Rail delivery has long been one of the most cost-effective means of delivering goods, but when your products are unusually shaped or packaged, sometimes conventional rail transport options present challenges. Such is the case with the 2015 Ford Transit. Whereas its E-Series predecessor was offered in several lengths but essentially one roof height, the new Ford Transit is offered in three roof heights, the tallest of which is a towering 110.1 inches.
Because railcar containers are a standardized height, and have to be designed to clear overpasses, tunnels and bridges, making the railcars externally larger was not an option. Instead, Ford redesigned the inside of the railcars to carry a combination of taller and shorter vehicles by raising the inner deck, putting the taller Transits on the lower deck, and lower-height passenger cars on the upper deck. For Transit models slated for delivery within a 500-mile radius of the Kansas City area, trucks are employed to bring the vans to dealers.
Ford engineers started working on the modified railcars in 2010 when development began on the 2015 Ford Transit. As much as 50 percent of the Transit sales volume is projected to be medium- or high-roof models.