Western Star Takes to the Rails

Western Star Truck Helps Portland's Interstate MAX Get Up And Running on New Line

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PORTLAND, OREGON ...When engineers with Portland, Oregon's Interstate Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light rail project were ready to test track and power line clearances, they turned to a Western Star heavy-duty truck for help in hauling a MAX train onto the rails.

MAX engineers used a highly customized Western Star 4900 SA heavy-duty truck to haul the 100-ton MAX train onto the new railway alignment for the first time. To ensure smooth travel along those lines, the 4900 SA was specially outfitted by Canada-based Brandt Industries. Steel wheels guided the truck on rails while the tandem tires stayed on the track to drive the vehicle.

"The 4900 SA is an excellent all-around truck and one of our most versatile models," said Cary Gatzke, Engineering Director for Western Star. "The 4900 SA is adaptable to a wide range of commercial vehicle jobs and we are very pleased the truck was able to meet the Interstate MAX challenge.

"We're especially happy that a Western Star was able to show off its capabilities in Portland, Ore., where these trucks are built."

Western Star trucks are produced at the Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant on Swan Island, in Portland, Ore.

The 4900 SA line of vehicles feature a single steer front axle range of up to 20,000 pounds and tandem steer axles to 40,000 pounds. The rear axle capacity ranges up to 58,000 pounds. A full range of manual, automated, and automatic transmissions also are available. Engines vary in horsepower. All 4900 SA Line vehicles come standard with a high-visibility hood.

The 4900 SA truck used in the Interstate MAX line test is owned by TriMet. TriMet provides public transit for much of three counties in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. TriMet operates the 38-mile MAX light rail line, 100 bus routes and service for seniors and people with disabilities.

Civil construction on the $350 million MAX light rail extension is 80 percent complete. When it opens in September 2004, Interstate MAX will add 10 stations along the 5.8-mile line, bringing fast, reliable transit service to the northern part of the city of Portland.

"We're very proud a Western Star truck played a part in getting the new MAX line up and running," Gatzke said.

Western Star Trucks, headquartered in Willoughby, Ohio, produces heavy-duty custom trucks for long-haul and vocational applications. Western Star is a member of the Freightliner LLC Group. Freightliner is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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