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Replacing RR Rails

Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:00 pm

Was walking the dog today and noticed they are getting ready to replace the rails on a track nearby. Each new rail is about a half mile long and is one continuous piece. Upon closer inspection, it appears there is a weld seam about every 80', but it was difficult to spot, even on an unpainted rail. I did a google search on the equipment they use to replace the rails and ties. It is pretty amazing. I would love to watch the process when it happens.
RR Track Replacement2.JPG
RR Track Replacement2.JPG (132.13 KiB) Viewed 453 times

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:35 pm

Welded rails, no more "clickety-clack".

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:46 pm

I believe it is called thermite or thermatite welding. My uncle did this for nearly 40 years throughout the state of Minnesota for BNSF. When he worked close to our house, he'd call and we would go and watch them work and at lunch time we kids could crawl on the equipment, it was large and powerful. He worked a lot on the tracks that loaded ore onto the boats in Duluth. He is a big muscular man and all his fences at home are built with railroad ties, many a time I seen him give them a bear hug and set them in the hole. As he got older though, he would bring the truck home and set them that way, older equals wiser.

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:46 pm

With those curves, must not be a main line, but since rails are being changed they must carry heavy loads or a lot of traffic.

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:11 pm

I think it is called ribbon rail

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:15 pm

danovercash wrote:With those curves, must not be a main line, but since rails are being changed they must carry heavy loads or a lot of traffic.

I see a lot of coal cars on those tracks, so yes they are heavy. But there was a derailment there about a year ago, and I guess they are just getting around to the replacing everything in that area.
farmallcub49 wrote:I believe it is called thermite or thermatite welding.

Never heard of that, but the quality is very good.

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:30 pm

I had wondered if there was a oil refinery at the end of the line preparing for train delivery of stranded mid-continent oil.

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:12 pm

The heat is generated chemically-- very intense. Will not work on cast iron engine blocks- I know a man who tried it. Thermite grenades were used in WWII and perhaps at other times- no explosion, just the intense heat. 3 paratroopers at the D-Day invasion found 5 German artillery guns and the soldiers supposed to be manning them were having a party nearby, schnapps and all. They ruined the mechanisms for aiming three of the guns with the 3 thermite grenades they had, soon found other GIs with thermite and went back to disable the other two. I love those who have individual initiative.

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:40 am

I made some thermite when I was a kid- iron oxide and aluminum with a starter. Once it starts burning it is extremely hot and it releases pure iron. Pretty cool that they still use it but it would hard to generate the kind of heat they need any other way. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=034_1342023057

Re: Replacing RR Rails

Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:12 am

cool!
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