FASTENERS Developed for multiple applications on freight railroads and transit lines, fasteners are the unsung heroes of the rail industry.
LIFE IN THE
BY ANDREW CORSELLI, MANAGING EDITOR
asteners can be the difference between a noisy train and a quiet one—or even the difference between a derailment and an on-time arrival. So sit back and enjoy a fasten-ating look at every railroad’s overlooked VIP. Freight vs. Transit Tracks for freight and transit take different types of fasteners. Most of the heavy-haul freight system in North America is predominantly wood-tie-based crossties, said Jeff Kondis, Manager, Strategic Marketing, L.B. Foster—he estimated the number at more than 90%. However, transit agencies, which
30 Railway Age // December 2019
are “a different animal,” are not typically wood-tie-based. “The ones that we’re specifically focused on are those that provide resiliency that help with vibration and noise mitigation, as well as electrical leakage into concrete,” said Sarah McBrayer, Assistant General Manager, Transit Products, L.B. Foster. “Some of ours are installed on wood ties, but for the majority, they’re installed on bridges and concrete ties. If electricity leaks into the concrete, it can degrade the rebar in the concrete crease. So the electrical isolation is very important. “On bridges and in neighborhoods where the trains are operating close to
private property, noise and vibration control is very important. That type of requirement isn’t typically needed for a freight rail application. Sometimes on bridges they are, but usually in that sense the ductile iron casting or steel plate on top of a pad absorbs noise. Our fastener has two ductile iron castings consisting of a layer of vulcanized rubber bonded in between two ductile iron castings, all one piece. This helps with maintenance and replacement. It’s not multiple pieces in an assembly, so they just have to replace that one part. But that’s what allows for the noise and vibration mitigation and the electrical control.” railwayage.com