago, railroads are very reliable.

    There are a lot of good reasons for using the rail. I guess that's why Warren Buffet bought BNSF.


    Equipment Balance - At least it used to be that it was easy to control equipment using the rail. You used to be able to use a rail trailer and only pay to move it one way. The cost of the empty back (and scheduling it) was the railroad's problem. I know this has changed, but rumors are that they may move back to this model.

    Green - I hate to say it. I really do. Railroads are very fuel efficient for the amount of tonnage they move. There are customers that care about this believe it or not.
  12. barnyard

    barnyard KTM rider Staff Member

    Trains magazine has written quite a bit about UPS' relationship with the railroads. If you see a UPS trailer on a train, it is on one of the hottest trains on the rails. They are given dispatch priority over all other trains on the rails. They are also the most expensive trains the railroads run. For a very long time, UPS was the BNSF largest customer (in terms of #volume, tonnage goes to coal.) Then BNSF started refusing to run certain schedules, UP got them (talking out west). Until UP started getting more and more UPS business there were rumors circulating amongst the railroad community that UPS would buy BNSF in order to lower their costs.

    The company that has gained the most because of the trains that UPS demands is Fed Ex. UPS is a large enough customer that it can demand (or at least ask in a really forceful manner) that railroads run a train on a specific schedule. Fed Ex sees those trains and puts their trailers on when they can. Fed Ex does not have the volume to go to any railroad and 'demand' a specific schedule, but they can put their trailers on a train that is already running.
  13. bluehdmc

    bluehdmc Well-Known Member

    The only time I've seen Fedex trailers in a railyard is on a Friday nite Saturday morning. Actually haven't even seen that in a while. If you go to Fedex's website and click on ground service they state they are "Faster to more locations than UPS Ground". People may say they want to be "green" but if cost and time are a consideration, the bottom line is usually the bottom line.
  14. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    FedEx will often load ground with their express in order to maximize capacity on their planes.