Schnabel car makes it to Pittsburgh

The world’s largest rail car is the Schnabel car, or as Bill Bingman, the Schnabelmeister, calls it, the CEBX800. It has spent a large part of its life in Duluth waiting for the few jobs that call for the world’s largest rail car. Engineers are not dumb and they don’t build things that can’t be delivered to the customer, so they don’t build anything bigger than the world’s largest railcar if they will need to transport anything by rail. When they build it for the Schnabel car, it is brought to Duluth by ship and discharged at the Port Terminal directly onto the Schnabel car, where Bill and his crew take over.
When the Schnabel car is loaded, as she is just above while coming over the Grassy Point Bridge from Duluth to Superior on December 1st, 2005 on her way to Alberta, the cargo actually becomes a part of the car as it is carried between two holding sections. Click either picture for larger version.
There may be some changes coming. Several weeks ago, Bill came into town to take the car to Georgia for some heavy lift work. It is not clear if it will ever be back here, although probably, it has never been very clear where it will go or be used since it was built in 1980 in Germany.
When Bill told me he had to take the car to New Castle, Pennsylvania (just outside Pittsburgh) for some maintenance work, I was overjoyed. Having grown up in the Pittsburgh area, I naturally have a Duluth Shipping News office there. Until now, my staff there has not had much to do. I called to alert them to their first task in over 16 years, greet Bill and his car, get some pictures of them with Bill and the car and send them to me.
The car made good time on the way to Chicago but a train wreck in Indiana delayed things for a week. By the time he made it to New Castle, Bill had no time left to visit as he had to leave very quickly for Georgia. He found someone in the yard to take this picture and told me he might be back in the Spring. Sadly, I have had to lay off my Pittsburgh staff there again, at least until the spring.


The Edwin H. Gott (background), the most powerful vessel on the Great Lakes, arrived this morning (January 4, 2012) at 7:11. She is here to load fuel and then go over to Burlington Northern to load iron ore pellets. The Schnabel car (foreground) has been in the Twin Ports for several years. She is the largest rail car in the world and will also be leaving Duluth late  this morning, to go over to the BN rail yard where she will be connected to a BN train that will take her to New Castle, Pennsylvania for some minor additions to the car before leaving for some big hauling work in Georgia in the nuclear power industry, the industry she was originally built for in Germany in 1980. More information about the Schnabel car, click here

The Schnabelmeister comes to town

The world’s largest railcar spends most of its time in Duluth. Occasionally, it has to go to work for a refinery that wants a big, big piece of equipment moved. It is the CEBX Schnabel 800; it is big and red. And it is taken care of by the Schnabelmeister who drops in a couple times a year to check it out, and occasionally to take it away on a long slow trip. He usually brings it back here when he is finished. He will go out again on Friday, taking his big red rail car down the tracks between I-35 and the St Louis River from Garfield Ave to the Grassy Point bridge and then to Superior. The next day, he will leave for Chicago and up to Toronto. After picking up a 130-foot piece, he will take it, slowly, to a refinery in Kansas, and then hopefully, bring it back here. That’s the Schnabel car above over at the Port Terminal today. And that’s the Schnabelmeister below, directing Zoran Pedisic from Lake Superior Warehousing, while he carefully lifts the Schnabelmeister’s red tool shed onto a rail car that will trail the big one on the trip.

Moving the Schnabel car

Spring time is a time to go outside and get some exercise. It turns out rail road cars also need exercise. The world’s largest rail car is the Schnabel, Model CEBX-800. When not in use, it is kept at the Port Terminal. It has been there since it was used to carry a very large piece of equipment from Duluth to an oil sands project in Alberta in December, 2005. William Bingman is the Schnabelmeister. He is on the car when it is in use; otherwise, he is in Hawaii. But he does come here once a year (not in the winter) to give a yearly maintenance check to the car. It is only connected to a locomotive when it is going somewhere; otherwise it stays in one place. On Tuesday, Bingman borrowed Zoran Pedisic, stevedore at Lake Superior Warehousing Company, and a rather large lift truck, connected the two together and asked Pedisic to move it up and down the track for a few laps to make sure the wheels were rotated and in good working order. In the picture above, that’s the Schnabel behind Pedisic. It is bright red. The Schnabelmeister is watching every rotation but is not in the picture.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-26-2007

Schnabel gobble

There is a lot of activity today in the port; too bad for US sailors on a holiday but good for visiting relatives in Duluth. The last of the Canada bound cargo from the Dutch flagged ship Stellaprima was discharged last evening. It will soon be loaded onto the waiting US owned and operated Westinghouse 36-axle Schnabel car, the largest rail car in the world. Above, William Bingman, the Schnabelmeister, (upper left) looks carefully at the cargo he will soon take to Alberta. Today, the only sound from the Port Terminal is a Schnabel gobble.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-24-2005

Stellaprima to Schnabel

It takes a lot of experts (above) to prepare to discharge a thick walled high pressure vessel for the refining industry, one of the largest pieces of equipment to ever move out of the port, from the heavy lift ship Stellaprima onto the 36-axle Schnabel car, the world’s largest capacity railcar. Above, the experts worked out the plans at the Port Authority on Monday. Today, they move the big red Schnabel car over next to the Stellaprima to begin the complicated process.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-22-2005