Towing a 294-Foot Trailer Through Small Town USA Looks Really Hard

Illustration for article titled Towing a 294-Foot Trailer Through Small Town USA Looks Really Hard
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Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Pulling a shipping container down the highway is one thing, but moving a piece of industrial equipment that’s almost 300 feet long and weighs 403,486 pounds is a straight-up logistical nightmare. This gargantuan operation involves a tow truck and a push truck, and trailers with turning wheels.

An operating demethanizer tower would be found in a natural gas refinery. By controlling the temperature and pressure of its contents, a tower like this is used to separate chemicals so they can be extracted individually. At least, that’s what I was able to glean from some cursory research on the American Chemical Society website.


I was much more interested in how the heck such an enormous trailer can be shunted through small American towns without ripping down any power lines or pancaking parked cars.

The short story is that a small detail of police block intersections and part traffic for the lumbering road train, while escorts watch sides and back to avoid collisions. During turns, trailer operators can actually get out and not only let the cargo mount swivel on the tops of the trailers, but also turn the wheels of the trailers themselves to maximize the whole setup’s turning radius.

As for handling the weight, not one but two big diesel trucks move all this mass, with one pulling and one pushing.

It’s a Herculean effort for a whole lot of people, but when something this large gets built in Dubai and has to be used in Texas, it’s gotta get moved somehow.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles


Erik Schelzig

There’s a lot of communities here in Tennessee that could use a de-methanizer.