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Customized SENNEBOGEN Proves Made-To-Order For Stella-Jones’ Rail Tie Yard

Roland Machinery helped Stella-Jones customize three SENNEBOGEN 818s for picking and loading rail ties with a customized grapple and a boom-mounted camera to give operators a better view into the rail cars they are loading.

Bangor, WI – Handling nearly a million railroad ties each year, the Stella-Jones site in Bangor, Wisconsin is about as specialized as a wood yard can be. When Division Manager Liz Russell went shopping for a new material handler, it just made sense to acquire a machine that’s as specialized as the job.

Now, almost a year after delivery, Russell’s new SENNEBOGEN 818 M E-Series machines have proven to be a perfect fit. The company worked closely with SENNEBOGEN and Roland Machinery to select and outfit the machines.

Bangor is one of 14 Stella-Jones locations in North America that produce railroad ties. The facility receives untreated crossties and switch ties from sawmills across the Midwest and then trims the ends, adds end plates to prevent splitting and separates them by length, grade and species. After drying, the crossties are treated with creosote and bundled for shipping.

“We knew for a while that we wanted to do something different with our material handlers,” Russell continues. “The team at Roland was great about getting the information and the specs we needed. When we had the opportunity to switch machines, we were ready and trusted them to help us do that.”

At Stella-Jones’ rail tie facility in Bangor, WI, SENNEBOGEN 818 material handlers help ensure that the 140-acre site runs smoothly and efficiently. “They are moving all of the time,” said Division Manager Liz Russell. “Our operators are either loading or unloading ties for the entire 18 hours a day.”

Specially equipped to move more ties
Weighing in at 48,060 lb. (21,800 kg) and powered by a 132 HP (98 kW) Cummins engine, the rubber-tired 818 M is a nimble but powerful unit that’s right at home in heavy log-loading duties. The machines typically work on the facility’s operating pad, loading and unloading ties before and after treatment. They are also used to help load and unload trucks and rail cars, as well as to transport ties around the yard.

The Bangor staff took the 818s to the next level with a few customized features. The first upgrade was to fit the machines with Stella-Jones’ specialized grapple, developed over years of experience. As Maintenance Supervisor Rick Magnuson explains, “This grapple allows us to knife through ice and snow so we can handle the ties in the winter. It lets us use the material handlers instead of forklifts to move the stacks of ties.

“We also added a camera on the boom of the machine. Even with the elevating cabs on the 818s, it can still be tough to see to the bottom of a railcar when loading or unloading it. Randy helped us install monitors in the cabs and suggested using a magnet on the camera until we determined the best location to place it. When we made our final decision, we mounted the cameras and added some protection around them. Those additions have made a huge difference.”

“Good bones” for reliability
Custom features fit the machine to the job, but it takes good bones to put in the hours that the Bangor yard requires. The facility receives about 25 truckloads of ties per day, with additional loads arriving by rail every other day. The crossties from this facility, along with switch ties ranging up to 25 ft. (7.6 m) in length, are shipped out to railroads throughout North America.

“When we show up in the morning, we know the SENNEBOGENs are going to operate all day,” Russell said confidently. “We run two, nine-hour shifts, and we are moving 3,000 to 4,000 lb. (1,361 to 1,814 kg) loads of crossties approximately 5,000 times per shift, so reliability is very important to us. The reputation of both SENNEBOGEN and Roland Machinery made it an easy choice to go with the 818s.”

Rick Magnuson concurs. “We were attracted to SENNEBOGEN because it specializes in building material handlers,” he says. “We run them hard every day, and they continue to perform. We also love their Cummins engines.”

“All of the Stella-Jones locations want to be the best they can be, and we all share information and operating practices,” Russell concludes. “After the success we’ve had with them, I think there will be some other locations that will look to add SENNEBOGENs as well.”


SENNEBOGEN has been a leading name in the global material handling industry for over 65 years. Based in Stanley, North Carolina, within the greater Charlotte region, SENNEBOGEN LLC offers a complete range of purpose-built machines to suit virtually any material handling application. Established in America in the year 2000, SENNEBOGEN LLC has quickly become a leading provider of specialized equipment solutions for recycling and scrap metal yards, demolition, barge and port operations, log-handling, transfer stations, waste facilities and the tree care industry from coast to coast. A growing network of distributors supports SENNEBOGEN LLC sales and service across the Americas, ensuring the highest standard of professional machine support and parts availability.

For more information on the full line of SENNEBOGEN green line material handlers, contact:

1957 Sennebogen Trail
Stanley, NC 28164
Tel: (704) 347-4910 or fax (704) 347-8894