Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hot Axles instead of Hot Boxes

I have heard of "hot boxes" when friction bearings were used. The heavy labor requirements of keeping the friction bearings properly oiled and the consequences of letting a bearing go dry is why they were outlawed after roller bearings had become ubiquitous. (Not being able to move old locomotives and cars on regular railroads now causes problems for railroad museums.)

(Update: a derailment apparently caused by the end of an axle being burned off.)

Roller bearings required a high grade of steel, which is why Timken built their own steel plants. Some comments on the posting below imply the bearings are sealed and other comments imply they need to be greased. But since seals can break, it appears that railroads should keep their track-side, excessive-heat detectors working.

Note that this axle was a locomotive axle that got so hot that it broke! Some of the comments imply that railroads still do have "hot box" detectors because they wonder why this hot bearing was not detected long before it softened the axle. The broken axle was probably the middle axle of a three-axle truck, and the other two wheel sets kept it, and the train, on the track.

Joe Dockrill shared
so this is what we watch out for, 1000 words saved
Gilbert Bailey Seen one or two of those!
Paul Schmidt Went back once and we found the burned off axle journal and it was a fairly big piece of steel and a hour or more later it was still quite hot.
Gary Shelley Holloway Paul did a scanner pick it up?
Clarence Lee Hardison Just a little short of lube grease.
Rick LeggettGroup Admin A perfect example of why we should quit being so lazy and standing around on one side of the tracks BS'ing when a train goes by...instead of splitting the crew and performing a serious roll-by inspection.

William Zimmerman posted
A 6x12 inch Timken wheel bearing burned the axle off of a locomotive.
Danny Jayakody LOL, a drop of oil or a dollop of grease in time would have saved the mighty locomotive and possibly a train.
Gregg Carpenter Did the temp stick melt ? If not, good to go !
Mike Gaudreau I saw that this morning , must of had a broken seal 99 lol
Lonesome Dave Conrail, Townley Nj, Defect detected, axle 3. Over.
Ricky Langston That's not good, during the 39 year's I ran train's I don't think I ever had a hot bearing on a locomotive.
Jason Hamby Nice... new traction motor and journal box OTW
William Zimmerman It's was on a rewheel done 3 days earlier [!!!!]
Tom LeClair Had one do that on the Ft. Smith turn one night.
Don Whatley There is a sweet spot on the wheel bearing that has to be on the top dead center of the adaptor. Maybe that was off, as one possibility. Just a guess.
Mike Ellis The hot box detector missed one !
David Vieira I was a Block Operator for Conrail years ago working at CP Rhine hooping on orders. Witnessed this on OPSE one night. Stopped him of course, it lit up the sky as the car approached.
Sean Scollan What no heat sensors!!!!????
James Wagner No detectors along the route ???
Jesse Barnett I was inspecting 100 or so coal cars built in 2008 that had been stored for 3-5 yrs and they were going back into service. All of the cars had alot of wheel bearing grease thrown all over the cars. I reported what i saw so we could do some research before my report was complete. All of the bearings were Timken and i received from Timken that its okay for them to leak. Looks like it worked out in this instance also! Jahahahaha
Jeff Stein commented on a posting
...and this is what happens when they go bad.
Jeff Stein commented on a posting
And if the “Hotbox” isn’t discovered in time...
The axel ends burn off causing the car to derail.

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