Boeing airplanes

Here’s where those planes on trains are going

Yesterday I posted this photo of one of  the planes-on-a-train I spotted during my walk in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

It’s not all that uncommon to see a trainload of these green fuselages going by, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to stop and snap a (non-blurry) photo.

It took no time at all for members of the avgeek community to answer my question about where these plane came from and were heading to:

“That is a 737 fuselage headed from Wichita [KS] to Renton [WA]  where the main 737 factory is located. They go through the Cascade Tunnel along Highway 2 and down the coast line from Everett to Seattle,” wrote a reader named Bruce.

Brian DeRoy, a former Boeing communicator, weighed in with more information:

“These are fuselages that come from Spirit Aerospace, in Wichita.  They ship them to the Renton factory where the wings, engines and all the interior stuff is done. Additionally, the train flat beds are specially made and, yes, need to be low enough to get through tunnels. They are a daily site here as the 737 factory cranks out more than 1 plane per day.”

DeRoy reminded me that while planes-on-a-train are not an uncommon sight here in Seattle, they shipping process doesn’t always work out perfectly: in 2014 a train with six 737 fuselages derailed in Montana, sending three future planes down an embankment. All six – made of aluminum and titanium – were eventually scrapped and recycled.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with information.

Photo by Kyle Massick



Planes on a train

I’ve toured the Boeing factory in Everett, WA a few times, but still don’t know enough about building airplanes to tell you where this airplane part was headed.

But I can tell you that in Seattle it is not that unusual to see a trainload of these parts going through town.

I snapped this pic on a walk through Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood yesterday on the way to the beach. There were lots of other folks on the path, but no one else seemed as entertained about this train-on-a-plane scene as I was.

Hoping one of our avgeek readers can share details on where these parts end up.