Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Full Flange-Bearing Diamond

I already knew about one-way flange bearing diamonds called One Way Low Speed (OWLS) diamonds. These have a ramp for the low-speed route on which the flange rides up and over the track of the high-speed route. This allows the high speed trains to cross the diamond without hitting a gap in the rails. This not only provides a smoother ride for the high-speed route, it reduces the maintenance costs of the diamond. The following post taught me that they now make diamonds that have flange supports for both routes and that both routes can go at a high speed over the diamond. 

Tanner Van Noort posted
Flange bearing diamond [installation].
Tanner Van Noort: The one is the photo is flange bearing both directions.
Vince Davis: A Full Flange Bearing Frog, is good for equal speeds on both routes. The manufacturer can build them for whatever speed you want.
[The comments are talking about speeds in the ball park of 60 mph.]

However, voestalpine says their full flange bearing crossing has a 10 mph maximum speed. Several search results are to arema.org, but they want a sign in with an email address. But I was able to find a photo from Progress Rail:
Brochure via ProgressRail

Higher speeds are possible because one route is not being lifted up and over the other route. Wikipedia explains that the 10 mph limit is because of regulations. Railroads can get a waiver if they agree to an aggressive inspection program of the diamond and the wheelsets using the diamond. CSX did the first one in North America in 2006 and BNSF did a couple in 2008. Since that was a decade ago, I wonder if the regulations for inspections have been relaxed.

Moorhead Junction has a full-flange diamond. It is so quiet that I could not hear when the train crossed the diamond! I had to find it visually. I think the front of the lead locomotive is at the diamond in this video. Flat wheels create much more noise.
C Vision Productions

Here is a short video of a BNSF train on the former Santa Fe route crossing the former Rock Island in Joliet, IL. These diamonds are just a couple of years old. All four were replaced in late spring of 2015 because the spacing between the tracks was being changed. I took the video to record the sound of a train hitting the diamonds.

I then took another video after the diamond was pumping already.

Since a new train station was built east of the diamonds so that the commuter trains no longer cross them, I'm surprised they have not installed OWLS here. CSX and IAIS run very few freights on the former Rock Island route.

When I did a Google search for the suggested topic of "full flange-bearing diamond frog", I recognized one of the images that they presented:
Google image list

I recognized the photo because I just got through fixing a detail about that photo in the page they reference. This "image hit" is scary because that is an OWLS diamond, not a full-flange diamond. Now I have to wonder about how many images that I have used from Google search results are wrong.

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