RT&S March 2019

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BALLAST TOOLS EVOLVE 2019 Ballast Delivery & Maintenance Update

MARCH 2019 | www.rtands.com

Shortline updates

Smaller railroads deliver big impacts

NRC Conference Report

Conference highlights: projects, awards and more

Arema News rtands.com

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February 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 1

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March 2019



Shortline and regional railroad maintenance Shortlines rely on the fundamentals while addressing daily and long-term track maintenance challenges.





Industry Today Harsco Rail to close Michigan plant, BNSF cameras find problems in rails and more


Supplier News Acquisitions, contracts and other news


People New hires, promotions and appointments

Cover Photo: The BTE-325 Railroad Modified Hi-Rail Excavator Story on page 19. Credit: Ballast Tools Equipment

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TTCI Measuring RCF Crack Depth using EMFI AREMA News Message from the President, highlights from the AREMA Student Poster Competition and more






Ad Index


Sales Representatives


Classifieds Advertising


Professional Directory

Ballast maintenance and delivery Service providers bolster the use of technology to maintain ballast conditions.


NRC Conference Report Editor Paul Conley reports back on highlights from the annual NRC Conference.



On Track Waiting for next-gen hotheads


NRC Chairman’s Column A New Season for the NRC

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On Track

Waiting for next-gen hotheads Vol. 115, No. 31 Print ISSN # 0033-9016, Digital ISSN # 2160-2514 EDITORIAL OFFICES 20 South Clark Street, Suite 1910 Chicago, Ill. 60603 Telephone (312) 683-0130 Fax (312) 683-0131 Website www.rtands.com Paul Conley Editor-in-Chief pconley@sbpub.com Kyra Senese Managing Editor ksenese@sbpub.com Bob Tuzik Consulting Editor btuzik@sbpub.com btuzik@sbpub.comCORPORATE OFFICES CORPORATE OFFICES 55 Broad St 26th Fl. 55 Broad St 26th Fl. New York, N.Y. 10004 Telephone New York,(212) N.Y.620-7200 10004 Telephone Fax (212) (212) 633-1165 620-7200 Fax (212) 633-1165 Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. J. and McGinnis, Jr. Arthur President Chairman President and Chairman Jonathan Chalon Chalon Publisher Jonathan Publisher Mary Conyers Production Mary Conyers Director Production Director Nicole D’Antona Art Director D’Antona Nicole Art Director Aleza Leinwand Graphic Leinwand Aleza Designer Graphic Designer Maureen Cooney Maureen CirculationCooney Director Circulation Director Michelle Zolkos Conference Michelle Zolkos Director Conference Director Customer Service: 800-895-4389 Reprints: PARS Service: International 800-895-4389 Corp. Customer Reprints: 253 West PARS 35th International Street 7th Floor Corp. 253 West New 35th York,Street NY 10001 7th Floor 212-221-9595; New York, fax NY212-221-9195 10001 212-221-9595; curt.ciesinski@parsintl.com fax 212-221-9195 curt.ciesinski@parsintl.com


t’s a bittersweet thing to watch a generation head into the sunset. Bitter, because much good is lost when one generation yields to another. Sweet, because the rise of a new generation speaks of promise. If you were at the NRCMA Conference and REMSA Exhibition in January, you may have noticed what I did: we are in the last few days of a railroad generation. Those of us of a certain age remember when Rob Krebs was the young, hot-headed revolutionary who would alter railroading forever. Krebs defined a generation of railroading. Matt Rose, the outgoing executive chairman and CEO of BNSF Railway, is a protege of Rob Krebs. And when Rose took the stage at the NRCMA conference and spoke of his concerns about precision-scheduled railroading, I couldn’t shake the feeling that his remarks, and his upcoming retirement, marked the conclusion of the Krebs generation. Attendees were also treated to a session about Hunter Harrison, who created the PSR idea. Several of his proteges reminisced about that hot-headed revolutionary who would alter railroading forever. To hear them tell it, railroading is clearly in the early stages of the PSR generation. I suppose they’re right. But here’s the strange part: the founders of both railroad generations are from roughly the same demographic

generation. Krebs is 76. Harrison died in 2017 at the age of 73. By contrast, Rose is just 59. And most of Harrison’s disciples who ascended to positions of power across the rail industry, seem to be in their late 50s though mid 60s. What we didn’t see at the conference, and what is hard to see anywhere in railroading today, is an indication of what the next generation looks like. I didn’t meet any young hot heads with revolutionary ideas on Marco Island. Heck, I didn’t see many young people of any kind. Yet I sense those young people are out there, and I trust they are forming the ideas that will become the basis of the next railroad generation. In fact, I think Rose may have pointed toward what that generation will look like when he noted how PSR can lead to cutting off less-than-desirable customers. “I believe freight railroads are gonna get into trouble with this (with the STB and other regulators.) We still have that obligation to provide the service from point A to point B,” he said. So here’s my prediction: the next young hothead to define a railroad generation is out there. But he or she is not a railroader. They are a regulator. And we will meet them soon enough.

Paul Conley Editor-in-Chief

Railway Track & Structures (Print ISSN 0033-9016, Digital ISSN 2160-2514), (USPS 860-560), (Canada Post Cust. #7204564; Agreement #40612608; IMEX P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad St. 26th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Pricing: Qualified individual and railroad employees may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions printed and/or digital version: 1 year Railroad Employees (US/Canada/Mexico) $16.00; all others $46.00; foreign $80.00; foreign, air mail $180.00. 2 years Railroad Employees US/Canada/Mexico $30.00; all others $85.00; foreign $140.00; foreign, air mail $340.00. Single Copies are $10.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2017. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: PARS International Corp., 102 W 38th St., 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018 Phone (212) 221-9595 Fax (212) 221-9195. For subscriptions and address changes, Please call (US Only) 1-800-553-8878 (CANADA/INTL) 1-319-364-6167, Fax 1-319-364-4278, e-mail rtands@stamats.com or write to: Railway Track & Structures, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Railway Track & Structures, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407.

March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 3

Industry today

Harsco Rail to close Michigan plant


arsco Rail will close its manufacturing facility in Ludington, Mich., as the company consolidates production operations in Columbia, South Carolina. Some 134 workers will be affected, according to local media reports and socialmedia posts by Harsco employees. Some workers are expected to be offered transfers to South Carolina. “We are constantly evaluating our business and our business strategy,” a spokesperson for Harsco said in a written statement. “We have determined that there are numerous significant benefits for consolidating and centralizing all manufacturing

operations and distribution into one manufacturing facility for North America Rail Equipment. Our facility in Ludington, Michigan will start transitioning production activities to our Columbia, South Carolina location during the first quarter of the year. We anticipate the completion of this transition by the end of June.” A spokesperson for the UAW local that represents Harsco workers in Ludington could not be reached for comment. The South Carolina facility is non-union. Workers there turned turned back a union bid in a 173-77 vote, in 2015. In addition to the Michigan and South Carolina plants, Harsco Rail operates

facilities in Fairmont, MN, and a research/ consulting operation in Cherry Hill, NJ. It is unclear if any of the work from those facilities will also be folded into South Carolina. Nor is it clear if Harsco plans to discontinue any of the vehicles manufactured in Michigan. An email request seeking clarification from Harsco’s public relations department was not returned. Harsco Rail builds a variety of railroad construction and track maintenance vehicles. Among the better-known pieces of equipment in the Harsco stable are the Mark VI Tamper, the RGHC Transit Grinder series, the Stoneblower track geometry machines and the Production Tie Exchanger.

New BNSF cameras find problems in rails and wheels BNSF Railway is deploying high-speed onboard cameras capable of recording images, at speeds up to 70 mph, of rail surface defects and other visible flaws like missing bolts. BNSF’s Track Health Optical Recognition program, which is nearing the end of a yearlong, 3,000-mile pilot program, was one of many technologies showcased by the company at the North Dakota Capitol on Jan. 22. Asim Ghanchi, BNSF’s general director of technology services, told The Dickinson Press that the roughly 1,200 individuals 4 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019

working in technology services for BNSF— including 30 data scientists—developed a data analysis system internally that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze the millions of images the railroad gathers gathering on their equipment each day. BNSF has also begun testing photo technology to pinpoint maintenance issues on its trains through its Machine Vision System, which takes 1.5 million images daily. Since September, the system has found cracks in 14 wheels using the images.

The system allows BNSF to receive alerts regarding the cracked wheels within four to eight hours of their identification. Beginning this month, BNSF plans to send crews out to install hardware alongside the tracks to reduce the identification time to less than an hour, with a goal of eventually making the alert time “instantaneous.” BNSF’s AI technology is also being used to anticipate future maintenance needs, the railroad said. BNSF declined to make Ghanchi available to Railway Track & Structures for questions. rtands.com

Industry today

Port of Memphis gets $1.7 million grant for new track The Port of Memphis will receive a $1.7 million grant to add track at the public terminal on President’s Island. The funds will pay for 4,900 feet of new track and four new switches. The port expects the new track, which should create space to handle as many as 70 more rail cars at a time, will open the way for the port to handle unit trains. Construction will begin on June 1. The Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County announced the Competitive Rail Connectivity Grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation on Jan. 16. Watco operates the public terminal on President’s Island, and offers connections to lines owned by CN, BNSF and UP.

Watco is also building a rail scrap transfer facility on President’s Island. In addition to Watco, shippers who would benefit from the additional rail on President’s Island include Mid-South Milling and Buckeye Pipelines. The grant for additional rail in Memphis comes less than a year after an acquisition increased Watco’s presence in the Houston Ship Channel. The International Port of Memphis is the second largest inland port on the shallow draft portion of the Mississippi River, and the 5th largest inland Port in the United States. The International Port of Memphis covers the Tennessee and Arkansas sides of the Mississippi River from river Mile 725 to mile 740.

MTA strikes deal with Amtrak for new commuter stations in the East Bronx New York’s MTA will build four new stations in the East Bronx for Metro-North commuter rail service, after Governor Andrew Cuomo brokered a deal between the agency and Amtrak. But the deal hinges on a plan to postpone a bridge replacement that was called “beyond a state-of-good-repair” nearly a decade ago.


Under the deal the MTA will pay to build stations in four East Bronx neighborhoods: Hunts Point, Parkchester, Morris Park, and Co-op City. Metro-North trains will carry passengers along Amtrak-owned track to Penn Station. The MTA has long sought access to Amtrak’s track in the East Bronx, a “transit desert” with limited subway service. But Amtrak had previously balked at a deal, demanding that the MTA pay access fees to use the track and that the agency repair the Pelham Bay Bridge. Back in 2010, Amtrak said that the two-track, moveable railroad bridge over the Hutchinson River needed to be replaced. The estimated cost of a new bridge was $500 million. The bridge, built in 1907, requires extensive ongoing maintenance, with speeds restricted to 45 miles per hour. The lift span is manned and is opened on demand several times for commercial boats. But in late January, Cuomo and the MTA announced that a deal had been reached and that Amtrak had dropped both of its demands. Under the terms of the deal, repairs to the bridge would be postponed for another 10 to 20 years. And rather than pay access fees, the MTA agreed to conduct a joint study with Amtrak to weigh the feasibility of expanding Amtrak service to Long Island.

Supplier News AFL has acquired IMPulse N C L LC, a m a n u fa c t u re r of overhead electrification systems a n d c a te n a r y h a rdwa re, a s AFL expands its offering for rail transit systems. T h e A L B E R TA P E T R O L E U M MARKETING COMMISSION signed contracts with CN and Canadian Pacific to use 4,400 DOT117 tank cars to transport oils and crude (bitumen) to U.S. and international markets. HARSCO is predicting a surge in revenue in its rail unit for 2019, forecasting a 25-to-35 percent rise in income this year in its rail unit. In particular, Harsco expects higher income from its Protran Technology unit. NORTHERN PLAINS RAIL SERVICES is on track to start construction later in 2019 on the Grand Plains Rail Center, a new railcar servicing and repair facility at Grand Forks, N.D. R AILWAY INTE RCHANGE, the largest exhibition and technical conference in North America, today announced that SimmonsBoardman Rail Group, publisher of Railway Age, Railway Track & Structures and International Railway Journal, is the official media partner for 2019. Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County awarded SIEMENS a contract to supply 14 S70 LRVs for the Houston MetroRail light rail network. Miami-based VIRGIN TR AINS USA LLC, previously known as Brightline, canceled issuing the IPO scheduled for the week of Feb. 11, planning instead to pursue other fundraising options.

March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 5


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AMTRAK’s Board of Directors has selected Kevin Winters as the passenger railroad’s new inspector general, effective immediately. The CAPITOL CORRIDOR JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY Board of Directors elected Rebecca Saltzman as chair and Don Saylor as vice chair. Billy Ainsworth, CATERPILLAR’s Rail Division senior vice president and CEO of Progress Rail, was promoted to serve as group president of the Energy & Transportation segment. Marty Haycraft was appointed to succeed Ainsworth as vice president of Caterpillar’s Rail Division and CEO of Progress Rail. HNTB CORPORATION has appointed Cheryle Tyson to serve as a national transit/rail consultant based in the firm’s Plano, Texas, office The NRC and Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell announced that Matt Bell will take the helm of the association, succeeding Chuck Baker, who stepped down from his post at the association in February to become president and CEO of the American Shor t Line and Regional Railroad Association. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY’s Tandon School of Engineering has created the Institute of Design and Construction Innovations Hub and selected railroad construction veteran Michael Horodniceanu as chairman. Engineering and architecture firm TKDA has appointed Eric Lechowicz as group manager for the firm’s rail architecture team based in its Chicago office. Lechowicz brings more than two decades of experience with planning, designing and managing rail-related and other projects. TKDA said he has worked with BNSF Railway Co., Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad as his key rail clients. Lechowicz is a registered architect and an alumnus of the University of Illinois. Global design and engineering firm STANTECadded three senior executives to its team. The firm appointed Barbara Moffat as vice president, transportation in the U.S. West. Dr. Suhail Albhaisi joined the firm as a regional bridge leader and senior principal in the U.S. Northeast. Charles R. Collins III, PE, joined the ranks as a senior rail engineer. Moffat will be based in Stantec’s Bellevue, Wash., office; Albhaisi will be based in New York City; and Collins will work from the company’s Chicago office. MICHAEL BAKER INTERNATIONAL, an engineering and design consultant, hired two well-known veterans of the California high-speed rail scene to help build its business in the West. Thomas Post, P.E., will serve as the Area Executive for the company’s northern California offices. Thomas Tracy, P.E., is now office manager for the company’s Rancho Cordova, Calif., office. HANSON PROFESSIONAL SE RVICES INC. recently selected Jason Frericks, P.E., a civil and railroad engineer, to join its Kansas City office.


NRC Chairman’s Column

A New Season for the NRC


I am proud to welcome a new season with redefined and recommitted priorities that are designed to increase our impacts as an association industry-wide.

The National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association, Inc. 410 1st Street, S.E. Suite 200 Washington D. C. 20003 Tel: 202-715-2920 www.nrcma.org info@nrcma.org rtands.com

ith spring and the 2019 construction season approaching, it is important that we remember and mark our calendars for two important dates: April 24, the NRC Equipment Auction, and May 6, Railroad Day on Capitol Hill. The NRC’s 16th annual NRC Rail Construction & Maintenance Equipment Auction will be held April 24. Equipment sold or donated for auction from around the country can be repurposed or turned into cash for reinvestment in our companies. This year’s auction is shaping up to be our best yet, with inventory including pieces such as tampers, TRIPP machines, Pettibones, regulators, backhoes, bulldozers and hi-rail welding trucks, to name a few. Consider this as your official invitation to the rail construction and maintenance industry’s premier equipment event hosted by the NRC and Blackmon Auctions: Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 425 Blackmon Road, Lonoke, Ark. Check the NRC website, nrcma.org/ auction, for the latest inventory listing, or reach out to Matt Bell at 202-715-1264 for more information. All are welcome to attend the auction and bid on equipment. Contractors, suppliers and railroads are invited to sell or donate their equipment. For equipment consigned to sell, a portion of the buyer’s premium and all sellers’ fees will be given to the NRC Safety, Training, and Education Program. For donated equipment, 100 percent of proceeds will go to support the NRC Safety, Training, and Education Program. These initiatives support some of the NRC’s most important activities, such as the annual production of our industry-recognized and endorsed safety videos and our annual scholarship award. I encourage everyone to come to Arkansas and join us for our social event the night before the auction: Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., at the Courtyard by Marriott Little Rock Downtown. If you can’t make it to the NRC Equipment Auction in April, we hope to see you on May 8, 2019, for Railroad Day on Capitol Hill. Each year, the leaders of our construction and maintenance community travel to Washington, D.C. to educate and advocate Congress regarding the regulations impacting our businesses. For more information on Railroad Day,

check out the American Short Line Railroad and Regional Association (ASLRRA)’s website aslrra.org. We look forward to record-breaking attendance representing our industry in Washington, D.C. again this year! Speaking of records, the NRC broke one of its own with our 2018 membership recruitment; we extend a big thanks to our more than 425 NRC member companies. Achievements aside, Jody Simms and the Membership Committee are not resting on their laurels. The committee has already started its recruitment for 2019 by sending a letter to prospective members outlining all the benefits of being an NRCMA member company, including: • First, our safety initiatives, which include professionally-developed safety videos, our Safety Awards Competition, participation in FRA’s RSAC program, and NRC’s Safety Tool Box/pocket safety manuals; • Events and networking, like the NRC Conference and REMSA Exhibition, where attendees have the opportunity to be face-to-face with railroad executives and network with over 425 other companies; and • Access to a network of government officials and railroad executives through Railroad Day on Capitol Hill and tailored grass roots events. Lastly, I wish our former president, Chuck Baker, all the best in his new position with the ALSRRA and to ensure our membership that NRC is well positioned to move forward with Matt Bell at the helm, leading a great staff team of Chana Elgin and Mike McGonagle. I am proud to welcome a new season with redefined and recommitted priorities that are designed to increase our impacts as an association industry-wide. Remember to mark those calendars for the NRC Equipment Auction on April 24 and our Railroad Day on Capitol Hill on May 8. I look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events and working together with and for you through 2019 and beyond.

Mike Choat NRC Chairman March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 7


Measuring RCF Crack Depth using EMFI TTCI evaluates noncontact, real-time technology on the depth of cracks, pits and material damage. By Matthew Witte, Ph.D., and Anish Poudel, Ph.D. Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI)


anagement of rolling contact fatigue (RCF) on rails requires knowing the depth of cracks and pits on the running surface so rail can be restored with minimal grinding. Existing electromagnetic-based, nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technologies that provide crack length do not necessarily indicate crack depth, since cracks form at angles downward from the surface. The ideal depth measurement technology would be non-contact, real-time, and provide in-motion details on the depth of cracks, pits, and material damage. Athena Industrial Services Ltd. (Athena) of Calgary, AB, Canada, has a test and development program which evaluates the potential of applying their electromagnetic field imaging (EMFI) technology to measure RCF true depth. This work was done in cooperation with TTCI as part of the Strategic Research

Initiatives (SRI) program of the Association of American Railroads (AAR.) EMFI technology Electromagnetic field imaging (EMFI) is a non-contacting NDE method that uses focusing elements and antennas to monitor changes in an electromagnetic field (EMF) near the surface of a conducting material. TTCI has evaluated patented ECHO-3DÂŽ technology from Athena for its capability to measure surface crack depth on railroad rails. ECHO-3D initially was developed for measuring corrosion pit depth and surface breaking crack depths in pipelines. Unlike other electromagnetic NDE methods, the ECHO-3D sensor measures the change in the shape of the EMF and converts this raw analog information to digital data for processing. The result is a 3D mapping of rail surface topography that gives true defect depth information. The principle of operation for EMFI is different than most other NDE crack measurement techniques. Unlike conventional eddy current systems, the amplitude and phase of the eddy current are not directly relevant in EMFI measurements. What is important for EMFI is the bucking magnetic field (BMF) produced by the eddy current itself. The eddy current induced in the target material generates its own magnetic field that is in direct opposition to the EMF from the focusing element. This BMF pushes back on the EMF from the focusing element and causes the focused

Figure 1: EMFI Depth Measurement Result

8 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019

field shape to distort. As the local density of the BMF varies around the periphery of the sensor so does the degree of shape distortion of the magnetic field from the focusing element. Antenna coils have a shape designed to directly measure the degree of EMF shape distortion. The antenna coils produce an output voltage that is a proportional deviation of the mean magnetic field from a zero position, i.e. the neutral point. These signals, generated by the antenna coils, are then processed through a sequence of proprietary algorithms that allow crack direction and depth plus local changes in lift-off (corrosion, spalling, flaking) to be measured separately. This article walks through the test and development program used to establish EMFI for RCF detection and characterization on rails. Initial feasibility A series of tests were completed using Athena’s ECHO-3D G2 sensor for the feasibility study. The G2 sensor is a flat sensor that generally is used on large radius pipe. A scanning carriage with a servo motor/belt drive was used to move the ECHO-3D sensor down a length of rail. This mechanism was capable of maintaining the probe at preset angles relative to the head profile while allowing speed and lift-off to be controlled. This setup made it possible to scan narrow bands of the running surface multiple times at speeds up to about 2 mph. Six 10-foot rail samples (141-RE) with varying RCF were used in the feasibility study. These rails were scanned with an ECHO-3D sensor and the measurements were assigned severity index values. The ECHO-3D severity measurement is an arbitrarily defined linear reading that can be scaled based on lift-off and defect depth. Lift-offs on each series of measurements were compared to the severities of the 10 most significant defects detected for each individual rail. An overall scaling was selected to provide sufficient separation to distinguish the severity of defects. The results showed consistent repeatability at each value of lift-off. The tests also indicated that the severe rail had the highest severity and the new rail the lowest severity, as expected. Also, it was observed that defect depths in the medium and heavy rails appeared similar to each other. It is likely that the depths of their defects are similar, but vary in density. rtands.com

TTCI r&d

Correlation to crack depth To calibrate the severity and match it to a crack depth, a series of destructive tests were performed to determine actual defect depth at a point in the rail. The process included successive buffing/ grinding cycles at 0.008inch (0.2 mm) increments followed by wet fluorescent magnetic particle testing (MPT) to enhance visualization of the remaining defects. Two areas on each rail were scanned, one as a calibration reference that would remain intact and the other for material removal. The grind/measure/grind process was repeated until all defects were removed from the test zone. The actual depth of each defect measured with this process could be as much as 0.01 inch (0.3 mm) less than indicated because of the material removal increment. Figure 1 shows the relative depths of the cracks and pits compared to the scaled severity reading. The 10 worst defect indications were consistent along the length of any rail. This indicates that high resolution sample spacing, 0.04 inch (1 mm) used for this study, may not be required for accurate defect severity measurement. Increasing the sample spacing will allow for a proportionate increase in scanning speed. Shaped EMFI Sensor (SEMFI) Since RCF varies over the rail head profile, Athena recognized that a shaped sensor which matches the rail profile would be needed. Such a sensor would improve speed of the data collection and accuracy of the result. A rail shaped SEMFI sensor was custom designed for the inspections. The first shaped sensor used 16 antennas placed at different regions of the rail head. A schematic of the first SEMFI sensor is shown in Figure 2. This design can acquire data from the running surface, gage corner, and gage face in a single pass. Several shaped EMF exciter cores were designed and tested at Athena’s facility. Additionally, the exciter coil positions also were optimized and tested in various locations to produce the highest signal response. During this process, sensor antenna locations were optimized using modeling software and electronic diagnostic equipment. Testing SEMFI on-track The sensor was adapted to a walking stick type inspection system designed for on-track testing. The device holds the sensor module in a fixed position relative to the main guide wheels on the scanner. The nominal standoff distance from the face of the sensor module to the gage face is about9.5 mm, and 12 mm from the running surface of the rail. rtands.com

Figure 2: An Athena ECHO Rail SEMFI sensor

Figure 3: An ECHO Rail SEMFI sensor installed on rail inspection truck

The SEMFI walking stick inspection system was evaluated at the Rail Defect Test Facility (RDTF) at Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, CO. The RDTF has a test zone where rails can be interchanged. Testing on the RDTF was designed to correlate the echo-rail scan measurements to actual defects. The test called for successive cycles of grinding and measurement to document results as the surface defects were gradually removed. Segments of test rail with varying levels of RCF were placed in the test zone. Prior to scanning, the rail profile measurements were taken at specific locations along each rail. Surface condition at each location was documented using a liquid dye penetrant to catalog the presence and degree of RCF cracking. The segments were then scanned at hand-pushed speeds using a 4 mm sample spacing. A grinder was used to remove a small amount of material from the head and gage corner and the process was repeated until the dye penetrant showed no remaining defects. Test results showed good agreement between the SEMFI measurements and the liquid penetrant test results. Values below 0.2 mm were considered to be a zero-defect condition. In some cases, the residual grind marks left on the rail surface were at this threshold.

Working at speed For practical application, the technology must be able to measure RCF at speed. To test this, an adapter was designed to allow the SEMFI sensor to be mounted on the carriage of the TTCI hi-rail inspection truck. Figure 3 shows the adapter-sensor assembly on the inspection truck. The truck was then operated on the High Tonnage Loop (HTL) at TTC. HTL testing involved a series of runs at speed of approximately 3, 6, 15, and 20 mph. Two runs were taken at each speed to evaluate repeatability. Tests were performed on inside and outside rail sections. Test results indicated a high percentage of defect detection with severity reasonably consistent and repeatable for speeds up to 20 mph. Deviations observed can be addressed with further improvements in processing algorithms. Additional high-speed tests will be conducted in the future to determine a practical upper speed limit on the defect detection capabilities of SEMFI. As the research effort winds down, the next step is to commercialize this technology. Athena is seeking support from the railroads and supply industry to develop a production-ready system for revenue service testing. March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 9


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Keynote Address James T. Gallagher COO LA Metro

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Frank Vacca

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Paul Denison Dir., Light Rail Operations & Maintenance Sound Transit

Andrew Bata

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Joe North

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shortline maintenance

A track joint, measured with a level board. The distance between the base of the rail and the tie plate must be added to the static measurement.

The Shortline Maintenance Mantra:



Shortlines rely on track inspection, efficient use of resources, application of the industry’s best practices, and compliance with railroad rules and federal regulations to meet day-to-day and long-term track maintenance challenges. By Lawrence (Larry) Romaine


here are more than 500 shortline railroads in North America. These properties grapple with track and bridge maintenance issues on a daily basis, just as the class 1 railroads do. Shortline railroads deal with maintenance issues differently, however, due to lower traffic volumes and tighter budgets than their Class 1 brethren. And while they all differ from Class 1s, all shortlines are not created equal. Those owned by major holding companies, for example, have access to maintenance equipment, personnel and financial resources that individually owned properties do not. These smaller properties often must rely on contract services to meet their maintenance needs. A primary difference between shortlines and class I railroads is that track on class 1s is maintained to higher standards than it is on shortlines. Class 1 capital maintenance

12 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019

programs are designed to start the maintenance cycle at a level well above the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)-allowable safety limits for the given class of track. As the track degrades over time to a point approaching the FRA limits, a capital program is put in place to bring the track back to the railroad’s prescribed maintenance limit, and the cycle starts over again. While shortlines engage in the same type of cyclical capital maintenance programs, shortline programs are designed to start their maintenance life at a level that is much closer to FRA-allowable limits—even after a capital program. Some of the typical maintenance-of-way issues that shortlines face include: • Roadmasters often have duties beyond maintaining track. They often are responsible for bridges and signals; in some cases, they have mechanical or even

transportation responsibilities, as well. Dealing with multiple responsibilities such as these can detract from the time the roadmaster spends on the track. • Turnover of key employees can be high, with move to Class 1s or local jobs that pay similar wages but are “less demanding,” i.e., with more predictable schedules and a correspondingly better “quality of life.” • Crosstie and switch-tie condition is often marginal to poor. • Rail flaw and track geometry testing are not always performed on a regular basis, and in some cases, not at all. • Rail section is often 100-pound or less, and a large percentage of the routes have jointed rail. • Many curves are over-elevated, designed for higher operating speeds by their former class 1 owners than current shortline operating speeds. rtands.com

shortline maintenance

When measuring gage under static (unloaded) conditions, the evidence of lateral plate slippage must be taken into account.

• Unless there is a source on line, the cost of transporting ballast by truck or across class 1 lines is prohibitively expensive. • Road crossing conditions are often poor, with little or no funds for capital upgrades. • Many bridges are timber trestles that have had deferred maintenance; and many are not rated for 286K loading. • Staff is often minimal; when larger projects are encountered, contractors often must be called in. • Some states have programs to support shortline railroads with grants for capital maintenance, but many do not. • Most capital must be spent on the main line; maintenance-starved yards and industrial leads are often in poor condition and fall into excepted track status. In order to deal with the myriad of challenges that a shortline faces, the Engineering / Maintenance team must focus on the fundamentals of track maintenance. Key among them is the amount of time a

roadmaster spends on track. Time on track is what enables a roadmaster to manage work in the field, and to plan and prioritize upcoming projects so that they can be performed safely and efficiently with the available resources. Central to an effective program is regular and effective track inspection. The best roadmasters know their railroad better than anyone else. They learn it by spending time in the field. An adage in the shortline business is that the three most important things a roadmaster can do are: hi-rail, hi-rail and hi-rail. The hi-rail is the catbird seat from which the roadmaster obtains firsthand knowledge of the property’s track, bridge, and right-ofway conditions; observes and interacts with the maintenance team; and ensures that work meets the requirements and that it is done safely. Getting everybody home safely is—or should be—rule 1 on every railroad. One “look the other way” concerning a Roadway Worker or Safety Rule violation is


all it takes to lose all credibility, forever. Training is a fundamental element of shortline maintenance. Roadway Worker Protection and CWR training are required annually. But what about ongoing training in Bridge Worker Safety and the FRA Track Safety Standards? Just because the regulation is silent on refresher training doesn’t mean shortline employees don’t need it. Good training and regular interaction between supervisors and staff can also help reduce staff turnover. Good track inspection starts with the understanding that the FRA Regulations (Track Safety Standards, Roadway Worker, Bridge Worker, Signal) are the law and must be complied with. Just as important, it must be understood that these are minimums, and that track workers often need to take remedial action before a defect reaches the FRA safety threshold. Track Inspectors are often under pressure, either real or perceived, to not write up defects because they don’t think the roadmaster has the resources to address them. While it’s important to empower track inspectors and foremen, they must always be made to deal in facts—facts in the form of measurements made with level boards, tape measures, taper gauges, straight-edges and other tools of the trade. It’s also important to know where and how to find trouble before it finds you. Track-caused derailments, for example, typically occur in curves or in turnouts. Roadmasters should ensure that turnouts—starting from 15 feet ahead of the switch points through the reverse curve behind the frog—get a walking inspection every month (as required by regulation). With the often-marginal tie conditions found on shortlines, inspectors must be


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shortline maintenance

on the lookout for signs of plate slippage in and around turnouts and in curves. It’s always best to take remedial action before conditions reach FRA-mandated exception levels: You never know when the right traininduced action may cause a weak area to fail and result in a derailment. Roadmasters sometimes fall into the trap of adding spikes to repair locations exhibiting wide gage and plate slippage. This might buy a little time, but only tie replacement will correct the condition. It’s a good maintenance practice for inspectors to throw every switch, as part of every monthly inspection. While this exceeds FRA requirements, it’s not possible to properly inspect a turnout without throwing the switch. Broken and-out-of adjustment switch points are a frequent cause of derailments. While they usually occur at slow speeds and cause minimal damage, derailments still interrupt service to customers and put railroad employees and potentially the public at risk. Managers must follow up on and verify the quality of track inspection reports to ensure that they reflect the conditions in the field. Developing employees and recognizing good performance can help retain staff. By riding with the track inspector, a roadmaster can provide minor course corrections in performance, reinforce training, and show appreciation for a job well done. Joint inspection trips can be documented as efficiency tests to comply with federal regulations; they also encourage better communication and understanding between the

inspector and roadmaster. As part of this process, the roadmaster should compare recent track inspection reports with the conditions observed in the field. The reports should paint a good picture of the overall track conditions. If there is a discrepancy, the roadmaster can work with the inspector to provide a better understanding of the expectations, then follow up to ensure that they’re being met. Another basic principle is to minimize the use of 213.9(B), which allows track inspectors the flexibility to approve operation over a sub-class 1 defect for up to 30 days, as a remedial action. Applying 213.9(B) can be useful, but it carries a risk that can lead to derailment or sudden out-of-service track. When 213.9(B) must be used, the railway should have a system in place to track the defects to ensure they are corrected before 30 days have expired. If the defects are not corrected within 30 days, the track must be removed from service until the defective condition is corrected. On shortlines, track inspectors and roadmasters often function as defacto bridge inspectors and supervisors, as well. When deteriorating track conditions are observed on a bridge, there is typically a structural issue associated with the bridge. Whenever the likelihood of this condition is identified, the track inspector must get out of the hi-rail truck and inspect the underside of the bridge to find the source of the problem. Sometimes bridge-related issues can be corrected by the local section team, but a bridge contractor is often brought in

A portable track loading fixture (PTLF) applies a lateral load to the base of the rail to measure lateral displacement.

to affect the repairs. Rail flaw testing is another important part of a good maintenance program on a shortline railroad. While some internal rail defects, such as vertical split heads (VSH), horizontal split heads (HSH), head and web separations (HWJ or HWO) and detail fractures (TDD) can be visually identified by an astute inspector, ultrasonic rail flaw detection systems provide the most accurate assessment of internal rail conditions. Consequently, rail flaw testing is a critical part of most railroads’ track maintenance plan. Due to budgetary constraints, however, many shortlines do not remove all identified defects. Railroads can do so and remain in compliance with the regulations because FRA regulations allow operations

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shortline maintenance

A horizontal split head rail defect can be identified through a visual inspection.

over many rail defects at speeds of 30 mph or less. Since most shortlines operate at less than 30 mph, these defects may legally remain in the track. While leaving known defects in track is not an ideal practice, it’s a way of exercising cost/risk management. But some defects, such as transverse fissures (TD), detail fractures (TDD) Vertical split heads (VSH) and head and web separations (HWJ or HWO) over 12 inches in length, should always be removed from track, as these types of internal defects are the most likely to cause a derailment. Most of the defects on shortlines are usually joint-area defects. The combination of light rail sections, marginal tie conditions, and heavy loads takes its toll on joints. Properties that lack the funds to replace rail can often improve overall joint conditions through targeted bolt-tightening

and crosstie-installation programs to drive down the number of rail defects found in the joint areas. This can be done as part of a capital program or by doing the necessary maintenance, one joint at a time. Tightening the bolts, correcting the joint / tie condition, and surfacing the joint area helps the joint carry the wheel loads and reduces the potential for problems in the future. Like their class 1 counterparts, shortlines can review the results from previous rail flaw tests to prepare for an upcoming test to ensure that enough rail, joint bars, bolts, etc., are on hand and distributed to make the rail changeout process more efficient. Track geometry testing is another component of a track-maintenance and derailment-prevention plan. Most shortlines owned by holding companies regularly perform track geometry testing. Most use contract services, but some own their own test vehicles. Training track inspectors (and track foremen, in some cases) to understand and properly use strip chart and defect data from the test vehicles is essential. Use of the data should extend beyond remediating “critical” defects to identifying areas showing signs of degradation and adding them to the roadmaster’s prioritized maintenance list. Most shortlines use hi-rail track geometry vehicles, but at times railbound vehicles, such as those from a class 1 partner or the FRA, may be available. These vehicles have the added advantage of being heavy enough to load the track structure like a freight train would. Hi-rail geometry vehicles

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usually fall into one of three categories; light (hi-rail pickup truck-based); heavy (hi-rail with 10,000-pound loading at the point of measurement), or split axle (incorporating a load axle that applies a hydraulically induced vertical and horizontal load to the track). There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these vehicles, but all of them provide information that can help in preventing derailments and planning future maintenance. Light vehicles are the least expensive, can set on and off at track at most grade crossings, but do not load the track. This can be compensated for by reducing defect thresholds to below those allowed by the Track Safety Standards, and by visually inspecting all critical defects that are found and taking remedial actions based on the estimated under-load measurement. Heavy track geometry vehicles do a very good job of loading the track, but are more expensive, require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate and require longer road crossings to set on or off track. Split-axle vehicles also do a great job of loading the track, but are usually more expensive and larger. They also require a CDL and longer grade crossings. Most of these vehicles produce several reports and a strip chart that can be used to ensure that the track is within safety limits, and to plan future maintenance. The strip chart is a continuous graphical readout of all the parameters measured by the test vehicle. Once familiar with the chart, the roadmaster and track inspector can use the graphical information to identify and monitor areas showing signs of degradation. Critical defect

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shortline maintenance

reports identify areas that do not meet the requirements of the Track Safety Standards. These defects are often verified in the field at the time of the test, and remedial action is applied before the track protection is released. Other reports may include “nearcritical” defects and curve data reports. The near-critical defect report identifies areas that are degrading, and allows the roadmaster to plan repairs before they become critical defects. Curve reports identify the maximum allowable speed for a curve, based on the amount of superelevation, the degree of curvature, the length of curve, etc. This information can be very useful when planning track surfacing, curve gaging, or curve rail replacement programs. With or without access to track geometry testing data, shortlines rely on track inspection to find defects—including those that are difficult to detect visually. While hi-rail inspection is essential in that it enables inspectors to cover a lot of ground, sometimes a walking inspection of particularly troublesome areas, such as joints, known “soft spots,” curves, turnouts and switch

points, in particular, is essential. In some cases, inspectors must be able see the effect of dynamic action that occurs under load in order to identify conditions that are at or approaching a defect threshold, even if static measurements on unloaded track do not indicate a need for remedial action. The use of technology devices such as portable track loading fixture (PTLF) or gage or crosslevel measuring devices that attach to or are pulled behind a hi-rail truck can help detect gage and surface defects. The PTLF is a hand-held device similar in size to a level board that applies horizontal hydraulic pressure to the base of the rail to laterally deflect the track as it might under the dynamic load of a train. Electronic track levels, which sit on the dashboard of a hi-rail vehicle, also provide good information on the track surface. While not as accurate as a track geometry vehicle, this type of instrument, along with pull-behind or hi-rail attached gage measuring devices, provide a great supplement to the track inspector’s visual inspection. Capital planning and execution on

shortlines are similar to the processes on class Is. But there are several important differences. Where a class I might plan to timber a stretch of track at 1,000 ties or more per mile, the shortline roadmaster often must decide how to spread the available capital over many miles to help maintain FRA compliance. This might mean balancing the use of spot-in ties with segments timbered with a higher number of ties per mile to maintain a segment of track to a level that will avoid the need to revisit the same track segment year after year. Shortlines often combine some “spot timbering” with programs of 600 – 700 ties per mile to cover timbering needs for 6 to 8 years, while keeping other areas legal and safe. Unlike class 1s, most capital projects on shortlines are contracted; they’re often funded through government grants or loans. Creating the proper scope of work for the request for proposal (RFP) is very important. Determining who is going to mark the ties to be replaced, unload and distribute material, who is going to dispose of the scrap ties, who will ensure that

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shortline maintenance

environmental regulations are complied with, and how are gage and mud locations are to be handled can be complicated. They must be addressed in the project scope. In the most effective programs, the roadmaster marks the ties to ensure FRA compliance and proper use of the available resources. With funding as limited as it is, shortlines have to clearly identify the scope of the projects and zealously guard against the potential for change-orders. In projects at road crossings, for example, the scope must clearly identify who will dispose of the waste asphalt, who will handle maintenance of traffic, how high the track should be raised, and who is responsible for ensuring that ends of the crossings are cleaned to promote drainage away from the track. Before selecting a contractor, shortlines must assess the contractor’s work and safety records. The shortline must ascertain whether the approved contractor has up-to-date training and approved drug and alcohol programs. Whenever contract services are used, contractors must be managed to ensure that they comply with

work and safety rules, and contract terms. Shortlines must also have a qualified Roadway Worker in Charge (RWIC) as the point person for on-track safety for the team. Whenever possible, the RWIC should be the “part 213-qualified” employee on site as well. This person should understand the scope and quality expectations for the project. This employee, who should have a copy of the contact documents, should walk portions of the work every day with the roadmaster to ensure that the work is being performed as expected. At the end of the day, the 213-qualified employee must be confident that the track complies with FRA regulations, and that it is safe and ready for use. For track surfacing projects, the project plan must identify the expected lift, how muddy areas and ties that are knocked down by the tamper and will be addressed, and who will unload ballast. The railroad should provide a ballast section standard that specifies how the ballast is to be shaped and dressed. Elevation charts should be provided to surfacing crews to ensure that curves are properly elevated, typically using a 1-1/2- to

2-inch unbalanced chart. When there is not enough ballast available, crews should be prepared to remove whatever excess elevation they can from the affected curves. While track is track, shortlines, depending on their size and available resources, face a range of challenges in maintaining it. But with effective management, quality track inspection, efficient use of resources, and compliance with federal regulations, railroad rules, and the industry’s best practices, shortline operators can meet the maintenance challenges. Larry Romaine is the former (retired) Vice President - Engineering of Genesee & Wyoming / RailAmerica Inc. He honed his skills in positions ranging from track supervisor to vice president of engineering on class 1 and regional railroads, and as an engineering consultant to railways, state Departments of Transportation, Port Authorities and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also served on the AAR Heavy Axle Load Engineering Research Committee and the Railroad Safety Advisory Committees (RSAC) on Track Integrity and Track Safety Standards.

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FASTER BALLAST Industry experts weigh in on the state of the ballast maintenance and delivery market as products and delivery methods continue to evolve.

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Ballast Tools Equipment This year, the BTE-325 Railroad Modified Hi-Rail Excavator is garnering attention for its versatility and durability, says Matt Weyand, sales engineer. “The exclusive BTE four-wheel hi-rail system provides power for on-rail ballast maintenance,” Weyand said. The BTE hi-rail system allows BTE’s hi-rail machines to be used on or off rail with a quick change. The BTE-325 can be rapidly deployed on rail and easily jumps off-track for more versatility or to allow train traffic to pass, the company said. The Rototilt attachment, with a 360-degree rotation capability and

40-degree tilt, allows operators to profile the ballast in various positions while remaining on the track. Paired with a ditching bucket or one of BTE’s highperformance undercutters, the company describes its BTE-325 as “an indispensable track maintenance workhorse.” As for recent trends, Weyand said good drainage and ballast maintenance are the top priorities of all railroads. The BTE-325 is intended to effectively and efficiently remove fouled ballast to eliminate mud spots. “It’s critical; BTE carries a wide array of attachments for ballast maintenance,” he said. “With the BTE Attachment March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 19

ballast maintenance

The DymaxRail Hydraulic Clam Cribbing Bucket is designed for general cribbing and, with optional bolt-on tie claws, removing old wood ties and inserting new ones.

The more knowledge the railroads have regarding the state of their ballast and drainage quality, the better they are able to allocate their resources to maximize their investment returns,” - Brandon Riddering, Loram Maintenance of Way

Recognition System, which automatically sets hydraulic flows, pressures and joysticks for attachments, changing attachments is fast and easy for the operator.” Weyand added that all BTE machines are engineered with a very durable, robust hi-rail system, which is designed to handle long distances traveling on the rail without overheating. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our superior drive system for traveling on the rail,” he said. The BTE-325, with a top on-track speed of approximately 22 mph, is meant to quickly

reach the jobsite. With BTE’s assortment of attachments, Weyand said the BTE-325 can be used 365 days a year. Dymax Inc. 2018 was a busy year for DymaxRail in the continued development of ballast maintenance work tools, the company said. Dymax touts the usefulness of its Ballast Blaster, which the company said features an improved automatic chain tensioning system (U.S. Patent No. 9,487,921). Representatives explained that maintaining constant, perfect tension on the Ballast

Blaster’s chain dramatically increases the life of the chain and leads to a longer service life for sprockets, as well. With larger drive motors on all models, Dymax said its performance has increased across the board. DymaxRail Ballast Blasters work with all brands of excavators, so users are not limited to using a single brand or supplier for machines and tools. “Customers can buy a machine at the best price in the market, and work with DymaxRail to get a Blaster to match the machine,” said Scott Balderson, president of DymaxRail.


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ballast maintenance

Complementing the Ballast Blaster is the DymaxRail Single Motor Ballast Tamper. With a more powerful motor, the company said its tamper outperforms other excavator or backhoe mounted tamping units. A recent addition to the DymaxRail ballast maintenance lineup is the Hydraulic Clam Cribbing Bucket for backhoe loaders and excavators. The tool allows operators the ability to perform many jobs from a hi-railed position, the company said. Dymax explained that the Clam Cribbing Bucket is ideal for extracting old ties and inserting new ones. Additionally, the company said more than 20 tons of force easily breaks through cemented ballast formation, providing the choice of tie tong scarifier teeth or a standard bolt on cutting edges. The DymaxRail Hydraulic Clam Cribbing Bucket is truly ballast maintenance simplified. DymaxRail is dedicated to innovation in the rail market. The company is constantly creating new tools to perform important jobs in more productive and cost-effective ways.

Knox Kershaw Inc. In 2019, Knox Kershaw Inc. (KKI) is introducing CAN based controls for Snow Fighters and Ballast Regulators, according to George Pugh, president and C.O.O. The upgrade is expected to aid in operation, diagnostics and fault monitoring utilizing a 12-inch touch screen monitor. Pugh said safety parameters will be installed to prevent injuries to personnel and costly damage to the machine. A KSF940 Snow Fighter that incorporates these features will also be on display at the 2019 Railway Interchange in Minneapolis, Minn. This year, KKI is continuing efforts to expand its service and training department to include on-site and in-house training. Pugh said the company now offers parts, service, repair and training on KKI’s equipment in addition to MOW equipment by other manufacturers. “Our KBR 860 Ballast Regulator is very popular with contractors due to its easy transport from job to job by truck,” Pugh explained. “The KSF 940 Snow Fighters are very popular in locations where railroads

have to alternate between working in snow, ballast and vegetation control since this model can be now be purchased with kits to quickly convert it from snow fighter to regulator to brush cutter.” Additionally, Pugh said the company’s new KRC 70 Ramp Car makes loading, unloading and transporting equipment by rail to job sites an efficient and fluid process. Recently, Pugh said customers have been expressing a need for improved dust suppression for the health and safety of workers as well as the environment, which he said is why KKI offers dust suppression systems on Knox Kershaw ballast regulators and cribber adzers. There is always a need for improved safety on MOW machines on the market, and Pugh said one way the company has worked to meet this need is by making improvements to cab entrances and steps around the machines, installing steps on a slope for better visibility when entering and exiting, using a new grating on steps to allow for better grip and drainage, and improving lighting at the cab entrance.

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ballast maintenance

Montana Hydraulics says the demand for ballast cars has continued in most areas despite the winter weather.

Another topic of interest in the MOW field has been the desire for more automated work components on equipment, Pugh said. “Technology is constantly changing, allowing us to improve the way we operate and do tasks with more efficiency and precision,” he explained. One major technological advancement Knox Kershaw Inc. has reportedly made in its machines has been

the incorporation of its CAN system with a touch screen monitor to make operating the machines easier and more automated. “We are always working on new products to expand our product line as we continue to improve our offerings,” Pugh said. Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. Loram says the company is continuing to

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advance the deployment of Ground Penetrating Radar as an on-board system for rail-bound vehicles, said Brandon Riddering, the company’s director of Marketing. Riddering explained that Loram’s onboard GPR systems are installed directly onto the railroad’s measurement vehicle (geometry car) using special “electromagnetic shielding” to allow the antennas to be placed underneath rail-bound vehicles. The railroad’s onboard technicians also have the capability of collecting information on the ballast and roadbed condition with minimal onboard assistance at a speed of more than 100 mph, Riddering said. By having GPR as a part of the routine, semi-autonomous measurement aboard their geometry cars, Loram said it aims to provide a lower-cost method of collecting valuable information as compared to traditional hirail-based approaches. Loram has also reportedly spent considerable time developing its geotechnical services. “Our customers continue to have the need to do more or better with the same or









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less resources,” Riddering said. “Through the use of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and our proprietary software, we are able to work with our customers to help determine how to allocate their track windows and resources to maximize their ballast and drainage investment returns.” Loram currently works with all Class 1s, shortlines and many transit and commuter railroads, he added. “The more knowledge the railroads have regarding the state of their ballast and drainage quality, the better they are able to allocate their resources to maximize their investment returns,” Riddering stated. Montana Hydraulics Currently, Montana Hydraulics is putting the finishing touches on two new products: a new design for covered ballast hoppers that the company says will help mitigate the hassles of frozen ballast, as well as being environmentally friendly, and safer than the other covering systems that our field crews have worked with. Della Ehlke, co-owner of Montana


Hydraulics, explained that covered cars are also substantially more fuel efficient that open topped cars. “We also have developed a ballast car gate system designed for more rugged conditions, which should lead to longer gate life as well as more clearance between car and rail,” Ehlke said. Prototypes are ongoing and in various stages of development with a focus on high-cycle use in everyday service, she said, adding that the company’s ultimate goal remains as saving railroads money by having ballast cars that are operational when needed. “Finalizing these two very important prototypes and the addition of state of the art equipment that allows more efficient shop production of our railroad products has kept us busy this past year,” Ehlke said. “We believe it was the best use of our resources given the current push to keep ballast cars operational.” Montana Hydraulics has also added an additional shop manufacturing facility, with plenty of room for expansion.

The company touted its the experience of its crew of technicians and their ability to perform maintenance work on ballast cars. In 2019, the company will mark the 21st consecutive year that Montana Hydraulics has performed field service work for a major Class 1 railroad. “In addition to our field service for them, we have also designed and built several custom applications for the enhancement of their ballast car operations, some were installed in the field by our technicians, our center mounted bi directional plow was also included in several new ballast car builds,” Ehlke said. The company also provides ballast car service to a couple of regional shortlines and has performed ballast car retrofits for such clients. Montana Hydraulics will be demo-ing its gate system on one of the shortlines’ballast cars later this spring after the weather smoothes out. “Our gate is of particular interest to them due to their desire to economically convey rock from under the car to stockpiles,” Ehlke said.

March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 23

ballast maintenance

A DymaxRail ballast undercutter at work in the field.

A returning trend identified by Montana Hydraulics is for contractors’ expectations to remain more involved in expanded railroad safety training and programs. The attention to “real” cost to railroads of nonfunctioning ballast cars has intensified recently, as well, Ehlke said. “Our customers keep asking for innovative solutions to enhance their operations,

improve on their safety initiatives, help lower their cost basis and lessen environmental impact,” Ehlke said. Throughout the winter months, Ehlke said frozen ballast has continued to create issues, and the demand for ballast cars has continued in most areas despite the weather. A main focus for Montana Hydraulics in the year ahead will be getting information

out about the company’s ballast car cover system and its new ballast gate. “We hope to be at least part of the solution for lost revenue due non-operational ballast cars as a result of frozen ballast,” Ehlke said. “We plan to be prepared to expand our contracted field service work on ballast car maintenance.” The company notes that it also recently completed its ISO 9000: 2015 quality certification audit. Additionally, Montana Hydraulics’ revamped safety program and the team’s focus on safety has produced results. “Our ballast field crew has had 1,438 days without a lost time accident and our shops have had 2,756 days without a lost time accident,” Ehlke explained, as of press time. Plasser American Plasser offers several products to help customers achieve the required ballast results. The company said clean ballast is extremely important to maintain track geometry, and Plasser offers several machines for cleaning ballast. The company

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notes the workhorse of its fleet of machines is the RM80, which can undercut and clean plain track, as well as switches. Additionally, Plasser offers high-capacity double screening units, such as the RM2003 and the RM802 High Speed Undercutter-Cleaner. Plasser also offers various single and double-shaker shoulder cleaners, which the company said utilize endless paddle type excavation cutter chains and is capable of adjusting the cutting width from 24 inches to 60 inches “on the fly.” The cutting angle can also be adjusted to provide for the proper drainage. In instances when track quality cannot be maintained by normal ballast cleaning, due to weak subgrade or continuous fouling from the subgrade, Plasser says a subgrade renewal machine can be used to correct the problem. Subgrade renewal machines remove the ballast layer and the sub-ballast layer, replacing it with a formation protection layer and a layer of ballast in one pass. All of the work is performed without physically removing the track, allowing for shorter track outages. Plasser also offers several versions of these machines, such as the AHM 800 R Formation Rehabilitation Machine. The BDS100/200 Ballast Distribution System continues to be the ideal machine to accompany the high-speed 09-3X tampers or multiple tampers working together, Plasser explained. The machines are equipped with plows to profile the ballast, hopper and conveyors to distribute ballast as needed and double brooms to sweep up and store excess ballast and for final track dressing. MFS Hopper/ Conveyor cars can be added for additional ballast storage; all work is performed in a “one pass” operation. The BDS system may also be operated on its own to distribute ballast and re-profile ballast profiles as needed. Excessive ballast can be picked up and unloaded where needed, such as the high side of curves, switches and road crossings as needed. Plasser’s PBR2005 Ballast Profiling machine has the ability to plow, profile and broom in one pass. The machine is also available with an optional double broom. The PBR2005DB is ideally suited to work behind two-tie tampers where it can easily keep up with the tamper in a ‘one pass’ operation. “The unique design of the shoulder plows allow the machine to reach out and pull in ballast, which was previously beyond the reach of conventional ballast regulators,” Plasser said. rtands.com


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March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 25



he future of railroading is in the hands of the members of the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association. That’s the message from Matt Rose, the soon-to-retire boss of BNSF Railway. “Basically this group has birthed every part of new technology I’ve seen in my 20 years,” Rose told attendees of the NRC Conference in January. And as the drive to cut costs and improve efficiency grows stronger, the rail industry will need even more such innovation, he said. But the rail industry is too small to attract the attention of Silicon Valley, Rose said, noting that “the big bucks are in automating cars.” So the railroads must get their breakthrough ideas from the suppliers and

26 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019

contractors they work with. “We need the people in this room to come to us and say ‘hey, there is another way.’ I hope you guys will always come to us when you think of, or see, something we should be thinking about.” Rose is on a bit of a “farewell tour” as he prepares to hand over the reins at BNSF to a new generation. And his “Fireside Chat” held early on a Monday morning at the NRC Conference, wound up predicting the themes that would occur throughout the NRC conference—generational shifts, technological change and hints of a more aggressive regulatory environment in the near future (See “On Track,” page 3). It was Rose’s warning that a new wave of regulation might be heading toward the industry that attracted the most talk on the

exhibition floor. Rose suggested that two of the biggest issues in railroad—precision scheduled railroading (PSR) and fully automated trains—were likely to lead to additional oversight by the federal government. “PSR redefines what we are willing to accept on a route,” Rose said. But railroads have “this nonwritten rule with our regulators, the DOT and the White House. We have a common carrier obligation. When a railroad says we are no longer going to service this market ... well, one railroad may get away with it. But trust me, there will be a whole series of hearings in DC on this,” he warned. I believe freight railroads are gonna get into trouble with this (with the STB and other regulators.) We still have that obligation to provide service from Point A to Point B.” rtands.com


“There will be a whole series of hearings in D.C. on this,” Matt Rose said of PSRstyle service.

Nearly 150 exhibitors crowded the floor at the J.W. Marriott Marco Island, Jan 6-9, 2019.

The NRC Conference hinted at major changes coming to the rail industry. By Paul Conley, Editor in Chief

Past is Prologue There aren’t many folks working in the industry today who remember the heavily regulated environment prior to the Staggers Act of 1980. Interestingly, one of the key industry figures from that era was admitted to the NRC Hall of Fame at this year’s convention. “We were in a world of hurt. Overregulation was killing freight,” said Ray Chambers, a pioneer of rail lobbying and a former president of the NRC. “That has been largely fixed.” And in one of the more touching moments at the conference, NRC president Chuck Baker, who was first hired by Chambers, officially welcomed Chambers into the Hall of Fame. (Editor’s Note: Baker resigned from the NRC several weeks after the rtands.com

Darwin Isdahl, VP for Safety & Continuous Improvement, displays Loram’s Platinum safety award.

conference to become president and CEO of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. On Feb. 13, the NRC said Matt Bell would take the helm at NRC.) For his part, Chambers is optimistic about the future of the industry. Noting that the FAST Act Surface Transportation Bill expires in 2020, and that PSR has become the industry norm,he told the conference it was time to push for a massive infusion of federal dollars to build out the passenger rail network. “My feeling is now is the time for a permanent sustainable funding of infrastructure for passenger that works with scheduled railroading,” he said. Capital spending Permanent sustainable funding of any type of rail construction would certainly be

A major highlight of any NRC Conference is the naming of the Projects of the Year. SEMA Construction won Large Railroad Construction Project of the Year for the BNSF Alliance IMF Expansion Project. Fay/i+icon USA won Small Railroad Construction Project of the Year for the LIRC FlatRock River Bridge Project. Detailed profiles of both projects will appear in the May issue of Railway Track & Structures.

welcome news to attendees at the conference. The center of every NRC conference are the capital spending plans for railroads. Virtually every Class 1, several shortlines, and some transit systems, shared details of their 2019 planned capex. But for nearly all of those railroads, projected spending for 2019 is flat (See Railway Track and Structures, February 2019, page 24.) See you in San Diego More than 1,100 people attended the conference on Marco Island. That’s going to be a hard number to beat, but the NRC will try when it gathers in San Diego, Jan. 5-8, 2020. Watch for updates in Railway Track and Structures, and the NRCMA.org and RTandS.com websites. March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 27

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in Railroad Maintenance 2019 Highlights: Application of Data Analytics in Railroad Track Maintenance


ata Science is an interdisciplinary field using evolving analysis tools and techniques to extract knowledge or insights from data in various forms, either structured or unstructured. This includes making use of all of the current and emerging data collection systems railways utilize to monitor infrastructure and equipment condition, and using this data to optimize and plan maintenance, as well as improve safety. Figure 1 shows how current and future data acquisition systems integrated with enhanced data analytics lead to effective maintenance at a minimum cost, according to Erland Tegelberg, managing consultant, Strukton Rail North America. Tegelberg made his remarks in a

30 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019

presentation called “Effective Asset Management and Exciting New Big Data Sources” at this year’s annual Big Data in Railroad Maintenance Planning Conference, held at the University of Delaware on December 13-14, 2018. The conference highlighted the progress being made by railroads, suppliers and academia in applying “Big Data” analytic techniques to develop and implement analytical tools that will help railroads and transit get the most “actionable” information from their growing volume of data. While the conference addressed data across all of the railroad and transit operational areas, there was considerable focus on track and infrastructure, such as in in the area of rail maintenance management

and risk reduction. Here too, the conference addressed the overall data integration and analysis approach, as illustrated in Figure 2 which shows the data integration, analysis and application cycle for rail replacement decisions, according to Leonidas Kontokostas, in his presentation on “Big Data Integration and Analysis for Driving and Prioritizing Rail Replacements.” The growing use of data analytics was seen in all aspects of track maintenance and safety, ranging from rail wear prediction, broken rail safety, tie design and inspection and prediction of track geometry degradation and associated risk of derailments. A presentation by Michael Messner, assistant director of roadway planning, BNSF Railway, showed a clear reduction rtands.com

Shutterstock.com/ spainter_vfx

By Allan M Zarembski, PhD, PE FASME, Hon Mbr AREMA Professor of Practice and Director Railroad Engineering and Safety Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Delaware


Figure 1. Integration of Data Acquisition Systems and Data Analytics in Maintenance Actions

in track-caused derailments directly associated with increased track miles tested. Messner went even further to discuss the development of a prediction model to predict which “Yellow Tags ” will turn Red, i.e. which maintenance ”exceptions” will develop into Red or safety defects usually requiring immediate intervention or corrective action. Another presentation by ENSCO’s Katrina Smart and Daniel Einbinder, called“Utilizing Bayesian Inference and Machine Learning to Identify Risks to Railroads”, discussed a model for calculating the probability of a track geometry caused derailment as a function of a Geometry Condition Indicator (GCI) and distance from the geometry condition. Prediction of rail failure to include both fatigue and wear was a recurring focus, with one class one railroad developing a rail wear modeling tool that has since been incorporated into their capital planning process. Figure 3 illustrates another risk model, rtands.com

Figure 2. Data Integration, Analysis and Application Cycle for Rail Replacement Decisions [3]

focusing on the risk of developing recurrent rail defects and rail service defects, according to Qing He, associate professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, SUNY. Another recurring focus was one of correcting errors in position or location, associated with repeated measurements on the same section of track at different times. This is a problem that has long plagued railway engineers trying

to compare multiple measurement runs to include track geometry measurement runs, rail profile measurement runs, or any other “continuous” type of measurements. Several presenters addressed such related issues as: • Correcting Position Errors in overlay of multiple measurement runs to include rail profile and track geometry ( see Figure 5) and tie condition. • Correction of position errors such as March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 31

big data

Figure 3. Risk Model for Development of Recurrent Rail Defects

Figure 5. Track Geometry Alignment Process [10]

Figure 6. Methodology for Correction of Position Errors due to Multiple Causes 32 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019

Absolute Position Error (APE), and Relative Position Error (RPE), associated with measurement systems, wheel slip and adhesion, (Figure 6). • Correction of position errors due to the use of different measurement systems or vehicles, where measurement systems or sensors are located in different locations within the vehicle (Figure 6) • Addressing “abnormal” data or data exceptions (Figure 6) The range of analytical tools currently being used by railways and their suppliers, as well as by researchers, was equally impressive. They ranged from predictive analytic tools such as Logistic Regression and Bayesian Inference to Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms using such techniques as Image Recognition, Blockchain Technology, Language Recognition, Text Analytics, etc. Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA), is a Language Recognition technique used to analyze relationships between a set of documents and the terms they contain can be integrated with a broad range of railroad collected data into an overall predictive modeling framework for prioritizing track segments for maintenance, according to a presentation titled “Using Text and Data Analytics to Study Railroad Operations,” by Trefor Williams, professor, Rutgers University, and John Betak, managing member, Collaborative Solutions LLC. Overall, this year’s Big Data in Railroad Maintenance conference, with a record 255 registrants and keynote speaker Ron Batory, the FRA Administrator, had a much greater focus on what has been accomplished in the implementation of data analytics to develop predictive models and tools for both maintenance and safety; i.e. transforming Big Data analytics into actionable information (deliverables.) Thus, the conference echoes the movement of the industry itself, from just starting to think about the use of their data, to actual development and application of tools to use the data across the spectrum of railroad operations and maintenance. The University of Delaware expects even more insightful information to be available in its next Big Data 2019 conference. The 2019 Big Data in Railroad Maintenance Planning conference will be held on December 11-12, 2019 at the University of Delaware’s Newark, Delaware campus. For more information contact Professor Allan M Zarembski at dramz@udel.edu. rtands.com


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Membership in AREMA demonstrates that you are a professional dedicated to improving your knowledge and are interested in advancing the railroad engineering industry.

Renew your membership today.


AREMA helps further your education by offering numerous seminars, webinars and also the recommended practices for railway engineering infrastructure. Through your membership, stay connected as a member of AREMA Technical Committees. If you have not already done so, be sure to renew your membership today to take advantage of what AREMA can offer you. Login now to www.arema.org and renew your 2019 dues. Not a member? Join today.

Message from the President

James K. Kessler, PE AREMA President



REMA’s mission as stated in our Strategic Plan is to “facilitate the development, advancement and curation of both technical and practical knowledge and recommended practices pertaining to the design, construction and maintenance of railway infrastructure.” Among the most

Professional Development A R E M A i s f o c u s e d o n yo u r e d u c a ti o n a n d h e l p i n g yo u advance in the railway industry. AREMA’s web courses and in-person seminars provide Professional Development Hours (PDH) to serve your educational needs. Introduction to Practical Railway Engineering Seminar Date: March 20-22 Location: Las Vegas, NV PDH: 20 Introduction to Practical Railway Engineering Seminar Date: May 20-22 Location: Lan h am, MD (Ne ar Washington, D.C.) PDH: 20 For more information on our webinar and seminar programs and to register, please visit www. arema.org.


visible ways AREMA disseminates the knowledge of our members is through technical presentations at the association’s Annual Conference. We look forward to having you join us at the AREMA 2019 Annual Conference in conjunction with Railway InterchangeTM 2019 to be held in Minneapolis from Sept. 22 – 25. In addition to our excellent technical presentations, we are excited to welcome this year Vernice Armour, America’s first African American female combat pilot as our Keynote Speaker at Monday’s General Session, John Hellmann, chairman, president and CEO of Genesee and Wyoming, Inc. as our Tuesday Annual Committee Chairs Luncheon Keynote Speaker and Tony Hatch will be providing a railway industry update to close the Conference on Wednesday. Registration and housing will open April 2. Much hard work goes into making arrangements for the Annual Conference, preparing the programs and ensuring the Conference operates smoothly. While Headquarters staff handles many of the details, such as hotel and facility arrangements, and coordinates with our partner organizations (RSI, REMSA and RSSI), the Program and Conference Operating Committees are the backbone of producing the program. The Program Committee is charged with the responsibility for arranging the conference program including steps such as reviewing, critiquing and selecting the technical presentations for the conference. Led this year by Ed Sparks, senior vice president, much of the committee’s work is performed by the Functional Group vice presidents who serve as committee members and with the assistance of the directors in their Functional Groups. Abstracts are submitted to AREMA in December and are assigned to the appropriate Functional Groups for review. Each Functional Group evaluates the abstracts for relevance to their Functional Group and for interest to AREMA members. The Program Committee meets in February when the Tuesday technical session agendas are prepared and the presentations for the Monday and Wednesday General Sessions are selected. The authors of the selected abstracts submit their papers to AREMA in the spring for review by the Program Committee. All papers are read and comments are provided

to the authors to ensure the quality of the papers meets AREMA Guidelines. The PowerPoint presentations are also reviewed and critiqued prior to giving final approval. The efforts of the Program Committee result in the excellent presentations attendees see at the Annual Conference each year. Following the work put forth by Headquarters staff and the Program Committee to organize the Annual Conference, much work lies ahead to pull it all off. The success of the Annual Conference is due in a large part to the dedication of the Conference Operating Committee (COC). Joe Bamert, Norfolk Southern and Anthony DiGirolamo, Kiewit Engineering Company, lead the group of about 30 individuals. The COC began operating nearly a century ago in the early days of AREA (a predecessor organization of AREMA) where it would have handled most of the arrangements for the Annual Conference, even negotiating hotel contracts for meeting space. While those duties are now handled by Headquarters staff, the COC today has a critical role of ensuring the success of the Annual Conference. As Joe Bamert notes, “Today’s COC members consist mostly of railroaders, consultants, and vendors. We are a familiar face at the Annual Conference and an extension of the AREMA HQ staff during that time. We are mostly seen at registration or access control, but we provide essential behind-the-scenes support for the HQ staff. Most importantly we are the eyes and ears for a variety of events ensuring a safe and successful conference.” Bamert also explained how technology has evolved and the Committee’s ability to change: “For example take Registration: many of our current COC members like to reminisce about the days of using selfcentering typewriters for conference badges (and if you messed up, you started over again). Members then touted the evolution of pre-printed badges. But technology with online registration and self-printing badges has been the most visible advancement. We thought this improvement would threaten the COC headcount, but as the conferences have grown and shared with Railway InterchangeTM every other year, our headcount remains the same with duties merely shifting. At Chicago in 2018 we started using lead retrieval for attendance counts for sessions, meetings, and events. I believe you will see March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 35

more of this in the future and the COC will be there to assist.” Anthony commented on the camaraderie within the COC and relationships that have been developed: “One of the aspects I love about the COC is that our group has many retired and senior railroaders. Some of these members have been serving on the COC as long as 25 years. I often find myself listening to “how it used to be” or “you guys got it so easy now” railroad stories. These stories remind me how dangerous and, at the same

time, glorious the railroad industry was before technology. Joe and I try to pair the COC student interns or younger staff with these veterans because we understand that both parties have much knowledge to give and receive.” I want to thank all of our dedicated members on the Program and Conference Operating Committees. You will see the results of their work as we enjoy the AREMA 2019 Annual Conference this fall. See you in Minneapolis!

Upcoming Committee Meetings March 12 - 13 Committee 38 - Information,

May 15 - 16 Committee 5 – Track

Defect Detection & Energy Systems Jacksonville, FL

Little Rock, AR

March 13 - 14 Committee 39 - Positive Train Control Jacksonville, FL March 21 Committee 12 - Rail Transit Teleconference March 24 - 26 Committee 11 - Commuter & Intercity Rail Systems Raleigh & Charlotte, NC Committee 17 - High Speed Rail Systems Raleigh & Charlotte, NC April 2019 Committee 14 - Yards & Terminals Norfolk, VA May 2019 Committee 34 – Scales San Diego, CA May 14 - 15 Committee 15 – Steel Structures Kansas City, MO

June 18 - 19 Committee 10 - Structures, Maintenance & Construction Petaluma, CA September 10 - 11 Committee 15 - Steel Structures Columbus, OH September 22 Committee 10 - Structures, Maintenance & Construction Minneapolis, MN 2020 January Committee 10 - Structures, Maintenance & Construction Albuquerque, NM June Committee 10 - Structures, Maintenance & Construction New York, NY September 13 Committee 10 - Structures, Maintenance & Construction Dallas, TX

If you’d like to learn more about the AREMA Technical Committees and would like to get involved, please contact Alayne Bell at abell@arema.org. For a complete list of all committee meetings, visit https://www.arema.org/events.aspx. Negotiated airline discount information for AREMA Committee meetings can be found online at: http://www.arema.org/meetings/airlines.aspx.

36 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019


T h e re i s s t i l l t i m e to re n e w y o u r Membership: Be sure to renew your m e m b e rsh ip on lin e today at w w w. arema.org to not miss out on what AREMA can offer you. Save The Date: Registration opens April 2 for th e AR EMA 2019 An n ual Conference in conjunction with Railway InterchangeTM , Sept. 22-25 in Minneapolis, Minn. Visit www.conference. arema.org for the latest details. Re-released after four years, order the NEW 2018 edition of the Portfolio of Trackwork Plans. The edition features new plans and specifications that relate to the design, details, materials and workmanship for switches, frogs, turnouts & crossovers, crossings, rails and other special trackwork. Order online now at www.arema.org or contact mbruins@ arema.org for more details. Order the 2019 Communications & Signals Manual now. With more than 50 new, revised, reaffirmed or extended Manual Parts, it’s the perfect time to get the 2019 Manual. Order online at www.arema.org or contact mbruins@arema.org. Want to generate leads, promote a product and reach a target audience? Sign up for sponsorship at the AREMA 2019 Annual Conference in conjunction with Railway Inte rch an g eTM . Ple ase v i s i t w w w. a r e m a . o r g o r c o n t a c t lmcnicholas@arema.org for more information on sponsorship investment opportunities! Call for Entries for the 2019 Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence. The selection process for the 20th W. W. Hay Award has begun. Entries must be submitted by May 24, 2019. Please visit www.arema. org for more information. Leverage the power of your trusted association’s Railway Care e rs Network to tap into a talent pool of job candidates with the training and e d u c a t i o n n e e d e d f o r l o n g -t e r m success. Visit www.arema.org/careers to p os t yo u r j o b to d a y. Use co d e RAILCAREER to receive a discount.


Highlights from the AREMA Student Poster Competition By Committee 24 – Education and Training


ver the years, the AREMA Student Poster Competition hosted by Committee 24 – Education and Training, has become one of the highlights of the student activities at the AREMA Annual Conferences. Open to undergraduate and graduate students, the Annual Poster Competition provides students with a professional and technical forum for presenting their engineering projects, solutions and endeavors while interacting with a variety of industry professionals. The posters are reviewed by two panels of industry professionals and scored based on their content and relevance to railway engineering and construction. Winning submissions are displayed at the Monday morning General Session Coffee Break and winners are able to present their posters to Conference attendees. Each year has seen strong representation from the AREMA Student Chapters and the 2018 Competition continued this trend with participants from nine competing universities. We would like to recognize this year’s top placing posters who have continued to build on the success of previous years and delivered outstanding presentations.

Graduate Level First Place The Improvement of the Hydromechanical Behavior and the Shear Strength Characteristics of a Collapsible Soil Stabilized with Cement Hossein Bahmyari from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Abstract Collapsible soils have brought serious problems

Hossein Bahmyari, University of Nebraska Lincoln with his poster. rtands.com

in construction sites when they are wetted due to their considerable volume change. These problematic soils are distributed widely in the aired and semi-aired areas of the world. Due to rapid urbanization in recent years, it is inevitable to neglect the behavior of collapsible soils. Therefore, proposing methods for controlling the collapsibility has been of notable attention for geotechnical engineers. In this study, the collapsibility behavior of soils at different sides of the compaction curve is investigated. Second Place Crosstie/Ballast Pressure Measurement and Analysis Travis Watts from University of Kentucky Abstract It has been desirable for years to develop a reasonably simple, accurate, and reliable method to directly measure the average vertical pressure magnitudes and distributions at the crosstie/ballast interface in railroad trackbeds. Many of the assumptions used today in trackbed design were based on analytical methods, which have never been verified by direct measurement. This research looks to perform that task. Third Place Machine Learning Ensembles and Rail Defects Prediction: A Multi-Layer Stacking Methodology Ahmed Lasisi from University of Delaware Abstract The role of machine learning in railway track engineering is becoming increasingly popular perhaps due to perpetual data collection by railways and the need for automated systems to enable informed

Travis Watts’ poster under review.

management decisions. A case for track defect prognosis in railway track engineering is presented in this work. Undergraduate Level First Place Performance of HSRM-HPC Crossties Under Simulated Track Conditions Kevin Barberena from University of South Carolina Abstract Development of a High Strength Reduced Modulus - High Performance Concrete (HSRM-HPC) has resulted in a crosstie that meets or exceeds the Chapter 30 - Ties qualification tests for concrete ties. The performance of these ties are measured in a short track built in the University of South Carolina structures lab under simulated track conditions and compared to the standard concrete ties under the same conditions. Second Place North American Railroad Signal Aspects & Indications Demo Alex Christmas from Michigan Technological University Abstract North America’s railroads have developed scores of different wayside signal types, often unique to the railroad but all with the same purpose: to keep train operations safe and efficient. In order to advance our engineering skillsets, educate interested individuals, and have some fun modeling, we developed this signal demo to show off North America’s varied railroad signal landscape. It can be used in a variety of applications from instructing

Ahmed Lasisi, Graduate Student from University of Delaware with his poster. March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 37

Kevin Barberena, of the University of South Carolina, with his 1st place undergraduate poster.

Alex Christmas (right) from Michigan Technological University with his poster.

Luis Almeida from Penn State – Altoona presents his poster.

people on an individual rulebook to simply standing alone as a unique and realistic oneeighth scale model.

mitigation technologies used on the network lines crossing the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains, to establish a comparison between the accident rate reductions and the positive impact of the advanced products and solutions throughout the past century. The main objective of this study is analyzing whether the improved tools and machinery adopted by the industry have been effective to decrease accidents and strengthen safety, efficiency, and reliability.

These submissions continue to demonstrate the ever-increasing caliber of presentation that has come to be expected from student Poster Competition winners. We look forward to reviewing future entries at the next student Poster Competition to be held at the 2019 AREMA Annual Conference in conjunction with Railway Interchange in Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 22 – 25, 2019.

Third Place Analysis of Winter Weather Accidents and Snow Removal Strategies in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains Regions Luis Almeida from Penn State - Altoona Abstract The present survey reviews the snow

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MARCH 11-15. Railroad Track Inspection & Safety Standards. TN Valley Railroad Museum. Chattanooga, Tenn. Website: http://ttap. utk.edu/. 14-15. Passenger & Freight Railroads Unite 2019. Westin Washington, D.C. City Center. Contact: Dan Elliott, Conner & Winters LLP. Phone: 202-887-2112. Email: DElliottIII@cwlaw.com. Website: www. cwlaw.com. 17-19. APTA 2019 Legislative Conference. G ra n d H ya t t, 1 0 0 0 H . St re e t N .W. Washington, D.C. Contact: Kwakuita Spence. Phone: 202-496-4800. Email: kspence@apta.com. Website: https:// www.apta.com.

Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Transportation Technology Center Inc. in Pueblo, Colo.

APRIL 1-3. Rail Passengers Association Spring A d vo c a c y C o n f e r e n c e. We s ti n Ci t y C e nte r i n Wa s h i n g to n , D.C . Ph o n e: 202-408-8362. Website: https://www. railpassengers.org/. 6-9. American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s 2019 Connections Convention. Orlando, Fla. Contact: Kathy Cassidy. Phone: 202-585-3443. E-mail: kca s si d y@ a s l rra .o rg . We bsite: w w w. Aslrra.org.

21. New England Railroad Club 2019 Ra i l Te c h Conf e re n ce. D CU Ce nte r. Worcester, Mass. Website: http://www. nerailroadclub.com/.

24. NRC Rail Construction and Maintenance Equipment 16th Annual Auction. Blackmon Auctions. Lonoke, Ark. Website: www.nrcma.org/2019auction. Contact: dbrown@u1source.com or mbell@ nrcma.org.

26-27. 24th Annual AAR Research Review.

29-5/3. Regulation, Safety and the Rail

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Data and signal protection

Safety harness

nVent ERICO has recently introduced its RTBN (Rail Transient Barrier Next Generation), which the company describes as an offering for the next generation in signal and data protection. With a maximum surge rating of 40kA 8/20 (nominal surge rating is 20kA), the RTBN is intended to provide the performance and reliability that end-users expect. RTBN’s DIN rail grounding connection aims to eliminate the need for additional wires. Its new design is compact, with a latching surge module that minimizes issues caused by vibration and human error, nVent ERICO said. Additional features include a thermal disconnect for safe end of life, visual status indicators, and remote monitoring, all of which are now standard maintenance functionalities. nVent ERICO said it has subjected RTBN to surge current testing and overload current testing to ensure reliable protection during transient events, as well as shock and vibration testing to ensure that RTBN will withstand and perform in demanding rail settings. Website: nVent.com.

Pure Safety Group (PSG), a company dedicated to fall protection offerings, recently released two new products to complete its Series line-up of three Guardian Fall Protection safety harnesses. The company aims to keep workers at tall heights safe in real-life work scenarios. PSG explained that all harnesses meet OSHA standards, exceed ANSI standards and are pending CSA certification. The company’s Series 3 and Series 5 full-body fall protection harnesses are used for personal fall arrest, work positioning, restraint and rescue/confined space applications. Both of the harnesses feature a chest strap that prevents improper adjustment and accidental slippage, rubber web ends that fold over and protect the harnesses against damage, as well as dual lanyard keepers for safe storage of unused lanyard legs. Both of the harnesses are equipped with a loop to enable easy connections to a dual SRL connector, freeing up the D-ring for other attachments, the company said. The harnesses also feature an optional heavy-duty waist pad and belt to accommodate tools. Website: www.puresafetygroup.com.

The Railway Educational Bureau Track Safety Standards


Workplace Safety

Subparts A-F

Track Safety Standards, contains all the Track Safety Standards, Subparts A-F, for Classes of track 1-5. The standards cover general information, Roadbed, Track Geometry, Track Structure, Track Appliances and Track-Related Devices, and Inspection. Includes Defect Codes. Updated April 3, 2017. Track Safety Standards, Subparts A-F Only $9.86 for orders of 50 or more!


Bridge Safety Standards FRA Part 237 establishes Federal safety requirements for railroad bridges. This rule requires track owners to implement bridge management programs, which include annual inspections of railroad bridges, and to audit the programs. Part 237 also requires track owners to know the safe load capacity of bridges and to conduct special inspections if the weather or other conditions warrant such inspections. Updated April 3, 2017. Bridge Safety Standards $7.95 BKBRIDGE

Federal Regulations

This reprint includes the FRA's Railroad Workplace Safety Standards addressing roadway workers and their work environments. These laws cover such things as: personal protective equipment, fall protection, and scaffolding for bridgeworkers; and training issues. Also includes safety standards for on-track roadway vehicles. Updated April 3, 2017.



Railroad Workplace Safety Only $9.45 for orders of 50 or more!

Track Calculator The Track Safety Standards Calculator is a must for anyone who works on track. This slide rule type calculator contains many of the details for Classes of track 1- 5. Deviation from uniform profile and from zero cross level. Difference in cross level. Updated as of July 11, 2013. BKTCAL Track Calculator $10.50 Only $9.50 for orders of 50 or more!

Only $7.15 for orders of 50 or more!

The Railway Educational Bureau 1809 Capitol Ave., Omaha NE, 68102 www.RailwayEducationalBureau.com 40 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019



Add Shipping & Handling if your merchandise subtotal is:

UP TO $10.00 10.01 - 25.00 25.01 - 50.00 50.01 - 75.00

U.S.A. $4.50 7.92 10.78 11.99

CAN $8.75 12.65 16.80 21.20

Orders over $75, call for shipping


Ad Index






AREMA Marketing Department





Balfour Beatty





Brandt Road Rail Corp





Custom Truck





Diversified Metal Fabricators, Inc.





Gerogetown Rail Equipment Co




Cover 3

Herzog Railroad Services, Inc




Holland Lp





Hougen Manufacturing





Knox Kershaw Inc





Light Rail





Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc.




Cover 2

Montana Hydraulics LLC





North American Rail Products Inc









Omni Products Inc





Ontario Trap Rock



Cover 4

Progress Rail, A Caterpillar Company





Rail Insights



conferences @sbpub.com







RCE Equipment Solutions Inc.





Railway Education Bureau, The




39, 40

Advertising Sales MAIN OFFICE Jonathan Chalon Publisher 55 Broad St., 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 (212) 620-7224 Fax: (212) 633-1863 jchalon@sbpub.com AL, KY, TN Jonathan Chalon 55 Broad St., 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 (212) 620-7224 Fax: (212) 633-1863 jchalon@sbpub.com

CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA, WV, Canada – Quebec and East, Ontario Jerome Marullo 55 Broad St., 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 (212) 620-7260 Fax: (212) 633-1863 jmarullo@sbpub.com AR, AK, AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, In, KS, LA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NM, ND, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY, Canada – AB, BC, MB, SK Heather Disabato 20 South Clark Street, Suite 1910 Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 683-5026 Fax: (312) 683-0131 hdisabato@sbpub.com The Netherlands, Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal,

Switzerland, North Germany, Middle East, South America, Africa (not South), Far East (Excluding Korea / China/India), All Others, Tenders Louise Cooper International Area Sales Manager The Priory, Syresham Gardens Haywards Heath, RH16 3LB United Kingdom +44-1444-416368 Fax: +44-(0)-1444-458185 lc@railjournal.co.uk Scandinavia, Spain, Southern Germany, Austria, Korea, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Eastern Europe Baltic States, Recruitment Advertising Michael Boyle International Area Sales Manager Nils Michael Boyle Dorfstrasse 70, 6393 St. Ulrich, Austria. +011436767089872 mboyle@railjournal.com

Reader Referral Service This section has been created solely for the convenience of our readers to facilitate immediate contact with the RAILWAY TRACK & STRUCTURES advertisers in this issue.

Italy, Italian-speaking Switzerland Dr. Fabio Potesta Media Point & Communications SRL Corte Lambruschini Corso Buenos Aires 8 V Piano, Genoa, Italy 16129 +39-10-570-4948 Fax: +39-10-553-0088 info@mediapointsrl.it Japan Katsuhiro Ishii Ace Media Service, Inc. 12-6 4-Chome, Nishiiko, Adachi-Ku Tokyo 121-0824 Japan +81-3-5691-3335 Fax: +81-3-5691-3336 amkatsu@dream.com CLASSIFIED, PROFESSIONAL & EMPLOYMENT Jeanine Acquart 55 Broad St., 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 (212) 620-7211 Fax: (212) 633-1325 jacquart@sbpub.com

The Advertisers Index is an editorial feature maintained for the convenience of readers. It is not part of the advertiser contract and RTS assumes no responsibility for the correctness.


March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 41

New & Used Equipment

R. E. L. A. M., INC.


SECTION TRUCKS – GRAPPLE TRUCKS ROTARY DUMP TRUCKS ... PICKUP TRUCKS … AND MORE ALSO HEAVY DUTY HI-RAIL TIE & RAIL CARTS Omaha Track Equipment 13010 F Plaza • Omaha NE 68137 (402) 339-4512 Contact PAUL WARD • (402) 651-6632 paul@omahatrack.com




Service Parts

New and Used Hi-Rail Trucks Available Medium Section Trucks from $59,000

Email: RelamCFE@aol.com Tel: 440-439-7088 Fax: 440-439-9399 Visit our website at: www.relaminc.com EQUIPMENT FOR SHORT OR LONG TERM LEASE HARSCO AND NORDCO TAMPERS 6700S, 6700SJ, 6700SJ2 Switch and Production Tampers Mark IV Switch and Production Tampers 3300 and HST Chase Tampers 3000 Tampers w/Raise & Line or Chase Tampers 2400 Tampers w/Raise & Line HYDRAULIC STABILIZERS HARSCO TS-30HDs TIE INSERTERS/EXTRACTORS Nordco TRIPPs TR-10s and TKOs 925 S/Ss, Standards, KTR-400s KNOX KERSHAW PRODUCTS KBR-860s and 925s, KSF-940 Ballast Regulators & Snow Fighters KBR-940 Dual Head Brush Cutters KTC-1200 Tie Cranes KKA-1000/1050 Kribber-Adzers KPB-200 Plate Brooms NORDCO ANCHOR APPLICATORS, SPIKERS & GRABBERS Models CX and SS Spikers M-3 Screw Spike Machines Model F Anchor Machines and BAAMs Model SP2R Dual Spike Puller/Grabbers RACINE RAILROAD PRODUCTS Dual Anchor Spreaders, Squeezers, Knockers (Anchor Removers), Anchor Applicators, DAACs (Dual Anchor Adjuster Cribber), Dual e-Clip Applicators, Ride-on Regauge Adzers, TPIs, Tie Straighteners, OTM Reclaimers, SAFELOK IIIs (SAR IIIs) HI-RAIL CRANES, SPEEDSWINGS & RAILHEATERS Pettibone Model 445E/445F Speedswings w/Multiple Attachments (F’s with Tier 4 Engine) Geismar 360/360-Tronic Hi-Rail Excavators, (Cold Air Blower, Brush Cutter, Grapple, Heel Boom, Train Air & Knuckle available) Badger 30 Ton Cranes w/Hi-Rails Propane and Diesel Railheaters - Single & Dual Sided, Self-propelled w/Vibrators HI-RAIL TRUCKS, EXCAVATORS, & CARTS Hi-Rail Gradalls, XL3300 Series III w/Digging Buckets & Brush Cutters Hi-Rail Rotary Dumps, Various Hi-Rail Pickups Hi-Rail Grapple Trucks (available w/Magnet, Rail Racks & Creep Drive) 25-ton Hudson Ballast Cars 25-ton Rail and OTM Carts, 5-ton Tie Carts

Available for Lease

Ready for Nationwide Delivery: - Welding Trucks - Pickup Trucks - Service Bodies

- Flatbeds - Bucket Trucks

- Section Trucks - Grapple Trucks

- Track Inspector Trucks - Boom Trucks

CAll Tim Marr: 612-716-2878 • TMarr@aspeneq.com 42 Railway Track & Structures // March 2019

3000 cu ft Covered Hopper Cars 4650 cu ft Covered Hopper Cars 4300 cu ft Aluminum Rotary Open Top Gons 65 ft, 100-ton log spine cars equipped with six (6) log bunks 60 ft, 100 ton Plate F box cars, cushioned underframe and 10 ft plug doors 50 ft, 100 ton Plate C box cars, cushioned underframe and 10 ft plug doors 26,671 Gallon, 263k GRL, NC/NI Tank Cars Contact: Tom Monroe: 415-616-3472 Email: tmonroe@atel.com rtands.com

Professional Directory

Products & Services

ERIC HEADRICK President 205 N. Chestnut/PO Box 404 Arcola, IL 61910

Ph217-268-5110 cell217-259-4823 Fax217-268-3059 email eric@rrcri.com Exchange Units/Related Tamper Parts and Assemblies To purchase parts, contact: New & Rebuilt sales@rrcri.com Electromatic/Hydraulic Units available for same Workheads day shipping

MARKETPLACE SALES Contact: Jeanine Acquart Ph: 212/620-7211 Fax: 212/633-1165 Email: jacquart@sbpub.com


New & Used Equipment


• Track construction and maintenance • On-track ditching and rotary dump service • On-track tree trimming and brushcutting • Storm and flood cleanup and debris removal • Tie distribution, removal and disposal

K. W. Reese, Inc.

MOW Equipment Lease & Sale Brushcutting Specialized Hauling Track Surfacing Low Boys with Rail

www.RailwayEquipmentServices.net “A full service company with over 25 yrs exp!”

Box 298 • Mercersburg, PA 17236

(717) 328-5211 • fax (717) 328-9541 • www.kwreese.com

2018 NRC PlatiNum Safety awaRd wiNNeR

An Authorized Harsco Remanufacturing Facility Let Precision remanufacture your non-functional, outdated 6700 into a fully functional 6700 with the latest technology. If you have an old, worn-out 6700 tamper, we have your solution. CALL 620-485-4277 OR VISIT PRECISIONRWY.COM FOR MORE DETAILS






825 S. 19th St., Independence, KS 67301


March 2019 // Railway Track & Structures 43

RAIL NEWS DELIVERED TO YOU AT HIGH SPEED RAIL GROUP NEWS brings you a daily round-up of news stories from Railway Age, RT&S, and IRJ. This email newsletter offers North American and global news and analysis of the freight and passenger markets. From developments in rail technology, operations, and strategic planning to legislative issues and engineering news, we’ve got you covered.

RAIL From Railway Age, RT&S and IRJ GROUP http://bit.ly/rail_news NEWS



HOW QUICKLY CAN YOU GET BACK FROM A WASHOUT? WITH GREX, AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. After a washout, every minute a line is out of service becomes critical. Our versatile work platforms quickly clear mud and debris or deposit riprap. And the DumpTrain® and DumpTrain for Curves® can precisely deliver thousands of tons of aggregate per hour.

DumpTrain® With the ability to precisely offload 2,000 tons of ballast per hour, the DumpTrain is essential for any washout repair effort.



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AREMA Compliant Meets all North American railway applications and AREMA specifications



FRANK HURKMANS REGIONAL SALES MANAGER – CANADA (519) 709-4377 // fhurkmans@tomlinsongroup.com

BILL SANDERS REGIONAL SALES MANAGER – US (219) 775-5783 // bsanders@tomlinsongroup.com

www.tomlinsongroup.com | Ontario Trap Rock is a division of the Tomlinson Group of Companies | ©2017 Ontario Trap Rock. All Rights Reserved