55 Meter Blade Transport

Client Name: Wind turbine manufacturer
Project Type: From Colorado to New England
Project Location:
Completion Date: 07/31/2012

When a major wind turbine manufacturer in Colorado needed to move blades that were 55 meters long (180 feet) from Colorado to a project site over 1,800 miles away in New England, they turned to TTS to tackle the challenge. These were the largest wind turbine blades that had ever been transported via rail. The project’s most significant challenge was determining how to safely transport the large, fragile blades without damaging them. Clearance requirements were also a major challenge. The TTS engineering team created a unique, custom design to attach the blades to the rail car in a way that allowed them to be transported safely. We utilized a reverse pivot arm and a bolstered arrangement, allowing the blades to negotiate curves better. TTS also managed the project’s clearance process. The final result: we delivered the blades damage-free, on-time and on-budget.

The Solution

The TTS team designed a unique, custom railcar loading configuration that utilized a reverse pivot arm and a bolstered arrangement that allowed the blade to negotiate curves better.  Our engineering team worked with the Engineering and Clearance groups at two Class I railroads to determine the ideal loading arrangement to allow the blade to achieve the physical clearance envelope.  To test the solution, TTS first sent a test shipment of a 55m blade from Colorado to Texas. With that success, we later shipped 150 blades over the course of a few months, from Colorado to New England.
55m Blade

The Challenge

The project’s most significant challenge was determining how to safely transport the largest wind turbine blade that had ever been moved via rail (55 meters/180 feet long) from the client in Colorado to a project site over 1,800 miles away in New England. Designing a load configuration that would allow a blade of this length to be transported presented a significant challenge.
55m Blade

The Results

TTS delivered the blades damage-free to the project site, on-time and on-budget. The customer was very pleased with the results of this challenging project.
55m Blade