Officials say a new refrigerated intermodal container rail and distribution service between Quincy, Wash. and Chicago is quickly growing in popularity with produce shippers in the Pacific Northwest.

This new expedited, door-to-door Pacific Northwest-Chicagoland Express "Cold Train" Intermodal Service began April and involves a partnership between Rail Logistics LC, Overland Park, Kan., and the Port of Quincy (Wash.) Intermodal Terminal. Officials say the service covers more than 2,000 miles in only three days.

Steve Lawson, Rail Logistics' vice president of Intermodal, says weekly bookings of produce (apples, potatoes, etc.) on the Cold Train have increased by more than 40 percent since the service began and. In June, the Cold Train also began shipping cherries from Quincy to the Midwest .

"This service is ideal for shipping Washington State perishable products to Chicago quickly and efficiently," says Lawson. "We are committed to providing a vital link between the growers and producers of Washington State and major retailers operating throughout the Midwest ... In fact, we have added capacity heading into the fall harvest season and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future."

Midwest receivers also are giving good review to the expedited refrigerated intermodal service.

"Like many companies, we have been looking for transportation options that are economical and more environmentally sustainable. The 'Cold Train' has provided us a great new option, with a carbon footprint that's 50% less than an over-the-road truck," says Carl Swartz, a perishables transportation manager at The Kroger Co.

Dave Frizzell is president of Blue Ribbon Transport, a subsidiary of Caito Foods, Indianapolis.

"The PNW-Chicagoland Express Intermodal 'Cold Train' Service has proven to be a cost-effective and speedy new shipping option for our company to ship produce from Washington State to Illinois, Indiana and surrounding markets," he says.

For more information about the "Cold Train," contact Steve Lawson of Rail Logistics at 913-491-0050 or stevel@rrlx.com.

Rail Logistics, LC  is an asset-based third-party logistics firm specializing in offering turn-key rail services to industries throughout North America for both bulk and intermodal shipments. The Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal is a rail cargo handling facility located on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad mainline which runs from Seattle to Chicago. The Intermodal Terminal includes over 10,000 feet of track and a new container maintenance and cleaning facility, with nearly 1 million square feet of cold storage warehousing operated by Columbia Colstor  in close proximity to provide shippers with distribution, cross-dock and storage capacity in and out of Washington State.