|March 30, 2017
Approximate time: 1812
Weather Conditions: Clear, turning to heavy down pours
This evening, we were contacted by one of our customers requesting us to respond to Avondale for one of their dump
trailers that had overturned while unloading a load of powdered grain. We were advised that the unit had overturned
and was on top of a loaded propane rail car. They advised that they were working to make contact with representatives
from the railroad regarding the tank car.
With the information given, we immediately dispatched two of our heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units along with
Null's Recovery & Site Restoration to the scene.
Upon arrival, a Mack Granite tractor was found to be hooked to a three axle frame style dump trailer. The trailer was
loaded with a powdered grain. The trailer was in the process of unloading when it overturned. The body portion of the
trailer was raised approximately four sections of the telescopic cylinder when it overturned onto the driver's side. The
trailer's tarp contained a majority of the load as the trailer overturned. The body portion of the trailer was now laying
parallel to the rail car with the tarp which had the load contained underneath the belly of the rail car. There was a chain
link fence separating the customer's yard from the rail yard. The trailer, while in the process of overturning, became
entangled in the fence. Several of the posts could be seen and were wedged in between the floor of the dump body and
the frame rails. There were several posts unaccounted for and were believed to have punctured the side wall of the
trailer. Due to how the trailer was laying against the rail car, it was very difficult to evaluate the damages and conditions
to the driver's side of the body.
The trailer's frame was severely twisted with the back axles approximately 80% overturned. There were 16 bolts holding
the hinge pin where the trailer body mounted to the trailer frame, four of those 16 bolts were sheared off. The frame was
compromised where these bolts went through. There were several obvious buckles in the trailer frame. The telescopic
cylinder that was utilized for raising the trailer to the dumped position was still attached as it should be to the dump body
portion of the trailer, however, where the cylinder connected to the trailer frame, was bent and partially torn loose from
the trailer's frame.
The tractor's frame was twisted. The drive axles on the passenger's side, were lifted approximately one foot off of the
ground. A majority of the weight on the passenger side steer axle tire was lifted. The tractor was nearing the point of
completely overturning. The truck was twisted severely enough to break one of the mirror brackets, and the frame had
a visible bend in it. There was a very minor hydraulic oil leak under the tractor, which was contained.
There was some of the load that had spilled out of the trailer in a dust form from the impact with the ground.
There was a great amount of pressure from the trailer body pushing against the rail car. This was creating a very
We were advised that the rail yard had personnel enroute and were requesting that nothing be moved until their safety
personnel were onscene and could determine if the rail car was damaged and or leaking.
Our operators spoke with our customer who advised that they were concerned about the load leaking out of the trailer,
especially with the forecasted heavy rains and proximity of the water way. The customer requested that we handle the
clean-up of the spilled product and also requested that we transport the involved vehicles and cargo to our facility.
Our operators worked to establish a recovery plan. The initial recovery plan was to use one of the heavy duty sliding
rotator recovery units to support the trailer frame in the position that it currently was in along with holding the tractor
from overturning, while the second heavy duty sliding rotator recovery unit lifted and held the body portion of the trailer
from moving. Once the unit was stabilized, the remainder of the bolts connecting the trailer frame and trailer body would
be removed. Once the bolts were removed, the trailer frame would be separated from the body and lowered back to the
upright position. Once the trailer frame was upright, the heavy duty sliding rotator recovery unit that was used to lower
the trailer frame upright would lift the pressure off of the telescopic cylinder so that the pin could be cut and the cylinder
removed from the trailer frame. Once the cylinder was removed, the hydraulic hose from the cylinder would be
disconnected. NR&SR would place containment equipment to ensure no oil was spilled. The cylinder would then be
collapsed with the hydraulic oil being collected into a disposal drum by NR&SR. Once the cylinder was collapsed, it
would be secured to the trailer body portion. The tractor and the trailer frame could then be moved from the area.
The second heavy duty sliding rotator recovery unit would reposition and rig to lift the front portion of the trailer body
portion. The two heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units would work together to bring the body, while maintaining the
tarp which was holding the load in the trailer, away from the rail car. Once the trailer body was away from the rail car, it
would be lifted back to an upright position. Once upright, the trailer body still containing the load which hadn't already
spilled out would be set directly onto our Landoll trailer. The trailer body would be secured to the Landoll and moved
from the immediate area so that clean up could begin.
The recovery plan was presented to representatives onscene who were in agreeance with the plan.
At this point, personnel from the rail yard were onscene. Meters and other safety equipment were put in service to
determine if indeed there was any structural damage to the rail car or leaks. We were advised by rail yard personnel
that there were no apparent leaks. The recovery plan was presented to the rail yard safety person, he gave the go
ahead to begin working.
With the approval of the plan, our Landoll trailer was dispatched to the scene. Additionally, NR&SR made arrangements
for the necessary equipment to be dispatched to the scene for the clean up portion of the recovery.
At this point, it was starting to get dark. Two of our portable light towers were set-up to provide our personnel with a safe
Our operators donned their wireless headsets for scene communications.
The heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units were moved into position and set-up on proper work platforms. The one
heavy duty sliding rotator recovery unit was rigged to the trailer frame as planned while the second heavy duty sliding
rotator recovery unit rigged to the body of the trailer. Straps were placed around the entire trailer body in order to cradle
the body's walls to support the load in the trailer. With the unit now stabilized, our personnel worked to remove the
remainder of the bolts that were holding the trailer body and trailer frame together. The trailer frame and body were
separated as planned. The trailer frame was lowered back to an upright position. The cylinder was separated from the
trailer frame as planned. NR&SR had to cut the cylinder mount frame the frame. The truck and trailer were moved clear
of the immediate area.
NR&SR cut two fenders from the trailer body which would have caused clearance issues with loading the trailer body
onto the Landoll trailer. They also cut the fence at the front and rear of the trailer, so that as the body was being
uprighted, the fence which was entangled in the trailer would not cause further damage the adjoining fence that was not
The heavy duty sliding rotator recovery unit which had been utilized to lower the trailer frame and lift the cylinder, was
repositioned. Straps were placed around the front of the trailer in the same fashion as they were at the rear of the
trailer. The two heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units worked together to move and upright the body portion as
planned. The body, which still contained approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of the load, was lifted so that the Landoll trailer could
back underneath of it. Once the Landoll was in position, the trailer's body was lowered down onto dunnage on the deck
of the Landoll. The trailer body was secured so that it could be moved from the immediate area. The rigging was
Both of the heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units were returned to travel position.
The Mack tractor and trailer frame were separated. One of the heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units hooked to the
front of the trailer frame. The trailer was secured to the under reach. Wireless towlights and secondary attachments
were installed. Air was supplied to the trailer to lift the third axle and release the brakes. The other heavy duty sliding
rotator recovery unit hooked to the rear of the tractor. Wireless towlights and secondary attachments were installed on it
as well. The steering was secured and the exhaust was covered.
The scene was turned over to Null's Recovery & Site Restoration to handle the clean up and removal of the load that
had spilled out along with the fluids that had leaked from the unit.
The truck, trailer frame, and trailer body were transported from the incident scene to Null's of Cochranville. Once at our
facility, the two heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units placed the truck and trailer in our secure storage facility. They
both unhooked from the truck and trailer.
The trailer's body was positioned in our storage area as well. The two heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units were
moved into position to lift the body off of our Landoll trailer. The heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units set up on a
work platform. Rigging was connected to the trailer in a fashion in which the trailer's body was cradled. The trailer's body
was lifted off of the Landoll and set onto the ground. The rigging was removed. The two heavy duty sliding rotator
recovery units were returned to travel position.
All of the rigging that was utilized on the job was thoroughly cleaned to remove the dust and debris from the site. The
rigging was then inspected and placed back in its respective location.
Our trucks and equipment were made ready for the next call.