Sunday, January 11, 2015

MoW: Track Renewal and CWR Rail Trains

(Update: photos of an empty rail carrier parked in NS Bluefield, WV Yard.)

CWR stands for Continuous Welded Rail. It replaced 39' jointed rails with quarter-mile rails that are welded together.

Mark Hinsdale posted three photos with the comment:
"Bending the Iron"
A loaded Norfolk Southern to BNSF welded rail train eases past "MH" Tower in Chicago on its way to Western Avenue Yard. In the six years I have lived here, this is first rail train to take this path that I have seen. Those of you that tend to think of heavy steel rail as not being particularly flexible might have a little different perspective after viewing these pics! Kind thanks to all that helped me keep track of this one through the afternoon today.
Paul Schlichting This is Union ave. you have to be one your "A" game when running though here, you deal with 3 different dispatchers and there are 5 absolute signals in less than a mile
Dennis DeBruler And you can see in the background that the train is still curving around the Jefferson Connection: http://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../jefferson...

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Flickr photos of a rail train coming and going.

Willie O. Thigpen posted
Rail train tied down at the CSX Thomasville Ga yard, rail replacement scheduled between Quitman and Valdosta Ga, slowly eliminating joint rail spots throughout the CSX Bowline.


A video of a track laying machine that does a good job of showing how it works. A video of a CSX rail train in transport. Another video of a rail train on the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern RR. I hope the rail is for their track because I have read that they had been skimping on maintenance. At least skip forward to the end of the train to see the cars that lay the track. Notice that the rail simply flexes as the train goes around curves. Herzog's Rail Unloading machine includes a video of it in action.

A video by UP showing their Track Renewal Train 909 in operation. (I could not find a direct link to the video. Hopefully, I can always get to it by going to the Video section of their media center.)
If you can sit through the "yah rah UP" narratives, you do get quite a bit of interesting information. Unfortunately all the shots except for the gantry cars are closeups. (And there is too much time devoted to the gantry cars.) It would have been nice to provide some context for the closeups.

Amtrak
Fortunately, Amtrak has an overview picture of the part of the train where both the old and new rails are on the outside and the ties are being replaced. Note that they are replacing jointed rail with continuous welded rail. They load the jointed rail on a rail train rather than take it apart. What surprised me is that this train is rather old technology, 1978. I also found an Amtrak video. The Amtrak video makes me wonder how many times the UP train came to a stop. Since the UP video was heavily edited, there could have easily been video of glitches that were left on the editing floor. Wow, the next video I happened to look at also had some "down time." It looks like the machine in this third video is just replacing ties, not rail.

Donald Haskel posted seven images with the comment:
Amtrak rail and tie replacement. at the front a machine picks pulls the spikes holding the rail to the ties. This pictured machine lifts the rail and shoves it to the side then pushes the old ties off to the side.Then new ties are planted and new rail placed and spiked in place with screw in bolts. other machines bolt the lengths of ribbon rail.(every 1200 feet). A trail party follows picking up ties plates, spikes and various pieces of not need material. the final two major steps are tamping the ballast to assure track is level and ties soundly embedded. The final step to assure track is in gauge and properly leveled and super elevated. This track has to hold up to the forces of 120 miles per hour Acela trains Regional trains commuter rail and freights trains. thousand of trains per month.It looks simple but really is not. A relative asked me to post this story and pictures. My pleasure. If anyone can add correct this, I would appreciated it.. Photos from Donald Haskel Collection, Ted Moxham Photographer.
 Steve LaBonte shared
Brendan J Dock Old CN Canac P8-11 iirc
40 years old now

Ian Wall Old Canron split plow regulator as well.
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Satellite
Then when I was studying a UP branch that is now a stub, I noticed a train that is almost 4000-feet long setting on that stub. I'm pretty sure it is a Maintenance of Way train because of all of the empty flats that look like they have rails on them. There were many more of the "green cars" in the consist. The question is what are the different looking cars at the top.

I noticed that both Amtrak and UP are using concrete ties. BNSF did a lot of tie replacement work this summer in the CB&Q "racetrack" between Aurora and Chicago, and they still use wood. I didn't come across too many piles of ballast. But they all had granite. I wonder where they import it from. All the quarries around here are probably dolostone. Certainly not granite. I'm sure that granite wears much better than dolostone. At least BNSF can ship granite at wholesale prices.

Update: Scott Hoof posted nine photos with the comment: "J022-25 railtrain Nappanee,IN 3-25-15."

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I wasn't going to include a picture of the engines until I discovered from The Diesel Shop that 2267 was a "Road Slug." I emailed Craig a question about "Road Slug," and this is his explanation:
  • A “slug” places greater pulling power (tractive force) at the control of the locomotive engineer. In the past, a slug was not cheap to build, because of all of the work, and time required to convert an existing old locomotive. It entailed the removal of the cab, control stand, engine  and support equipment. The carboy profile was often reduced for better visibility from the controlling unit, and new ballast added. The traction motors remained intact and were wired directly to the “mother” unit. This approach reduced fuel costs substantially, without a significant sacrifice in pulling power. The concept was well suited to yard duties and conditions.
  • CSX re-thought the concept and created the road slug. The new approach eliminated the need for extensive carbody changes.  Moreover, the engine (which was disconnected from the traction motors and fuel system) was left in place to help achieve the needed ballast. The locomotive controls were mu’d allowing the engineer to operate the train from either the locomotive cab or road slug cab, depending upon which one was leading. Additionally, the cab of a road slug was far less noisy, and thus more comfortable.
Update: There is at least one manufacture of rail in America --- Steel Dynamic. But UP invested over $18 million dollars in a port in California to make using rail from Japan more economical. A UP video of the Pacific Spike ship. The three cranes that are used to unload it are part of the ship.

Indiana Railroads shared
Indiana has at least a couple major railroad suppliers. SDI in Whitley County is one of them.
Whitley County Economic Development Corporation posted
MANUFACTURING MONTH FACT: Did you know that local company, SDI is the only rail supplier in the Western Hemisphere that rolls its rail to a finished length of 320 ft.?! That's FOUR TIMES longer than all other domestic suppliers!
Photo shared from Steel Dynamics.


A consist of a CSX rail train from a Facebook posting by Hank Stephens. The train was picking up old rails from along side the tracks so the consist gives names to the various cars that help guide the rails into the racks.

SD40-2 #8089
GP15T #1534
CSXT ex FGE 50ft RBL boxcar converted to tool car
CR threader car
CR feeder car
CR RAPU puller car
CR feeder car
CSX ex C&O end tie down car
CSX ex C&O intermediate rack cars (total of 15 cars)
CSX ex C&O middle tie down car
CSX ex C&O intermediate rack cars (total of 12 cars)
CSX ex C&O end tie down car
CSX ex Chessie bay window caboose

Joe Dockrill posted
Tim Parrott posted
EJ&E 657 west leads a wb rail train on the CN Freeport sub in Rockford il !!
[
A reminder that CN now owns both IC and EJ&E. Its nice to see that the east/west IC route, not just the north/south "mainline," is getting upgrades.]
Jdoc Jdoc posted
Joe Dockrill shared
wow, heard of this but never saw it, the rail train blues
Joe DockrillGroup Admin broken knuckle=ouchie
Donald Klecan Ron...how does one go about putting this back together? Still kinda new in the track department.
Ron Pienig Donald Klecan. You don’t. You torch cut the rail at both cars and drag the pieces into the ditch. The pieces were picked up later with rail pickup unit.
Terry Clark Touchwood and we laid it later in 300 to 700 ft pieces after we cut out the bent parts.
Fernando Pereira I was ther out of this got lots new rail to fix rough spots arround Nokomis.

Steve Fluck posted
Greg Largent Gonna have to hike the torch setup and water in to this, looks pretty remote.

Steve Fluck shared
Rex Vint Got to get the main line open , looks like the tie-down car about a car or two away . Depending on direction of movement, pull the rail cars and let the rail fall to the ground . Torch the rail and move the rail clear of the track . Open the railroad to traffic and make arrangements for a set of power cars to reload the rail on another rail train . Tough job either way it’s done . Rail’s laying on it’s side and upside down on the train , gotta handle it one piece at a time . And I wouldn’t want to be the man doing the cutting of the rail .
Allen Pierson Rex Vint I’ve been that man. 132 lb. rail 32 strings blocking the Pittsburgh main line at Conway. Pa 1979.
Rex Vint Dangerous work .

James R Hansen posted
Herzog Rail Unloading Machine CN Wisconsin

Brian Heather Butler posted two photos with the comment: "Turning a 10 minute job into 10 hours."
Brian Heather Butler Mark Erps we were actually not loading or unloading, just getting in position to unload. Went around a sharp curve, rail fell out of cradle so when back on straight track it had to go somewhere. Made for interesting day.
Jimmy Owens Out of 39 years I ran a rail train for 35 seen Lot that look like that.
Arthur Mitchell I've had worse. We were unloading ribbon rail on a steep grade. When the anchor car pulled the last rail clamp the rail took off like it was shot from a cannon. When the end of the rail stuck in the ground the rest of the rail continued to run. We got two sharp double bends on both sides of the train. We had to reanchor the rail and cut off the bent up rail.
John Potts First picture looks like it was fouling the main.
Brian Heather Butler John Potts it was. Luckily no trains lined up before we got dispatcher to lock out tracks beside us.
Dick Pahls Can happen on high degree curve or wye, end of string pulls beyond cradle in last car and upon return to tangent string must go somewhere.
Brian Heather Butler Dick Pahls exactly what happened. Rail should have been loaded beyond cradle or short of cradle to prevent this but your exactly right.
John Ratigan Last time I seen that a guy lost his leg. His retirement paperwork was in and 3 weeks to go.
[Comments indicate the rail will be cut out with torches and scrapped.]
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Mark Llanuza posted
Dennis DeBruler I knew rail was rather flexible, but the tight radius of the southeast connector demonstrates how flexible it is. https://www.google.com/maps/@42.0025289,-88.2344206,255m/data=!3m1!1e3
Leandro Ribeiro posted
“But how do you transport rails that are 240 meters (262yd) long? Do you shape them into curves beforehand?”
Those are two of the first questions that people asked me when I ~try~ to explain what I used to do and/or when we received visitors that were not used to this specific process of the Rail industry. So, I use this picture to show how some 240 meters Long Welded Rails are loaded into special railcars and how they “shape” themselves up whenever needed. It may seem tough but they can handle deformation with ease. This picture was taken in AnĂ¡polis (Brazil) while the train was switching tracks inside a crossing yard.
Bill Guthrie One of my jobs was walking the rail through the cars to make sure it was threading through right. VERY DANGEROUS JOB.David L. Holmes Billy Carter yes I had close friend get caught with rail while walking it through. Hand was crushed.Jan Niemann Before I put an 240m in track (curve with a radius of 500m or more) I bend 10m at the points. If the radius is less than 500m I bend the full length (240m)Lou Thelen A rail train my employer was using to deliver rail had a couple rails come loose on a 15 degree curve on a wye.Jesse David Ellison Love it when the yard master says "Pull in and cut the crossing."Vernon Davidson Jesse David Ellison 
A loaded rail train was sent out with only 2 units going west. One unit went belly-up in the river canyon just before the line exited that canyon that had a steep grade, too much for only the one remaining unit. The engineer call
ed the dispatcher to tell him when he couldn't pull the grade, and the dispatcher couldn't understand why the engineer told him they couldn't just cut the train in half and take the first half to the next siding, then return for the second half of the train.
(new window) During the transition from jointed rail to CWR, Sante Fe would create 1440' long rails from 39' rails using their own welding facilities.


Barry Sprofera posted two photos with the comment: "Rail replacements on the Transcon. Work train and Herzog crew wb at Darling AZ."
[My first impression was that HyRail trucks must be getting pretty strong to pull that load. But then I noticed there is another rubber+steel wheeled vehicle behind it.]
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John W Chamberlain posted
The end of the ribbon was left in the wrong place. To close to a part of the vertical superstructure. Going around multiple curves and the little slack action in the train caused the end of the rail ran up to the upright and as the pressure built and caused the ribbon to jump out of the pocket . Cut 14 ft off the end to keep the rail from running into the superstructure for the rest of the trip. all the anchors held and had nothing to do with heat.
Ron Seidner Had a loaded rail train break a knuckle in the middle. Pretty much scrapped the whole train. Had to cut every piece twice.

Brendan J Dock posted
when you break a knuckle on a rail train, get the torches out
Daryl Statome This happened in the little town I live in Va. NS railtrain split apart in the middle and went down the track for about a mile.
Allen Pierson I had to cut one apart one time 36 strings of 132 lb. rail. Cars split switch and pulled apart . Thank god for 4 ft. Torches. Started on bottom row and worked up. Last row was a bitch.
Robert Burke Allen Pierson been there done that. ..aarrgghh
Allen Pierson Robert Burke
Takes lots of nerves and telling white hat I charge if you want to go faster here is the torch. He always walked away.
Richard Tucker Allen Pierson Rail steel breaks so easy and can do crazy things.
Steve Villalovoz Hate to be the welder that has to cut that twisted stuff.
Robert Shannon Steve Villalovoz right I hate to be that welder too! But when train full of brand new vehicles hit the ground they smash all them up for recycle but when Railroads hits the ground with Rail they try to save every square inch of it. LOL
Steve Loving UP derailed a rail train, pulled all the rail out brought out an empty one loaded it back up and used it. I was the lucky SOB that got to relay it, welding gang stay busy after we cut all the bends out!!!
[I think they should have put the red flag on the rail sticking out to the side. That is what is out of clearance. I wonder how close the ends are to rail side equipment such as crossing gates and signal masts. But the letter of the rule probably says put the flag on the maximum overhang. As if that flag is going to help anything.]

Sean William commented on Bredan's post
Remember this one?

Sean William commented on Bredan's post
Terry Clark Touchwood. We had to sort that junk out after. It was custom welded. We relayed all the 3hb off the east switch in lengths of 100 to 400 ft.

Marty Bernard posted six photos of rail handling back in when 39' rail was still being used.
NS Rail Yard Photos
Daune Hall took this interesting series of shots in August 1985. 
Marty Bernard shared
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In these last two photos they are making panel turnout.

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NS 3325 leads a rail train (L48) back from SDI in Ft Wayne Indiana on the CF&E

A video of BNSF rail train rolling through Blue Island Junction.
Jeff Lewis Where would the rail be coming from?
Larry Amaloo Steel Dynamics Incorporated in Columbia City Indiana. CF&E delivers the trains to IHB Blue Island Yard.


A video of how they used to lay rail when all of the machines were still steam driven.

31 photos of CSX MoW equipment starting with a rail train.

The comments of this post have several photos.

YouTube video of the rails on a runaway train piercing a locomotive. (source)


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