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March 2013 |

Nothing basic about

Ballast Maintenance plus 45G Tax Credit Q&A NRC Conference Report And also AREMA News p.42



March 2013





Industry Today 5 Supplier News 9 People

A snapshot of ballast maintenance practices North American manufacturers are incorporating technological advancements into todays ballast maintenance equipment.




Shortline tax credit questions and answers One bright spot of this year’s fiscal cliff deal was the extension of the shortline tax credit, but what could be in the future for 45G?


2013 NRC Conference report NRC’s annual gathering attracted an impressive number of attendees to and equally impressive location. A Loram Railvac offers shoulder cleaning services and other ballast maintenance functions.


On Track  The smartest folks in the room


NRC Chairman’s Column Railroad Day on the Hill and equipment auction coming right up

36 Departments 13 TTCI R&D 42 Arema News 48 Products 49 Advertisers Index 49 Sales Representatives 50 Calendar 51 Classified Advertising 52 Professional Directory

Story on page 20.

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Railway Track & Structures

March 2013 1

On Track


Vol. 109, No. 3 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 Mischa Wanek-Libman/Editor, Jennifer Nunez/Assistant Editor, CORPORATE OFFICES 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, N.Y. 10004 Telephone (212) 620-7200 Fax (212) 633-1165 Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr./ President and Chairman Jonathan Chalon/Publisher George S. Sokulski/Associate Publisher Emeritus Mary Conyers/Production Director Maureen Cooney/Circulation Director Jane Poterala/Conference Director

Railway Track & Structures (Print ISSN 0033-9016, Digital ISSN 2160-2514), (USPS 860-560), (Canada Post Cust. #7204654), (Bluechip Int’l, Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Agreement # 41094515) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices. Pricing, Qualified individual in the railroad employees may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions printed 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. BOTH Print & Digital Versions: 1 year Railroad Employees US/Canada/Mexico $24.00; all others $69.00; foreign $120.00; foreign, air mail $220.00. 2 years Railroad Employees US/Canada/Mexico $45.00; all others $128.00; foreign $209.00; foreign, air mail $409.00. Single Copies are $10.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2013. 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 & address changes, Please call (800) 895-4389, (402) 346-4740, Fax (402) 346-3670, e-mail or write to: Railway Track & Structures, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Railway Track & Structures, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010.

The smartest folks in the room


ne of the events I look forward to attending ever year is the Annual Research Review at Transportation Technology Center, Inc., in Pueblo, Colo. This year, the event was held March 5-6. It’s TTCI’s time to present a run down of the past year’s reasearch and results and a chance for the industry to see and walk the three-mile Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) loop, where a lot of the testing takes place. I have to admit, when it came time for me to attend my first research review, “looking forward to it” is not the term I would have used. I may have more than a decade in the industry, but I am not an engineer. In fact, on those career assesment tests everyone my age had to take in school, an engineering-related field was never mentioned on my results sheet. The prospect of sitting for an eight-hour day in a single room, while heavy research was presented via PowerPoint and statistics...well, we’ve all been in a position like this, I was intimidated. As it turns out, I had only my assumptions to blame and after attending my first research review, it struck me that I loved it. Here is the reason why: TTCI researchers have a passion for their work, believe in their research and approach each study without bias towards a particluar manufacturer or material type, but with the goal of advancing the rail industry. We display their work in a monthly article within the pages of RT&S and this month’s contribution outlines testing at the two mega sites that were set up near Bluefiled, W.Va., and Ogallala, Neb., in 2005 to study the effects of heavy-axle-loads on various rail and train-related elements including track infrastructure. Where the FAST loop allows TTCI to test a number of variables

under controlled conditions, the mega sites allow researchers to test a variety of conditions in real world, revenue service scenarios. To pull from the article, which begins on page 11, “Some experiments were designed to address safety items associated with HAL operations, such as the derailment potential related to broken rails, weld defects, large wheel/rail forces due to adverse track geometry and track buckling related to longitudinal stress in continuouswelded-rail (CWR). Experiments were also designed to examine the effects of HAL on track component degradation and the effectiveness of new and alternative materials, designs and techniques developed to minimize negative HAL effects. This article gives a summary of most experiments completed or in progress...” After seven years of testing at the two mega sites, there is a lot of progress to report. Recently, a colleague and I discussed, what we deemed to be, a good level of intelligence among our different circle of friends. My colleague said she liked being around people who challenged her mind and compared it to wanting to play on the same team as the best athletes in school, even when the person wanting to play was at a level or two below the best. Her reasoning was that when you play with people better than yourself, you are forced to raise your own game. Now, I do not presume that I can play or think or analyze at the same level as TTCI researchers, but I greatly appreciated what they do for the industry. I’m just happy they’re on our team.

Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor

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INDUSTRY TODAY Supplier News AECOM Technology Corporation won an American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota 2013 Engineering Excellence Grand Award for retrofitting the Washington Avenue Bridge for the Minnesota Central Corridor. HNTB Corporation, along with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, received a 2013 Diamond Award Certificate from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania for the Norristown High Speed Line Emergency Slope Repair Project. KW Express LLC, a partnership between Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, LP and Watco Companies LLC, entered into a long-term agreement with Mercuria Energy Trading Company

AAR projects freight railroads will spend $24.5 billion in 2013 The Association of American Railroads (AAR) estimates the nation’s major freight railroads plan to invest clost to $24.5 billion in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade America’s rail network. This investment includes $13 billion in projected capital expenditures, which go toward upgrading or enhancing rail network capacity in the year ahead. The 2013 capital expenditures estimate is the same amount spent by freight railroads in 2012. AAR says that railroads Freight railroads continue to spend record amounts on capital have been spending roughly improvements by investing in regular maintenance and big 17 percent of their annual projects, such as Canadian National’s Matteson Connection. revenue on capital expenditures, compared with the average U.S. manufacturer that spends roughly three percent of revenue on capital expenditures. Freight railroads will not only invest in their networks, but in their workforce with an estimated 11,000 new hires in 2013. AAR notes this hiring is primarily in response to retirements and attrition for positions that can be found across the U.S. With approximately 22 percent of the industry’s workforce eligible to retire in the next five years, railroads are dedicated to recruiting highly-skilled people interested in making railroading a career. In the first five months of the year, railroads are participating in more than 70 career fairs across the country. “While most other transportation modes rely on government funds, America’s freight railroads operate on infrastructure they own, maintain and upgrade to serve their customers and power our economy,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “This year, freight railroads plan to continue to focus on investments that maintain and enhance our physical infrastructure and safety systems, including cutting-edge technology that ensures we are ready to deliver for the future.”

Canadian National donates $500,000 to Michigan Tech Canadian National donated $500,000 to Michigan Technological University’s Rail Transportation Program to create the CN Endowed Fellowship in Rail Transportation. This brings CN’s total funding to the program to $750,000 and is one the one of the largest corporate gifts to Michigan Tech during its Generations of Discovery capital campaign. Michigan Tech said the endowment will build on the CN Rail Transportation Education Center that opened in 2010 and will support rail transportation-related projects and research, hardware and software resources for stu-

dents, as well as provide student scholarships. The Rail Transportation Program attracts students from a range of degree programs and includes courses about rail transportation and engineering, as well as urban rail transit. The program hopes to establish a multi-disciplinary certificate in rail transportation and engineering. Pasi Lautaula, director of the program, said, “I believe that CN’s commitment is not only important to Michigan Tech, but it also gives strength to the academic community that is working to rebuild university rail education in the 21st century.”

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INDUSTRY TODAY Supplier News Inc., to construct a 210,000-barrel-perday (bpd) crude by rail project at the Greens Port Industrial Park on the Houston Ship Channel. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a contract worth $258,353,000 to Judlau Contracting Inc. for the station finishes, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, ancillary buildings and entrances for the future Second Avenue Subway 72nd Street Station.

6 Railway Track & Structures

Connecticut bond commission OKs millions for state DOT rail projects The Connecticut State Bond Commission approved $170 million for state Department of Transpor tation (ConnDOT) projects, including several passenger and freight rail projects. A p p r ox i m at e l y $ 4 0 m i l l i o n wa s approved for the project to transform the Stamford Transportation Center (STC), the busiest Connecticut station on MetroNorth’s New Haven Line, into a multimodal commuter complex designed for customer service and satisfaction. The project will replace the original parking garage, improve multimodal traffic and pedestrian flow around the facility and promote transit-oriented development. The $40-million total includes $35 million for construction and $5 million for staff and consultant services for project completion. The bond commission also approved $50 million for the replacement of the MetroNorth rail bridge over Atlantic Street in Stamford, which was originally built in 1896. Nine million dollars was added by the

March 2013

bond commission to $1 million already in place for an economic development program designed to rebuild Connecticut’s freight rail system, called Fixing Freight First. Under this program, rail companies can apply for the $10 million to repair and modernize rail, rail beds, crossings, culverts and related facilities. There are now 10 companies that annually move some 8.5 million tons of freight through Connecticut on more than 625 miles of tracks, including some passenger rail lines. Through the Fixing Freight First program, each company may submit an application to the ConnDOT to upgrade facilities. “Freight rail is an important piece of our economy – not only does it speed commerce, it helps to reduce the number of trucks on our congested highways,” said Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James Redeker. “Furthermore, projects that qualify for this funding will require the purchase of materials and directly provide construction jobs, further stimulating our economy.”

INDUSTRY TODAY Construction begins on North Carolina $24-million rail bridge Construction began on a $24-million railroad bridge at Hopson Road in Durham, N.C., that will make train and vehicular travel safer and faster while boosting the local economy. “Safety is our highest priority and investing in a new bridge at Hopson Road means we can improve safety and allow trains to travel faster, which will be a great economic benefit for the region,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Hopson Road Project is the first of 12 Piedmont Improvement Program projects dedicated to separating rail and highway traffic. The project will ultimately eliminate 50 crossings between Charlotte and Raleigh. The new bridge at Hopson Road will eliminate two highwayrail grade crossings, straighten a curve and add a rail siding to allow more flexibility for passenger and freight trains to pass each other. All 12 Piedmont Improvement Program projects were made possible through

Supplier News

a $520 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant that will fund work at all 12 grade separations. The new, two-track rail bridge over Hopson Road will eliminate long delays for vehicular traffic as trains pass and straighten the rail line route to allow for an increase in speed from 55 mph to 79 mph and up to 90 mph in the future. The new three-mile long passing siding will create more efficient train movements in and out of the Raleigh area. “Last year was the safest in rail industry history and it comes at a time when we are building a world-class rail network as a foundation for America’s economic success, but we must do better,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo. “Working together with passenger and freight railroads, state and local agencies, law enforcement and the community, we can fix our existing rail infrastructure, save lives and strengthen the local economy all at the same time.”

RailComm has been selected to provide its computerized Track Warrant Control System to Compañía de Ferrocarriles Chiapas Mayab railroad, located in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. SNC-Lavalin Inc. consortium, EGRT Construction, has signed a design, build and finance agreement with the province of British Columbia, Canada, for the Evergreen Line rapid transit project in Metro Vancouver.

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Village of Bensenville

ACE, CREATE advance programs with the start of separate grade separation projects

A rendering by HDR, Inc., of the completed grade-separation at Irving Park Road and York Road in Bensenville, Ill.

Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE) began construction on a roadway underpass and double-track railroad bridge to replace a congested railroad crossing on Baldwin Avenue in the City of El Monte, Calif., in early February. Baldwin Avenue is a main north-south thoroughfare connecting Interstates 10 and 210 and is used daily by 28,000 vehi-

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March 2013

cles, including significant truck traffic. An average of 20 Union Pacific freight trains halt traffic every day and two collisions have been documented at the crossing in the past 10 years. The $75.9-million project is scheduled to be completed in 2015 and is an investment in a program of grade separations along the Alameda Corridor-East Trade Corridor, which accommodates about 60 percent of the containers moved from the nation’s busiest container ports in the San Pedro Bay to the rest of the country via the region’s rail network. The Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) also began construction on a $67-million grade separation project in Bensenville, Ill. The project, which is funded through Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, consists of constructing a rail flyover over Irving Park Road, just east of York Road. The project is expected to boost long-term economic development by speeding up the flow of freight and vehicles on the southwestern edge of Chicago’s busy O’Hare Airport. The work includes reconstructing the intersection by lowering Irving Park Road and constructing a bridge for the Canadian Pacific tracks. An average of 25 freight trains pass

through the crossing each day, delaying 6,400 vehicles and costing motorists 1,500 daily hours of delays that will be eliminated as a result of this project. The rail bridge is expected to be completed by late fall 2014. The project is a partnership that includes the Village of Bensenville, DuPage County, the city of Chicago’s O’Hare Modernization Program, Canadian Pacific and Metra, Chicago’s commuter rail provider. “Illinois has a world-class transportation system that serves as a hub for the nation,” Gov. Quinn said. “Anyone who is familiar with the Bensenville area knows that this grade crossing is a huge frustration for motorists. We’re eliminating this roadblock to save drivers from thousands of hours stuck in traffic every year, all the while creating jobs and paving the way for more economic growth.”

PEOPLE Alaska Railroad Corporation named Clark Hopp vice president of engineering, succeeding Tom Brooks, who will retire, effective May 2013. Amtrak named Thomas Hall chief of customer services and Jay Commer general manager of state-supported services. Canadian National named Jim Vena executive vice president and chief operating officer; Jeff Liepelt senior vice president, southern region and Sameh Fahmy, senior vice president, engineering, mechanical and supply management, will retire March 31, 2013. CSX appointed Quintin Kendall to vice president, state government and community affairs, succeeding Michael O’Malley, who was named head of the company’s Purchasing and Materials group. Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. hired Gregory Bilhartz to serve in the newly-created position of director, business development. Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc., named Bradley Willems director of marketing and business development and Carl Robinson director of safety and environment. Norfolk Southern named Jason Reiner assistant vice president industrial development, succeeding Newell Baker, who is retiring. North Carolina Department of Transportation promoted Paul Worley to director of the Rail Division and Richard Walls to deputy secretary for transit. Pacific Imperial Railroad named Ernest Dahlman, III, chief executive officer. Racine Railroad Products hired Tim Brake as director of sales. T.Y. Lin International hired Vincent Montgomery, P.E., as associate vice president/national director of freight rail. Union Pacific named Kate Betsworth vice president, intermodal operations; promoted Donna Kush to vice president public affairs northern region, effective April 1; promoted Tom Lange to assistant vice president corporate communications; promoted Brenda Mainwaring to vice president public affairs southern region, effective April 15; Joe Adams will retire May 31; Joe Bateman will retire Oct. 1. Unitrac Railroad Materials, Inc., hired Kelly Kelly as its marketing coordinator.

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Railroad Day on the Hill and equipment auction coming right up

The National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association, Inc. 500 New Jersey Ave., N. W. Suite 400 Washington D. C. 20009 Tel: 202-715-2920 Fax: 202-318-0867

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Spring is just around the corner and another busy season is ready to get underway. From the look of the mountain of paper on my desk, I think it is going to be another hectic year. No complaints though, hectic years are a good thing. New construction in the energy fields, capital projects from the railroads and track maintenance work all seem to be well represented in the RFPs that are coming in. The shortline railroad rehabilitation tax credit, which was just recently extended through Dec. 31, 2013, is responsible for a lot of this work being done on the shortlines. The tax credit is just one example of what we can accomplish when we work together through the NRC and our partner associations to express our needs to our federal legislators in Washington D.C. Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is coming right up on Thursday, March 14, 2013. This is our chance as a group to express to our representatives, senators and their staffs the necessity of supporting the rail industry. If you are not already registered, go to www.aslrra. org to sign up for Railroad Day on the Hill. In addition to the shortline tax credit, we’ll also be talking to Congress about maintaining a balanced regulatory environment for freight railroads, not allowing subsidized heavier and longer trucks to compete unfairly against railroads and endanger motorists on the highway and supporting funding for passenger rail improvements where they make sense. We are looking for a big turnout on March 14 to deliver our messages. We should all also be developing relationships with our congressmen and their staffs throughout the year, which can be accomplished through phone calls, e-mail, visits to their district offices or by invitations to have them tour your facility or construction project. It is our responsibility as citizens to inform our congressman of our views on all issues. If you would like to arrange a visit from one of your congressmen to one of your March 2013

facilities, contact the NRC Grassroots Coordinator Tabitha Layman, at 202715-1245 or These visits will help demonstrate to your elected officials and the public the importance of the rail construction and maintenance industry to the national economy and will strengthen our relationships and influence with Congress. With Congress and with the public, “show and tell” is more effective than just “tell,” so I’d encourage you to get in touch with Tabitha in the NRC office as soon as possible and she will work with you to set up a visit so you can show the country the importance of the work you are doing every day. After Railroad Day on the Hill, our next big event is the NRC 2013 Rail Construction and Maintenance Equipment Auction, on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at the Blackmon Auctions Yard in Little Rock, Ark. Equipment inspection will be available on Monday the 15th. If you have equipment you would like to consign (or donate) to the auction, contact Thomas Blackmon, Jr., at 501-664-4526 or or fill out the auction interest form at https://www. A portion of the proceeds from the consigned equipment and 100 percent of the proceeds of the donated equipment, will go the NRC Safety, Training and Education Fund. Among other activities, the safety fund supports the ongoing production of the series of NRC Safety DVDs. Your company will receive tax deduction benefits. And as long as you have your calendar out, the 2014 NRC conference will be held at the J.W. Marriott in Palm Desert, Calif., from Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, through Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Updated information will eventually be posted on Until next time, work safe and keep those around you working safe. by Terry Benton, NRC Chairman

Interest Form for NRC 2013 Railroad Construction and M aintenance E quipment A uction – A pril 16, 2013

Please tear out form and fax this information to the NRC at 202-318-0867 or email to Ashley Bosch at Auction begins 9 a.m. in Little Rock, AR, Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – expected finish by 4 p.m. Located at Blackmon Auctions Yard, East of Little Rock at 425 Blackmon Road, Lonoke, AR 72086 Equipment inspection available 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., April 15, 2013; or 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. on day of auction, April 16, 2013. Happy Hour/Social event: Monday, April 15, 5:00 p.m. to close (midnight) – Location TBD Hotel: Discounted room block available at Hotel TBD.

Name: _________________________________ Company:______________________________ Phone: _________________________________ Email:_________________________________ Check all that apply: _____ My company is interested in donating equipment to the Auction. 100% of the proceeds of the sale will go to the NRC Safety, Training and Education Fund. My company will receive the tax deduction benefits.

_____ My company is interested in consigning equipment to the Auction. My company will receive 100% of the proceeds of the sale, minus a 2% seller’s fee which will go to the NRC Safety, Training and Education Fund. _____ My company is interested in sending a representative to consider purchasing equipment at the Auction. I understand that I do not need to register ahead of time with the NRC for this event, but should contact Blackmon Auctions for an Official Auction Catalog. The auction will begin promptly at 9 a.m., April 16, 2013.

Auctioneer: Blackmon Auctions, Inc. Thomas Blackmon Jr., Vice President Phone: 501-664-4526 • P.O. Box 7464, Little Rock, Arkansas 72217

Host Association: National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) Chuck Baker, President Phone: 202-715-2920 • 500 New Jersey Ave NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20001

NRC  Auction Committee: Danny Brown RailWorks 810-397-3533

Mark Gaffney Stacy & Witbeck 510-748-1870

Jay Gowan Harsco Rail 803-822-9160

Paul Laurello Delta Railroad Construction 440-992-2997

Dean Mackey Progress Rail Services 800-962-2902

Greg Spilker Progress Rail Leasing 262-309-3586

TTCI R&D Heavy-axle-load revenue service mega site testing: 2005–2012 by Dingqing Li, scientist and chief government programs and Semih Kalay, senior vice preseident technology

TTCI reviews testing at the eastern and western mega sites from 2005-2012.


ince 2005, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have jointly funded a heavy-axle-load (HAL) revenue service testing program, with several objectives. One objective is to determine the effects of HAL traffic on track infrastructure by supplementing test activities performed at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) with a wider range of

Figure 1: Eastern (top) and western (bottom) mega sites.

track, operation and climatic conditions. A second objective is to identify potential issues that negatively affect HAL operations and to find solutions to address the issues. A third objective is to test and monitor new and alternative track designs and materials, as well as improve track maintenance procedures intended to mitigate adverse effects of HAL traffic on track degradation. Two revenue service mega sites (Figure 1) were established for this research: one in the east near Bluefield, W.Va., and the other in the west near Ogallala, Neb. Both sites are on coal routes with predominately loaded 286,000-pound-per-car traffic. In comparison, the eastern mega site typically has sharp curves (up to 12 degrees) and steep grades (up to 1.4 percent), wood ties, open deck steel bridges, 20 to 40 mph operating speeds and 55 mgt per year tonnage, whereas the western mega site typically has shallow curves (one to two degrees), concrete ties, ballast deck bridges, 40 to 60 mph operating speeds and tonnage of 250 mgt per year. From 2005 through 2012, Transportation Technology Center, Inc.(TTCI), with help from the host railroads, has conducted and completed a number of experiments at the mega sites. Some experiments were designed to address safety items associated with HAL operations, such as the derailment potential related to broken rails, weld defects, large wheel/rail forces due to adverse track geometry and track buckling related to longitudinal stress in continuous-welded-rail (CWR). Experiments were also designed to examine the effects of HAL on track component degradation and the effectiveness of new and alternative materials, designs and techniques developed to minimize negative HAL effects. This article gives a summary of most experiments completed or in progress, noting that little data is included, but conclusions and findings presented were drawn based on field tests and statistical analysis of test results and, in some cases, with supplemental lab testing and modeling work.

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TTCI R&D Figure 2 shows the effect of friction control on RCF.

Premium rail performance

Ten premium rail types from six manufacturers around the world were installed at both mega sites in 2005. The eastern mega site has four test curves from 6.8 to 11 degrees, whereas the western mega site has three test curves of one and two degrees. Most test rails had hardness values measured just below 400 Bhn as installed, but were all work hardened above 400 Bhn from traffic. To date, 365 mgt has accumulated in the test curves at the eastern mega site and 1,650 mgt has accumulated in the test curves at the western mega site. All test rails have shown excellent wear performance; i.e., natural wear from traffic was not projected as the main reason for future rail replacement, even for the sharp curves. The average natural wear rate from traffic was only 0.02, 0.04, 0.1 inch per 100 mgt for the 2-, 6.8- and 10.5-degree test curves, respectively.1,2 In addition, no internal flaws have been identified for all test rails. Rolling contact fatigue (RCF) was found to be the main issue for the premium rail, especially on the low rail running surface. Occurrence of RCF also depended on track curvature. At the eastern mega site, with top-of-rail (TOR) friction control implemented from the beginning of the experiment, RCF occurred after 250 mgt for the 10.5-degree curves, but was not observed for the 6.8-degree curves until after 350 mgt. At the western mega site, without TOR friction control, RCF occurred after 300 mgt for the two-degree curves, but was not observed until after 1,000 mgt for the one-degree curve.

Rail life extension

Two maintenance strategies were found to be effective to address RCF: TOR friction control and preventive grind14 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013

ing.1,2,3 At the eastern mega site, gaugeface lubrication and TOR friction control have been implemented in all premium rail test curves. With grinding not allowed for the sake of testing, it took 250 mgt for the low rails of the 10.5-degree curves to develop RCF (a corrective grinding was done at 275 mgt) and it took 350 mgt for the 6.8-degree curves to develop RCF (a corrective grinding was done at 365 mgt). Monitoring was also conducted for standard rails in two groups of curves at the eastern mega site. One group has implemented both gauge-face lubrication and TOR friction control, whereas the other group has only implemented gauge-face lubrication. Measurements showed that implementation of TOR friction control reduced vertical railhead wear by approximately 30 percent.3 In addition, TOR friction control reduced loss of rail metal from grinding operations, suggesting that TOR friction control reduced the occurrence of RCF. At the western mega site, corrective grinding was used to remove RCF. From 690 mgt following a corrective grinding, however, a two-degree curve has implemented TOR friction control, while the other two-degree curve has implemented preventive grinding at an interval of 70 to 110 mgt. Subsequent monitoring showed that as a result of TOR friction control, RCF did not appear until an additional 960 mgt was accumulated, compared to 300 mgt without TOR friction control (Figure 2). Preventive grinding was also found to be more effective compared to corrective grinding, reducing the amount of metal removed due to grinding by 3.5 times when rails were ground on a 100 mgt basis.1,2

Wide-gap welds

Thermite wide-gap welds (WGW)

were developed to join two rails with a nominal gap of 2.75 inches. Because of their extra width, WGWs can be used to directly replace most field weld defects and some rail defects without plug rails. This could lead to several major benefits, including fewer welds being performed in the field (a plug rail uses two welds) and less track time for replacing such defects, thus improving train operating safety and reducing track maintenance costs. In 2005 and 2006, 32 WGWs were installed at the eastern mega site. A six-year testing effort has shown that WGWs are a viable rail joining practice for HAL operating environments.4 Even without the benefits of preventive grinding (for testing purposes), these welds had a minimum fatigue life of 265 mgt, with the average life projected to be 490 mgt.4 Spalling and plastic flow were the early signs of surface degradation. When not ground, these surface issues grew into shelling problems that required replacement. Life expectancy of WGWs is expected to increase, if preventive grinding is implemented to remove minor spalling and plastic flow in a timely fashion.

Insulated rail joints

Monitoring of improved insulated joint (IJ) designs has been one of the major experiments at the western mega site. The early experiment (2005 to 2009) compared 48-inch (eight-hole) bonded bars with the end post of the joint supported on the tie, versus 36-inch (sixhole) bonded bars with the end post of the joint suspended in the crib. Testing efforts showed that the suspended design failed at 330 mgt because of a broken bar (fatigue crack), whereas the supported IJ design had a minimum life of 1,000 mgt (fatigue crack was also the failure mode). Note that average service life of IJs before 2005 was 280 mgt.5 In 2011, another 28 improveddesign IJs were installed at the western mega site to monitor long-term performance of various designs, including IJs with ceramic end posts, hi-modulus bars and fiberglass or improved epoxy, as well as centerline and tapered IJs.

Figure 3 illustrates a drop in rail neutral temperature from cracked joint bars.

Testing and monitoring of their performance is currently in progress.

Rail neutral temperature

At the western mega site, a test curve was established in 2005 with two types of rail neutral temperature (RNT) devices installed to monitor changes in RNT as a result of traffic, seasonal changes and track maintenance activities. In addition, this curve has been used as a test bed for evaluating new technologies developed for measuring RNT. Test results showed that 72 hours of traffic reduced RNT by approximately 10째F from the as-installed RNT and its daily variation was measured to be approximately 5째F at this site.6 In addition, a broken rail and subsequent bolting, welding and traffic caused large variations of RNT within 250 feet. For example, at a measurement location 92 feet from the rail break, an immediate drop of RNT due to this rail break was recorded from 115째F to 56째F and the daily variation of RNT after bolting (installing temporary joint bars) but before welding was more than 10 degrees.

Rail anchor (concrete ties)

In 2007, a test was conducted to monitor the performance of rail anchors designed for concrete ties at three locations with IJs at the western mega site. These anchors are essentially regular rail anchors for wood ties, but with a plastic cover to provide insulation between rail and concrete and also to prevent damage to concrete by the anchor. Test results showed that these anchors did not provide added benefits in reducing short- and long-term changes in RNT, nor did they prevent a large drop in RNT when the joint bars cracked at one of the test locations (Figure 3); i.e., the anchors installed on the concrete ties at IJ locations did not provide additional longitudinal resistance when no apparent longitudinal rail movement was observed. In addition, measurement of fastener toe load indicated little difference in the magnitude of toe load or its change over time between rail with and without anchors.7

CWR and bridge interaction

In 2010, an experiment was started to characterize the interaction between CWR and an open deck steel bridge at the eastern mega site. The test has a short-term objective to measure CWR/bridge interaction under train traffic and a longer-term objective to measure CWR/bridge interaction due to temperature change. Under an operating condition with total tractive or dynamic brake efforts less than 100,000 pounds, the dynamic test has shown that the longitudinal rail force and movement of rail, tie and girder due to traffic are unlikely to cause CWR stability issues in the bridge approach.8 Railto-tie displacement was relatively small (note that elastic rail fastening was used) compared to tie-to-girder displacement. In addition, tie-togirder displacements on a smooth girder surface were found to be greater than that on the girder with rivet heads, a major benefit because of increased longitudinal tie-to-girder resistance.8

Elastic fastening systems

A test of elastic rail fastening systems was conducted on an eight-degree curve at the eastern mega site. From 2005 to 2010, two types of elastic fasteners were subjected to 260 mgt. Their performance was compared to the standard cut spike system. Test results showed that the wood

tie track fastened with the elastic fastening systems and screw spikes provided higher gauge-widening strength than the track fitted with the cut spike system. 9 Although gauge rods were installed in the cut spike zone, they were not required in the elastic fastener test zones. In addition, the lateral deflection of the low rail measured under train operations throughout the cut spike zone was greater than measured on the same rail in the elastic fastening system zones.9 Cut spike uplift of more than one inch occurred in almost four percent of the spikes in the cut spike zone (five spikes per tie plate). In the elastic fastener zones (four screw spikes per tie plate), none of the screw spikes uplifted much nor fractured during the test. Eleven out of the 360 rail clips from one type of elastic fastening system fractured during the test period. Results of the laboratory test on the rail clip samples showed that these fractures were incidental.9

Missing fastening effect

In 2009 and 2010, an experiment was conducted to measure gauge restraint of concrete tie track affected by missing/broken fasteners at FAST, as well as at the western mega site. A rail fastener provides gauge restraint through toe load (holddown force) of its clips on the base of rail, as well as through lateral resistance from its insulators against the base of the rail. Missing/ Railway Track & Structures

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TTCI R&D Figure 4 shows the ballast box test for monitoring ballast degradation under HAL.

broken fasteners reduce gauge strength, thus, increasing risk of derailment. The experiment showed that missing/broken field-side clips have less effect on gauge restraint than missing/broken gauge-side clips, whereas missing field-side insulators had greater effect than missing gauge-side insulators.10 It appears that gauge-side clips play a much bigger role than field-side clips in preventing gauge widening due to rail roll, but field side insulators have a much bigger role than gauge-side insulators in resisting gauge widening due to rail translation.10 In the case where only clips or insulators were missing, it took eight consecutive ties to reduce gauge restraint below the allowable limit. When both clips and insulators were missing, however, it took only three consecutive ties to reduce gauge restraint below the allowable limit.10

Composite plastic ties

From 2004 to 2010, two types of plastic ties were tested on a 6.8-degree curve at the eastern mega site. The test ties were subjected to a total of 282 mgt before the test was concluded. The plastic ties tested were capable of supporting HAL traffic with acceptable performance. There were no problems related to track geometry, gauge strength, tie plate cutting, cut spike 16 Railway Track & Structures

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uplift or fastening system component failure in the test zone. Although gauge strength degradation and gauge widening were slightly higher in the plastic ties than in the wood ties, the trends were similar. Pilot holes for cut spikes reduced the occurrence of cracks and plastic composite material buildup between the plate and the top of the plastic ties during spike insertion. Test results have shown that plastic ties tend to have lower bending stiffness and lower toughness, when compared to wood ties.11 Different material formulations and manufacturing processes may affect tie toughness, because plastic ties from only one manufacturer broke. After 212 mgt, one tie fractured near its center at a void in the plastic composite material. After 280 mgt, four more ties cracked along the cut spike plane from a wedging force created as the spikes were inserted into hard synthetic tie plugging material.

Bridge approaches

Bridge approaches often require frequent track maintenance, especially under HAL traffic. As a major part of the HAL mega site testing program, TTCI has conducted extensive research regarding root causes of problems and remediation methods. Testing has been performed in revenue service at both mega sites.

At the eastern mega site, the root causes of typical bridge approach problems were determined to be cross-level differential support over approximately five to 10 ties at the ends of bridges because of skewed abutments and large changes in lateral track stiffness/restraint from bridges to their approaches. A remedy proven effective is to change from open deck to ballasted deck to address the root causes of problems. In 2007-2008, this method was implemented on two bridges located in sharp curves. For approximately 290 mgt and 260 mgt, respectively, these two bridges and their approaches have performed well under HAL traffic and they have not experienced any of the past problems that required frequent surfacing and lining operations on a quarterly basis (15 mgt).12 At the western mega site, the root causes of bridge approach problems were determined to be high stiffness and low damping for tracks on bridges. With standard concrete ties and ballasted deck concrete bridge spans, track modulus on the bridge was often measured more than twice as high as that in the approaches. An effective remedy is to reduce stiffness and increase damping, thus, reducing impact forces exerted on the track. Two methods have been implemented for two different bridges: (1) replacing standard concrete ties on a bridge with concrete ties fitted with rubber pads on the bottom of ties and (2) using ballast mats between the bridge deck and the ballast. Since their separate installations in 2007 and 2009, track performance was much improved for these two br idges and their approaches as a result of reduced track stiffness and increased track damping for the track on the bridge, as well as drainage improvement (see reference 13 for detailed test results and observations) and both methods brought significant economic benefits for HAL and high tonnage lines.

Ballast degredation

In 2010, a test was initiated in conjunction with another project “HAL Track Substructure� to investigate ballast degradation under HAL coal traffic at the western mega site as a result of

ballast breakdown and coal fine accumulation. The test was started with new ballast materials from four separate quarries. Testing included monitoring ballast particle breakdown with tonnage and correlating the particle size distribution to the strength and deformation properties of the various materials (Figure 4). Measuring the relationship between gradation and strength allows a better understanding of the behavior and life cycles of different ballast types. Preliminary results indicated that the as-installed gradations for all ballast types were all within the recommended limits.14 The data also showed that after 234 mgt, one ballast type had degraded at a significantly higher rate. Nevertheless, testing is ongoing in order to achieve the objectives described above.

Crossing diamond

From 2006 to 2009, TTCI monitored the performance of a diamond crossing at the western mega site. Component breakage and rapid rail running surface degradation required frequent maintenance. The diamond was replaced approximately every 300 mgt on the track carrying higher tonnage (i.e., 420 mgt of total traffic). Investigation has shown that the root causes of the problems are high impact forces resulting from running surface discontinuities and degradation, high contact stresses between castings and plates, inadequate resilience and damping to attenuate high impact forces and irregular deformation due to abrupt changes in track stiffness from large castings and multitie plates. 15 At 25 mph, test results showed vibration of the diamond crossing was at least three times as high as that of the adjacent open track. Several methods have been implemented to improve the performance of the diamond, including installing expansion joints and ramped up running surface profiles, installing rubber pads under tie plates and placing ties longitudinally in higher tonnage track. However, these methods have not led to improvements to significantly reduce extensive maintenance requirements, because they have not addressed flangeway gaps and joints, which are the primary reason for highimpact forces at crossing diamonds.

Conclusions, future work

Premium rails have shown excellent performance resisting wear and internal flaw growth, but still have a RCF issue. Friction control and grinding are both effective to control RCF, but their applications can be optimized. Wide-gap welds are a viable rail joining practice, with the benefit of reducing rail plugs while repairing weld or rail defects. Improved designs of insulated joints have extended their life at least three times since 2005, with a minimum life of 1,000 mgt achievable with many of the improved designs. For an eight-degree curve, the wood-tie track fitted with elastic fastening systems and screw spikes provided three times higher guage strength and three times higher lateral rail restraint than the track fitted with the cut spike system. Although not as good as wood ties in terms of measured performance, plastic composite ties have proven to be capable of supporting HAL operations. For concrete tie track, three days of traffic reduced RNT by 10 degrees from as-installed and a broken rail and subsequent maintenance activities caused large variation of RNT

within at least 250 feet. Plastic covered rail anchors did not provide any benefits in reducing short- and long-term changes in RNT for concrete tie track, nor did they prevent a large drop in RNT due to broken joint bars. The mega-site testing program continues to address infrastructure issues related to HAL operations. In 2013, several new experiments will be implemented, including performance of new premium rails, railhead defect repair welds, optimized methods to control rail RCF and advanced frog designs in revenue service operations.


AAR and FRA jointly funded this research program. Many employees from TTCI, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and FRA have made significant contributions to the research summarized in this article, particularly Dan Gutscher, Rafael Jimenez, Muhammad Akhtar, Dave Read, Dave Davis, Russ McDaniel, Steve Lakata, Brad Kerchof, Dwight Clark, Sam Atkinson, Bill GeMeiner, Eric Gehringer, Gary Carr and Luis Maal.

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TTCI R&D References 1. Li, D. Gutscher, D. and Maal, L. September 2011. “Prevention of rail rolling Contact fatigue under heavy-axle-loads.” Railway Track and Structures. Vol. 107, No. 9, pp. 16-18. Chicago, Ill. 2. Li, D., Pinney, C., Kalay, S. and Davis, D. June 19-2011. “Recent Advances in Rail Life Extension in North American Heavy Haul Railways.” Proceedings of International Heavy Haul Conference, Calgary, Canada. 3. Reiff, R., Conn, K. and Li, D. March 2006. “Eastern Mega Site Wayside Top of Rail Friction Control Implementation Status.” Technology Digest TD-06-006. Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo. 4. Li, D., Gutscher, D. and Lakata, S. September 2012. “Wide-gap weld performance in heavy-axle-load revenue service.” Railway Track and Structures. Vol. 108, No. 9, pp.19-22. Chicago, Ill. 5. Li, D., Meddah, A., Davis, D. and Kohake, E. December 2006. “Update: Insulated Joint Test at Western Mega Site.” Railway Track and Structures. Vol. 102, No. 12, pp. 17-19. Chicago, Ill. 6. Read, D., Li, D., Kish, A. and GeMeiner, W. June 2006. “Monitoring Rail Neutral Temperature Behavior in Revenue Service.” Railway Track and Structures. Vol. 102, No. 6, pp. 15-17. Chicago, Ill. 7. Jimenez, R., Li, D. and Kohake, E. February 2010. “Rail Anchor on Concrete Tie Track.” Railway Track and Structures. Vol. 106, No. 2, pp. 15-18. Chicago, Ill. 8. Joy. R., Tunna, L., Otter, D. and Li, D. November 2011. “CWR/ Bridge Interaction under Train Operations: Testing at Eastern Mega Site.” Technology Digest TD-11-046. Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo.

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9. Jimenez, R., Li, D. and McDaniel, R. January 2011. “Performance of Elastic Fasteners on an 8-Degree Curve in Revenue Service.” Technology Digest TD-11-001. Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo. 10. Li, D. and Jimenez, R. January 2011. “Effect of Missing or Broken Fasteners on Gage Restraint of Concrete Ties.” Technology Digest TD-11-002. Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo. 11. Jimenez, R., Li, D. and McDaniel, R. January 2011. “Performance of Plastic Composite Ties in Revenue Service–Final Report.” Technology Digest TD-11-003, Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo. 12. Li, D., Duran, C. and McDaniel, R. August 2006. “Investigation of Open Deck Bridge Transition Issues at the Eastern Mega Site.” Technology Digest TD-06-022. Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo. 13. Li, D., Meddah, A., GeMeiner, B. and McDaniel R. July 2009. “Bridge Approach Remedies in Revenue Service.” Technology Digest TD-09-018. Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo. 14. Read, D., Li, D., Gehringer, E. and Tutumluer, E. August 2012. “Evaluation of ballast under heavy-axle-loads.” Railway Track and Structures. Vol. 108, No. 8, pp. 13-17. Chicago, Ill. 15. Li, D., Jimenez, R., Davis, D. and Kohake, E. Decrmbr 2009. “Performance of Diamond Crossing at Northport, Nebraska.” Technology Digest TD-09-037. Association of American Railroads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colo.


maintenance for the best roadbed For proper support and drainage along the railroads both big and small, a good ballast maintenance program is key.

Harsco’s Spreader Ditcher out on the tracks, ready for ballast maintenance.

by Jennifer Nunez, assistant editor


ot just any type, shape or size of rock is fit to be part of a railroad maintenance program. There is a specific science to the selection process, upkeep and replacement of ballast and suppliers across North America are utilizing the most advanced detetction technologies and the most efficient machines available to help the railroads keep track stable.

Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc., has been working towards transforming the way the industry assesses and corrects trackbed issues. The company offers an assor tment of solutions designed to save money by zeroing in on trackbed conditions. A number of devices work together to assess levels of fouling, identifying wetbeds and ballast pockets, known indicators of sub-grade problems. The Rail Asset Scanning Car (RASC) is a track vehicle equipped with multiple sensor systems that capture information. For example, the RASC’s Ground Penetrating Radar sends electronic magnetic pulses through the trackbed that return and furnish a clear picture of ballast conditions beneath the surface. The RASC is also equipped with Lidar laser technology and other devices for the mapping of the ballast surface, along with track assets and terrain/geographical features. “This is a great convenience and time-saver for our 20 Railway Track & Structures

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clients,” said Steve Atherton, technical services manager of the company’s Rail Ser vices division. “We realize they don’t want anyone tying up the tracks any longer than absolutely necessary. Track time is money and we minimize that time using the RASC technology.” On the development front, Balfour Beatty Rail has been working with its partner, Zetica Rail, to build onto the RASC’s capabilities. A particular focus has been integration of multiple trackbed inspection solutions. Balfour Beatty Rail and Zetica have researched the uses of RASC technologies around the world in order to broaden capabilities in the United States. The ongoing studies include the investigation of derailment sites, formation settlement and trackbed construction detail. Additionally, a new system of measurement is in place to analyze and assess the materials that ballast undercutter s handle on the sites. Dur ing 2012, Balfour Beatty Rail continued to use Work Order Recommendation (WOR), a software-based system that determines the most cost-effective maintenance plan. Using the data gathered from a number of technologies, WOR recommends whatever work is necessar y, even informing the client when there’s no current need for maintenance services. “Railroads are always looking for ways to tr im maintenance costs and this is one effective way we can

Ballast maintenance

Plasser American Corp. washes ballast for reuse on the railroad.

make that possible for them,” said R.T. Swindall, director of operations for the Rail Services division.


DymaxRail recently released its 15-foot Ballast Blaster with a spoil master system. The blaster expands versatility for those using 29- to 35-ton excavators. The Blaster Bar is 15-feet in length and can be used for ballast removal at switches. The chain is designed to cut in both directions and features a complete 360-degree rotation. “No matter where you are positioned to the track the operator has total flexibility,” noted Allen Switzer, general sales manager. “The chain is hydraulically tightened by using a patent-pending tightening system. The operator doesn’t need to get out of the cab to tighten chains ever y two hour s. The new spoil master system has been developed to pull the ballast away from the chain easily and is a great feature where track beds are relatively flat. No extra power source is required to be added to the excavator saving the owner money.” Dymax also offers its Rail Rider II. The remote-controlled system includes a power cart with a 240hp engine and hydraulic pump featuring the ability to use hand held-tools for the gang. The machine cart has two hydraulic

motors to propel the Rail Rider with the excavator mounted. Dymax notes that removal of both carts along the track takes five minutes or less. The Rail Rider II can achieve speeds up to 25 mph and pull 50 tons of material in an additional cart.


Georgetown Rail Equipment Company (GREX) has been working to refine BallastSaver, its newest inspection technology, which it says provides railroads the ability to objectively define their ballast needs. Dur ing the past several months, enhancements have focused on finding new features, such as lateral instability detection and improving inclement weather inspection capabilities.

“BallastSaver is unique because it is preprogrammed with the customer’s ideal ballast profile,” said Lynn Turner, vice president of marketing and sales. “Since each railroad has their own ideal profile for ballast shoulders, BallastSaver customizes it’s inspections for every customer and provides railroads an unbiased inspection across their system or subdivision. Uniform inspection provides accurate ballast assessment and allows planning for delivery of precise amounts only where needed. Our customers are recognizing the benefits of this and are responding to the availability of BallastSaver technology.” BallastSaver data can be collected dur ing daylight or in the dark, rain or sun. One new feature that BallastSaver now offers is Lateral

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Ballast maintenance

NMC Railway Systems’ 10-foot undercutter.

Instability Detection (LID). There are cer tain conditions in which a track shoulder can be completely washed away or eroded, thus

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exposing the ends of the ties. Turner says these instances weaken the track’s lateral stability and create dangerous conditions that can result

in derailments. “When these conditions occur suddenly, they are identified by re gular trac k in spec tion s ,” s ai d Tu r n e r. “ H owe ve r , w h e n t h e s e instances develop slowly over time, they can easily be overlooked and become accidents waiting to happen. BallastSaver automatically identifies these areas and repor ts them for immediate remediation.” BallastSaver can be used as a stand-alone service or in conjunction with GREX’s ballast delivery system, GateSync, which takes the precise location and amount of ballast needed, which is provided by BallastSaver, then executes a precise ballast delivery dump run at up to 10 mph.

Harsco Rail

Harsco Rail’s Spreader Ditcher is

Ballast maintenance

GREX’s BallastSaver out on the rails performing an inspection of the ballast profile.

a versatile maintenance machine used to plow heavy snow, spread ballast and cut trackside ditches. Originally introduced in the 1960s, Harsco points out this machine has continuously evolved for use by the railroads. Recently, Harsco realized the Spreader Ditcher was in need of some updating to aid North American railroads with their winter maintenance and summer roadbed re-profiling programs. At 53 feet long and weighing 160,000 pounds, the new Harsco Spreader Ditcher machine features an operator control cab, front plow, side wings, two non-powered bogies, AAR couplers and an APU for electrical/hydraulic power. “With these updated machines, the railroads will not only fend off snow and ice, but achieve benefits in ballast spreading and ditching efforts,” shared Craig Sandsted, product manager. Harsco says railroads primarily use the Spreader Ditcher to reduce the time it takes to clear or re-profile their ballasted tracks. The machine is able to cut fouled ballast from the end of ties and plow clean ballast on the track. Carrying and distributing clean ballast, the machine helps move the ballast to produce the correct

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Ballast maintenance

Ballast cars from Herzog Railroad Services, Inc., ready on the rails for distribution.

track roadbed section. The Spreader Ditcher also plows in center, right or left hand direction, while retrieving ballast deposited outside the toe line. “ We h ave h a d t h i s m a c h i n e in our produc t lin e for a l o n g time. It is exciting to still be manufacturing the Spreader Ditcher today, especially with the updated features,� shared Sandsted.


The Herzog Railroad Services, Inc. (HRSI), GPS Ballast Train took a big step in its evolution in 2012. Although the trains may look the same on the outside, HRSI says t h e r e h ave b e e n m a ny c h a n g e s made internally. Since the first generation GPS

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Ballast maintenance

train, HRSI upgraded its computer circuit boards, wiring, door cylinders a n d f l ow s e n s o r s. A l l o f t h e s e upgrades were made to increase the unloading accuracy and efficiency of the train. The company says further development of the Herzog ProScan Lidar Tr uck has also helped the evolution of its ballast trains. The ProScan Lidar Truck can replace the standard manual pre-dump survey with an automated one utilizing lasers to determine the appropriate amount of ballast needed. “This technology will drastically reduce valuable track time needed for pre-dump sur veys and remove the human subjectivity from the equation,” explained Tim Francis, vice president of marketing. “When the Herzog ballast trains are used in conjunction with our ProScan Lidar Truck, we make sure that the ballast is placed where it is needed.” In late 2012, Herzog Railroad Services, Inc., was asked to write a new program to provide for a more robust ballast spread on concrete ties for new construction skeletonized track. The new program now allows the company to dump 30 cars per mile on concrete tie new construction projects with its GPS SMART train. The company can dump 10 cars to each shoulder and 10 to the center of track using GPS technology at a dumping speed of six mph; a 75-car GPS SMART train can be dumped in about 30 minutes.


Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc., offers ballast services that include shoulder ballast cleaning, spot undercutting with the Loram Railvac and track lifting with the Track Lifter Undercutter Series (TLU). The company has expanded features of the TLU, which include track

positioning, an improved sledding blade and a tie-pad replacement module. Loram says it has also added enhancements to its ballast cleaners and Railvacs that improve travel efficiencies and safety. “Loram’s customers continue to spotlight speed, perfor mance and reliability when asking for equipment

Knox Kershaw

Knox Kershaw Inc.’s (KKI) KSF 940 can be equipped with ballast or snow equipment, based on location and season. Recently, a brushcutter option was added to the machine in order to give it more versatility. “Based on requests from transit railroads, KKI has developed a special wing for its line of ballast regulators that is designed specifically for tight clearances, such as platforms and retaining walls,” noted George Pugh, vice president of operations. KKI now offers two convertible gauge ballast regulators that can convert from standard (56.5-in.) to wider gauges and from standard to narrower gauges.

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Ballast maintenance

a n d s e r v i c e s ,� e xp lained Scott Diercks, produc t development manager. “Railroads continue to pursue advancements in machine performance that will optimize productivity. Productivity gains allow our customers to complete more work during a season and reduce costs.

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In addition, new technologies are beginning to enter the market that assist with assessing and planning work needs. These tools allow our customers to use their budgets in the most effective and efficient manner.� Loram points out that railroads are aware of the long-

Ballast maintenance

Opposite page, Dymax’s Rail Rider II. This page, the Loram Railvac 3 doing work on CSX near the Stuart Tunnel in Magnolia, W.Va.

term sustainable benefits through increased budgets for ballast maintenance activities. Diercks says customers are working to maintain their ballast section in a preventative maintenance mode. “ S t r a t e g i c a l l y, t h i s a l l o w s o u r c u s t o m e r s t o cover more of their system rather than only focusing on problematic areas,” he noted. “In addition, it lowers overall costs, increases traffic throughput and provides more return on their investment.” Loram has also seen a trend to coordinate equipment with system work gangs during major track outages. Utilizing work blocks in this fashion allows Loram to provide optimal production and reduce lower overall cost for the customer. Currently, Loram is expanding its fleet of Railvacs for specialty ballast evacuation in areas of tight clearances, such as ballast deck bridges, switch winterization, tunnels and on transit properties. The company notes that its Railvac is designed to work on tough Class 1 railroad conditions, but flexible enough to accommodate

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Ballast maintenance Balfour Beatty’s Plasser RM80 ballast undercutter moves down a stretch of track in rural Montana. The RM80 is capable of operating at high speeds, even in areas where ballast is encrusted, resulting in less track time.

transit and commuter railroads. It is designed to apply 5,000 pounds of force, coupled with a rotating nozzle to break up tough material. The machine also features remote joystick controls and nozzle flexibility to reach hard-to-reach track structures.

Miner Enterprises

Miner Enterprises, Inc., has been committed to improving the design and perfor mance/life-cycle of the linear actuators and electrical systems used in the Miner Electric AggreGate Ž , a stand-alone electric aggregate system. “The system enables independent

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operation of the car from anywhere within a ballast train, eliminating the need for grouping manual and automatic cars,� noted Chris Gaydos, manager of mechanical engineering. The company has been developing a ballast plowing system to add to existing ballast cars, which will use the existing cars, Miner AggreGate power supply system, including electric, hydraulic or pneumatic. A manual version of the plow can be applied to any ballast car. During the past year, Miner has provided twin c ylinder, remotecontrol-operated ballast systems for cars exported to South America. In addition, Miner provided AggreGates to FreightCar America, Inc., for a 162-car BNSF build and continues to supply various models for car conversions and ballast car upgrades. Miner AggreGate is available in pry bar manual, push-button or remotecontrol operations using pneumatic or electric power to operate the gates.


NMC Railway Systems offers the 320EL excavator package with an undercutter bar and four motor tie tamper. “ T h e 3 2 0 E L d e s i g n p r ov i d e s increased performance and durability, which allows for easy transportation

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Ballast maintenance

Geogrid use for ballast stabilization Geogrids are made of a net-like high-stiffness polymetric plastic material formed into a grid structure, which is placed at the bottom of a ballast layer. These grids are said to allow a reduction in ballast thickness and extend re-surfacing frequency.

Geogrids help prevent aggregate and subgrade soil fouling and extend the life of mechanical rail line components (rails, ties, joints, etc.) Alliance Geosynthetics says its biaxial (BX) geogrids can be placed at the bottom of the subballast in order to reduce the overall roadbed thickness or provide additional support when poorer quality subgrades are encountered. Tensar International Corporation offer s the TriAx Geogrid, which the company says stabilizes the sub-ballast layer and reduces the amount of aggregate required for safety against bearing capacity failure. Tensar says that typically, savings of approximately $30,000 per linear mile of track can be attained. A Tensar geogrid being installed.

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Ballast maintenance

Deere 200D Excavators using RCE off-track undercutting process.

t o a n d f r o m t h e o p e r a t o r ’s jobsite,” explained Chuck Haskell, sales m a n a g e r. “ Available with undercutting capabilities, the set-up is ideal for removing ballast in all areas of track line.” New to the NMC Railway Systems product line, is the 15-foot undercutter bar with spoil management system (SMS). The redesigned undercutter bar features a 360-degree rotation, a bi-directional chain with fixed teeth and a selftensioning chain system to lengthen the life of the undercutter chain. The company says it is best utilized on a Cat® 329EL off-track excavator. “This past year, NMC Railway Systems has increased its rental fleet inventory to incorporate more custom engineered products,” said Haskell. “We have found that customers have a strong need to add products to their rental inventory that can help increase jobsite productivity during key ballast maintenance months. Products like the Cat 420F IT Backhoe with an undercutter bar, two motor tie tamper and tie inserters, to the extremely versatile 312 HRE (hi-rail excavator) with a 10-foot undercutter bar, are both available on a rental contract. These products, along with other custom equipment, provide increased performance and improved track maintenance projects in short windows.”


Nordco Inc. recently expanded i t s m a c h i n e a n d p a r t s r e bu i l d capabilities for production tampers. “ We a r e a b l e t o c o m p l e t e l y rebuild and upgrade virtually any production or switch tamper on the market,” noted Bill Straub, president of Nordco Equipment Services. “In addition, we now carry an extensive line of Jackson 6700 rebuilt parts and components and we continue to expand our offerings each month.” Straub says that railroads have been searching for ways to expand the useful life of their maintenanceof-way assets.

“The opportunity to completely rebuild, essentially creating a new asset for a fraction of the cost of a new machine, is key to achieving this goal,” he said. “Our continuing emphasis on expanding our rebuild business is designed to meet this cost-saving need.”

Plasser American

The Plasser RM 900 VB ballast cleaning machine offer s a costsavings to customers by reusing ballast, instead of replacing ballast, in addition to a number of versatile uses. The machine is fitted with the necessary work units for ballast

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Ballast maintenance

Nordco’s rebuilt Jackson 6700 Production Tamper.

recycling with optional supply of new ballast; ballast cleaning with optional supply of new ballast and full excavation with optional supply of new ballast. The RM 900 VB incorporates a primar y ballast screening unit and a cr ushing plant to shar pen ballast edges for recycling, in addition to the ballast undercutting/excavating chain and the high-performance eccentric screening unit, with dust suppression system. Other features of the RM 900 VB include the two track stabilizing units, which work to achieve the best possible initial track geometry quality and a sweeper unit. The sweeper unit sweeps ties and can pick up surplus ballast for redistribution. This is used to compensate for any shortage of ballast in the worksite. Plasser also offers its RM 95-800 W, which is equipped with an impact crusher to sharpen the reusable ballast and a ballast washing unit. “In combination with the vibrating screening units, this achieves a ver y high cleaning quality of the re-installed ballast,” noted Plasser. “Besides the outstanding cleaning result, residue from the ballast is also washed away. Due to the integrated water treatment plant, the washing water can be re-used to a large extent. All of this is carried out on-track and achieves a considerable reduction of the transportation cost and the

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associated pollutant emissions. Only the non-reusable share of fine particles is taken away and this brings considerable cost savings.” In full operation, the RM 95-800 W performs the following stages of work: excavation of ballast, preseparation, sharpening, screening, washing and returning ballast to the track. Additionally, it is possible to have a continuous supply of new ballast, which allows more material to be added and the track geometry is measured before and after ballast bed cleaning.


Rail Construction Equipment Co. has recently made some upgrades to help production and improve the routine maintenance of its undercutter bar s. The company offers its under cutter excavators through sale, rental or lease programs. Dennis Hanke, sales manager, says that versatility of equipment and the ability to work on- and off-track are at the top of customer requests. “The most important thing the we feel our customers need to do is set up a good plan and a job site prep process, he said. “This, with the proper equipment selection and set up, will provide higher production in the long run.”

Questions and Answers:

45G tax credit by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor

The current extension expires at the end of 2013; industry action is needed to help secure its future.

Before and after: Help from the 45G shortline tax credit allowed the Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad to upgrade 43 miles of rail that included replacing 90-lb. jointed rail with 115-lb. continuous welded rail, installing 20,000 crossties and rebuilding the roadbed under the rails. American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association “Section 45G Short Line Railroad Tax Credit Success Stories.” 2011 edition.


his month, railroad representatives, industry suppliers, shippers and other rail supporters will gather in Washington, D.C., for Railroad Day on Capitol Hill. Among the issues being discussed will be the continued support of the Section 45G Railroad Track Maintenance Credit. The credit, which has been extended through Dec. 31, 2013, was originally enacted in 2004 to provide shortline and regional railroads a tax credit of 50 cents per dollar spent on track improvements. In a statement issued after the last extension, Richard F. Timmons, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), said, “The 45G success story is the story of reducing federal taxes and interference with small businesses and allowing those businesses to invest more of what they earn in ways that benefit all Americans.” RT&S spoke with Jeff Van Schaick, associate with Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell, LLC, the lobbying firm for ASLRRA, to discuss the tax credit and see how the current climate in Washington could affect the tax credit’s future. RT&S: Why is this legislation important to the entire rail industry, not just the shortline market? Van Schaick: The 45G tax credit provides a value and incentive for shortline railroads, which spills over into every

part of the rail industry. Shortline customers have more efficient and reliable service and shortline contractors are hired to do increased amounts of work, creating and preserving thousands of well-paying jobs across the country. RT&S: With new members of Congress now serving, how does this change the sponsor make up of the current tax credit legislation? Van Schaick: I don’t believe it does. Educating new members is always something we try to do early in the year, which is one of the reasons we have Railroad Day on Capitol Hill in February or March. Last Congress, there were 84 Republicans in the freshman class. We were successful in securing 57 of them. Having the support of that large class was critical to our most recent extension. There are 94 new members this Congress and we will try to meet with each office to tell them about the shortline railroads in their district. Some members will eagerly sign on to the bill and some won’t, but that’s ok. The important thing is that we continue to educate and inform members of the benefits that shortline railroads provide to the community. RT&S: Did the election results pose any challenges to the tax credit’s future? Van Schaick: The make-up of this Congress will be simiRailway Track & Structures

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Q & A: 45G tax credit

lar to what it was last Congress. We’ll have a Republican House, a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate. We should see more discussion about overall total tax reform and the current group of tax extenders will surely be a discussion point. We will work to get the congressional support (cosponsors) we need to be considered in future legislation.

take a serious look at some of the bigger cost items that need attention like repairing or replacing the aging bridges on their lines. Private and government studies indicate it will cost $13 billion to bring the national shortline system up to the necessary level of efficiency. 45G has helped fund almost $3 billion of that in infrastructure upgrades since 2005.

RT&S: The cur rent extension is retroactive for 2012 and lasts through December 2013. Has ASLRRA membership said if this will help them in their current infrastructure maintenance plans? What would be the ideal length of time for the credit to be extended? Van Schaick: Much of the work being done on shortlines is necessary maintenance and that work continued through 2012 before the credit was extended. Since shortlines now have an additional year to plan their creditaided maintenance projects, they can

RT&S: After the last extension, there were a few bloggers who called the tax credit a “wasteful subsidy.” Is there concern about being labeled as such? Van Schaick: I am not aware of anyone who has called 45G a wasteful subsidy. The fact is that 45G incentivizes [more than] $300 million per year in additional infrastructure spending, which then helps local businesses and local communities. For example, in Kansas, 45G leveraged more than $2.6 million in track improvement to connect two cement plants in Neo-

sho County to the national rail network. The two rail customers are the backbone of economic opportunity in Chanute and Humboldt and the local shortline’s constant focus on improving the infrastructure keeps their customers competitive in the North American market. There is nothing wasteful about creating jobs and improving local communities, especially when the marketplace is empowered to make the most efficient investment decisions possible. RT&S: Why is it important to give the smaller railroads a tax break rather than open the legislation up to all railroads? Van Schaick: The 45G credit was created by Congress to preserve light density branch lines. These are the shortlines; the lines most in need of investment. The credit is targeted to improving existing shortline track and it ser ves its targeted purpose very efficiently. RT&S: Is there still a push to include shor tlines established after 2005 in the legislation? Van Schaick: Yes. Each extension bill that has been introduced has included shortlines that have been established since 2005 to be eligible for the credit. Investments to these miles are not qualified expenditures under 45G and we continue to work to make them eligible. Legislation has been introduced this Congress that will include shortlines that were established from 2005 to 2013. RT&S: What actions will the rail industry as a whole need to take in order to better the chances of the tax credit receiving another extension? Van Schaick: We need to continue to tell our story. We are constantly innovating to make our systems faster, safer and better for the environment. The rail industry is investing billions of its own dollars in infrastructure and that creates well-paying jobs and stability in our communities. For the tax credit to be successful, the industry needs to continue to build solid relationships with its elected leaders, not only on the federal level, but the state and local level, too.

34 Railway Track & Structures

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NRC Conference heats up

south beach by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor

The 2013 National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association Annual Conference in Florida can be marked as another success.

The 2012 Safe Contractor of the Year Award winners at the NRC Conference. There were four best of category winners, 45 gold, silver and bronze winners among the four categories and two Certificates of Commendation awarded at the conference.


he 2013 National Railroad Constr uction and Maintenance Association Annual Conference offered contractors, railroaders and suppliers a chance to escape from their colder locales and venture to the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in the South Beach area of Miami, Fla., January 9-12. The meeting provided presentations from Class 1 railroads, shortlines and transit agencies detailing their upcoming capital spending plans and opportunities for contractors, while the NRC-REMSA Exhibition offered the more than 1,000 attendees a chance to network and peruse among more than 100 exhibitors. The conference also featured a keynote address by the newly-installed chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA). “We were very pleased with the conference this year,” said Chuck Baker, NRC president. “Record attendance, a packed exhibit hall, world-class speakers detailing large capital spending and expansion plans, networking events galore and four days of great weather in South Beach in January - can’t ask for much better than that.” After an opening reception and welcome by Terry 36 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013

Benton, who entered into his second and final year as NRC Chairman, the general session kicked off with Dale Ophardt of CSX Transportation, the first of two Class 1 presenters who addressed the conference on Thursday, January 10. After a brief description of CSX’s approach to being a good corporate citizen, Ophardt detailed upcoming work and highlighted Phase 2 of the National Gateway Project, which will maximize the railroad’s mid-Atlantic capacity by clearing 21 obstructions. Following Ophardt was David Brown of Genesee & Wyoming (GWI). Brown outlined the “new G&W,” which incorporates the properties recently acquired through the purchase of RailAmerica. Brown told attendees that while there are always challenges, Genesee & Wyoming and RailAmerica had more similarities than differences. GWI plans to spend approximately $100 million more on infrastructure in 2013 than it did in 2012. Why not double the 2012 numbers? Brown explained RailAmerica invested its capital well in certain properties and GWI’s spending plan is geared toward generating growth. If there was a common theme among all railroad presenters, it was a focus on working as safely as possible

NRC in south Beach with a goal of zero injuries. Part of the NRC’s continued commitment to safety includes the production of its series of Safety DVDs. This year, the NRC Safety Committee previewed the next two of the series titled, “Safety Around Flash Butt Welding” and “Fall Protection in the Rail Industry.” There are 14 DVDs in total and all are free to NRC members. After the DVD preview, Robert Bergen of New York City Transit and Albert Hernandez of Miami Dade Transit presented the first of the transit-specific speeches. Bergen highlighted the various construction opportunities on New York City Transit, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road and said that at any one time, more than 200 projects could be underway. Hernandez summarized Miami Dade’s projects from TriRail and Amtrak facilities to replacing rail cars to an upgrade of the agency’s central control. Next on the schedule was Keith Hartwell, president of Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell, who gave attendees a legislative update. Hartwell reported on the effect of the November election and outlined what the industry might expect from Washington, D.C., in 2013. Canadian National’s Jim McLeod wrapped up the first full day of the conference by discussing what projects CN has planned on both its Canadian and U.S. properties. He also discussed the railroad’s recovery from unexpected events of the past year, such as the Fabyan Bridge derailment, flooding caused by Hurricane Isaac and a rock slide on the

2012 NRC special Awards 2012 Field Employee of the Year Award Dave Friel, Track Superintendent, Herzog Contracting Corp. 2012 Rail Construction Project of the Year Award Utah Transit Authority West FrontRunner South, Stacy & Witbeck/Herzog Contracting Corp. NRC Hall of Fame Inductee James J. (Jim) Daloisio, Chairman and CEO, Railroad Construction Company of South Jersey

“Record attendance, a packed exhibit hall, world-class speakers detailing large capital spending and expansion plans, networking events galore and four days of great weather in South Beach in January - can’t ask for much better than that.”

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NRC in South Beach Ashcroft Subdivision. The next morning, attendees who got an early start were able to take one last tour of the exhibit hall before the general session began with a presentation by BNSF’s John Cech. Cech said the railroad will have a strong rail, tie and bridge program in 2013 and also gave an update on the Bakken region; an area Cech said displayed “incredible growth.” Chairmen Schuster’s keynote address stressed his belief in the importance of rail. He highlighted his support of the shortline tax credit, expressed a need to improve Amtrak and said a big hurdle to the transportation bill, which expires in 2014, is figuring out how to pay for it. Schuster also encouraged attendees to “help get the word out” regarding the industry among members of Congress saying there are “535 of us and thousands of issues, we can’t be experts on all of them.” Following the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is a tough spot to be in, but Metra’s Larry Huggins handled it with aplomb. Huggins said the Chicago commuter rail provider continues to work toward bringing its system to a state of good repair. Metra will proceed with work on its Union Pacific North line bridge project, which is a 10-year program to replace 22 bridges along Metra’s busiest corridor. Next, David Armstrong of Commercial Insurance Associates announced the winners of the 2012 NRC/RT&S/ Commercial Insurance Associates Safe Contractor of the Year Awards (see page 39). In addition to the four best of category winners, 45 companies were awarded gold, silver or bronze recognition for their safety efforts and two Certificates of Commendation were given. The presentations continued with Watco’s Ron Close. While tie and surface projects will be a primary focus this year, Close did say Watco’s 29 railroads submitted 152 improvement projects worth approximately $21 million and outside of regular maintenance to the company’s capital committee. For the second day, the conference ended on a Canadian note with Canadian Pacific’s Brent Laing discussing the “new CP” and outlining the railroad’s 2013 capital plans. The final day began with Norfolk Southern’s Charlie Stine discussing 2013 maintenance opportunities on NS and touching on the Crescent Corridor work and North Carolina passenger rail projects. Florida East Coast’s Bob Stevens was next to present. Stevens said FEC is focused on its port capacity citing the expansion of the Panama Canal, which will triple the size of ships coming into the Gulf and Atlantic ports. The railroad has projects at Port Miami, Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach to name just a few. Mike Reininger gave an update on All Aboard Florida’s proposed Orlando to Miami passenger line before the NRC presented its 2012 Special Awards. This year, in honor of his role as an exemplary leader and his tireless pursuit of excellence, the NRC inducted James J. (Jim) Daloisio, chairman and CEO of Railroad Construction Company of South Jersey into the Hall of Fame. The Railroad Construction Project of the Year was awarded to the Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner South, 38 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013

2012 NRC/RT&S/Commercial insurance associates safety awards Category I - 30 employees or less Winner: Sharp & Fellows, Inc. Gold: American Rail Marketing, LLC; Amtrac of Ohio, Inc.; Clayton Railroad Construction; CR Construction Company; East Coast Railroad Services; Railroad Construction Company of South Jersey, Inc.; Rhinehart Railroad Construction, Inc.; STX Corporation; United Signal; US Trackworks, LLC Silver: Coleman Industrial Construction; Crafton Railroad Company, Inc.; Diamond K Services, Inc.; K.W. Reese Inc. Category II - 31-99 employees Winner: Mass Electric Construction Company Gold: Balfour Beatty Rail - Gillette Division; Georgetown Rail Equipment Company; Armond Cassil Railroad Construction, Inc.; Herzog Technologies, Inc.; L.K. Comstock Naitonal Transit; Railroad Constructors, Inc. Bronze: Armond Cassil; Fritz-Rumer-Cooke Co., Inc.; Musselman and Hall; Ragnar Benson Construction, LLC Category III - 100-300 employees Winner: Herzog Services, Inc. Gold: Delta Railroad Construction; J-Track LLC; Lone Star Railroad Contractors, Inc.; Railroad Construction Company; Scott Bridge Company; Tranco Industrial Services, Inc. Silver: Atlas Railroad Construction; Moran Environmental Recovery, LLC Bronze: Colo Railroad Builders, LLC Category IV - 301 or more employees Winner: Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. Gold: Ames Construction; Herzog Contracting Corp.; Herzog Railroad Services, Inc.; Hill Brothers Construciton; Holland L.P.; Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.; PNR RailWorks; RailWorks Track Services; RailWorks Track Systems; Stacy and Witbeck, Inc. Silver: Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. Bronze: Railroad Controls Limited; Trumbull Corporation Certificates of Commendation: Omega Rail

Services, Queen City Railroad Construction and West Rail Construction

Railway Track & Structures

March 2013 39

NRC in south Beach Right, the 2012 NRC Hall of Fame Inductee, Jim Daloisio, Chairman and CEO, Railroad Construction Company of South Jersey, and Chuck Baker, president of the NRC.

Stacy & Witbeck/Herzog Contracting Corp. According to the NRC, the safety record, scope of the project and the cost containment measures utilized in this multiyear project are what made the project stand out. The Field Employee of the Year was awarded to Dave Friehl, track superintendent, Herzog Contracting Corp. The NRC said Dave demonstrated outstanding expertise as a general superintendent and construction manager by coordinating closely with agencies, owners, stakeholders and subcontractors on challenging, tightly-scheduled projects,

40 Railway Track & Structures

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while maintaining an outstanding safety record. After the Special Awards, Anthony Fuller and Paul Worley of the North Carolina Rail Division gave a run down of the state’s rail projects, which will expand passenger capacity and involves working closely with CSX and NS to preserve freight capacity. Kevin Hicks of Union Pacific wrapped up the Class 1 capital presentations by saying the railroad is planning a healthy bridge program, will continue to focus on growth capital and is still on target to have field infrastructure in place for the PTC implementation deadline. Tony Hatch broke down what effect the “era of changing energy transport” has on the rail renaissance before Ken Koff of OmniTRAX gave the last of the shortline presentations with a focus on ties and bridge repair and upgrades. Jim Carter of Norfolk Southern and current AREMA president ended the conference with a report on the engineering association’s initiatives, encouraging attendance at the upcoming Railway Interchange and then, briefly outlining two of NS’ bridge projects for 2013. The next NRC Conference and Exhibition will be January 5-8, 2014, in Palm Desert, Calif.

AREMA NEWS Professional Development

Message from the President

Upcoming seminars

introduction to practical railway engineering June 12-14, 2013 Calgary, AB, Canada More information coming soon

Students are the future By Jim Carter

ArEMA Online seminar

Environmental Regulations and permitting considerations for railroads April 11, 2013 1:00 p.m. Eastern Please see page 45 for more information or visit

Jim Carter AREMA President 2012-2013

FRA 213: Track Safety Standards April 30-May 2, 2013 Atlanta, GA and October 2-4, 2013 Indianapolis, IN In conjunction with AREMA 2013 Annual Conference and Railway Interchange 2013 track alignment design seminar June 11-12, 2013 Denver, CO

More information coming soon

AREMA goes to Australia with Bridge Inspection and Streambed Erosion Hazard Recognition & Countermeasures for Railroad Embankments and Bridges (SCOUR) Seminar Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia This event has been postponed - TBD Fall 2013

42 Railway Track & Structures

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Winter always brings special challenges to railroaders and I sincerely hope that your challenges have not been too difficult and that you were able to overcome them all in good condition and in good spirits. If your winter was particularly difficult or challenging, take heart, as spring is rapidly approaching. Spring always fills us all with new hope and brings plans for new endeavors, which no doubt will bring new challenges to us all. Committee 24, Education and Training, launched a new endeavor in January that I am very excited about. In case you haven’t heard, they have created a Student Speakers Initiative and have been recruiting AREMA members who are interested in volunteering to speak about various topics in the rail industry at select universities or colleges nationwide. This is an opportunity to give back to the educational community and to interact with students eager to learn and expand their horizons about the rail industry. I assure you that you will do few things that are more fulfilling. Thanks so much to Ashley Backhus for spearheading this initiative and all of the Committee 24 members who have assisted her. They have already connected speakers with universities and I know that both are appreciative. If you haven’t already signed up and are interested in participating, please contact Ashley at I had the privilege to speak on behalf of both Norfolk Southern and AREMA at a meeting of the ASCE Student Chapter at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville in January. Several of the AREMA Student Chapter members were in attendance as well. I would like to thank my friend, professor Dave Clarke, and all of those great students and other faculty members for the invitation and their warm welcome and hospitality. The students were very interested, engaged and asked great questions. I had a great time. I hope that you all are making plans to attend Railway Interchange, Sept. 29–Oct. 2 in Indianapolis, Ind. Joe Smak tells me that things are going very well with the program development. Thanks to all who submitted abstracts and I would like to express my regrets to those submitters who will not be included in the program due to the number received. I have heard nothing but great things about the downtown Indianapolis area and Railway Interchange promises to be one of the best railroad events ever held in North America. If you have never brought your spouse along with you to a conference, please consider bringing them this time and be sure to register him/ her for the spouse program. We would love to see and meet them and plan to have special recognition for first time spouse attendees. I think that they will enjoy it. Remember, AREMA is your organization. If you have ideas about how we can make it better for you, e-mail me at Be careful and have fun out there.

2013 Upcoming Committee Meetings March 12-13 March 13-14 March 18-20 March 20-22

Committee 38 - Information, Defect Detection & Energy Systems Committee 39 - Positive Train Control Committee 36 - Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning Systems Committee 37 - Signal Systems

Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville, FL Cocoa Beach, FL Cocoa Beach, FL

March 20 April 9-10 April 18-19 May 9-10 May 21-22

Committee 27 - Maintenance of Way Work Equipment Committees 11&17 Committee 16 - Economics of Railway Engineering and Operations Committee 8 - Concrete Structures & Foundations Committee 15 - Steel Structures

Rocky Mount, NC Seattle, WA Los Angeles, CA Omaha, NE Greensboro, NC

Negotiated airline discount information for AREMA Committee Meetings can be found online at

FYI… Railway Interchange 2013, September 29-October 2 in Indianapolis, IN . Registration i s n o w o p e n . To register for the AREMA 2013 Annual Conference, please visit All AREMA badges will be honored for full access into the exhibition halls during operating hours.

2013 Dues Renewal

Online renewal of dues is now available. To pay online, log into, then select “Dues Renewal” from the “Membership” drop down menu. Print renewal invoices have been mailed. Members with no lapse in membership have until March 31, 2013 to renew their dues.

AREMA Railway Careers Network

Put your career on the right track with AREMA’s Railway Careers Network. Services are free and include confidential resume posting, job search and e-mail notification when jobs match your criteria. Visit

Interested in sponsorship for the AREMA 2013 Annual Conference being held as part of Railway Interchange 2013? Please visit the NEW AREMA sponsorship website at or contact Lisa Hall at for more information. Call for entries for the 2013 AREMA Student Architectural Design Competition. Please visit for more information. The deadline for all entries is May 1, 2013. Call for entries for the 2013 Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence. The selection process for the 15th W. W. Hay Award is underway. Entries must be submitted by May 31, 2013. Please visit for more information. AREMA 2014 Annual Conference & Exposition will be held in Chicago, IL, September 28-October 1, 2014. Exhibit booth sales will begin May 1, 2013. Receive a 10% discount off your booth purchase between May 1 and October 11, 2013. Please contact Christy Thomas at if you are interested in receiving more information. AREMA’s Official Facebook Page Become a fan of the official AREMA Facebook Page and stay up-to-date on the most recent AREMA information. The Official AREMA LinkedIn Group

Join the official AREMA LinkedIn Group by visiting and searching groups for “American Railway Engineering and Maintenanceof-Way Association.”

American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association 10003 Derekwood Lane, Suite 210, Lanham, MD 20706-4362 Phone: +1.301.459.3200 / Fax: +1.301.459.8077 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013 43


Getting to know Fred D. Meeks Each month, AREMA features one of our committee chairmen. We are pleased to announce that the March featured chairman is Fred Meeks, chair of Committee 38 Information, Defect Detection and Energy Systems. AREMA: Why did you decide to choose a career in railway engineering? Meeks: When I graduated from the University of Missouri– Columbia with a BSEE in 1972, engineering opportunities in the Midwest were limited. I had grown up on a farm in Missouri, close to the former Santa Fe tracks and my wife had family in Topeka, Kan. Going to work for the Santa Fe Signal Department in the engineering office in Topeka seemed like a good fit. AREMA: How did you get started? Meeks: I started work in the Santa Fe Eastern Lines Signal Design office in Topeka in 1972. Compared with today, things were very different. All signal control circuits and crossing warning circuits were done with relay logic. Circuit plans were done on linen with ink. I started by correcting as-built plans and worked into doing crossing warning design and then signal circuit design. AREMA: How did you get involved in AREMA and your committee? Meeks: I transferred from Topeka to Amarillo, Texas, in 1981, as a signal supervisor. I came back to Topeka in 1984, as the Santa Fe hot box detector engineer. I joined AAR Committee F in 1986 and was the chairman of Committee F when AAR Committee F made the transition to AREMA Committee 38. AREMA: Outside of your job and the hard work you put into AREMA, what are your hobbies? Meeks: I am retired from BNSF and continue to be involved in the railroad industry through my consulting business. I enjoy woodworking and last year, I made a train-themed grandfather clock, as well as other smaller projects. In addition, my wife and I have a fifth wheel RV and enjoy camping with our group of railroad retirees. The past two years, we have towed the RV more than 4,000 miles each year. AREMA: Tell us about your family. Meeks: My wife Beverly and I have been married for more than 42 years. We have two daughters and four grandchildren. Along with our other activities, they keep us involved and busy. AREMA: If you could share one interesting fact about yourself with the readers of RT&S, what would it be? Meeks: One thing I am involved in, outside of the railway industry, is that I am an elder of the Church of Christ. I would encourage all to not neglect their faith as everincreasing pressures of family and work compete for our most valuable resource, time. AREMA: What is your biggest achievement? Meeks: I worked for several years with the suppliers of the Hot Journal detectors, used by BNSF, to improve reliability and eliminate false stops. As a result of hardware and software developments, the false-stop-ratio was reduced 44 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013

Fred D. Meeks Chair, Committee 38 - Information, Defect Detection and Energy Systems Interlocking Engineer (Ret.), BNSF Railway

to a DPMO of .05. This is better than six sigma and this development has benefited the entire railway industry. AREMA: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to pursue a career in the railway industry? Meeks: I have found my 38 years with the former Santa Fe and BNSF to be interesting, challenging and rewarding. That is what is needed to make for a good career. The railway industry provides good opportunities for advancement and a stable, secure work environment. If someone is willing to apply themselves, the railway industry is an excellent opportunity for a lifetime career.

Environmental Regulations and Permitting Considerations for Railroads


Reflections on a Half Century of Railway Engineering and Some Related Subjects©

Railway Memoirs by William G. Byers, PE

2012 Manual for Railway Engineering© There have been numerous updates to more than 5,000 pages of the Manual for Railway Engineering. The chapters are grouped into four general categories, each in a separate volume: • Track • Structures • Infrastructure & Passenger • Systems Management. The Manual is an annual publication, released every April. It is available in four-volume loose-leaf format, CD-ROM, revision set (loose-leaf only) and individual chapters (hard copy and downloadable formats). 2013 Edition available April 2013

*NEW* Downloadable Chapters Avilable Online April 2013

AREMA Bridge Inspection Handbook© The AREMA Bridge Inspection Handbook provides a comprehensive source of information and criteria for bridge inspections for engineers engaged in the assessment of railway bridges. This handbook is published as a guide to establishing policies and practices relative to bridge inspection. It covers such topics as confined spaces, site conditions, loads & forces, nomenclature, bridge decks, timber, concrete & steel bridges, movable bridges, tunnel and culvert inspections, and emergency & postearthquake inspections. Also included are many color photographed examples in several chapters, as well as a glossary in the back of the book. To order any of the AREMA publications, please visit or contact Beth Caruso at +1.301.459.3200, ext. 701, or

2013 Communications & Signals Manual of Recommended Practices©

Date: April 11, 2013 Time: 1 p.m. Eastern Location: Your Computer

The Communications & Signals Manual is a manual of recommended practices written by AREMA technical committees in the interest of establishing uniformity, promoting safety or efficiency and economy. The Communications & Signals Manual of Recommended Practices is an annual publication released every October.

Presented by: Brian Kovol Vice President, Principal Scientist Midnight Sun Environmental, LLC

*NEW* Downloadable Sections Avilable Online-Coming Soon

Practical Guide to Railway Engineering© This guide provides a comprehensive overview and understanding of the railway system. Whether you are new to the rail industry or a long-time contributor wanting to learn more, this bound book and CD-ROM offer in-depth coverage of railway fundamentals and serve as an excellent reference. (Also available in a CD-ROM version only.)

2012 Portfolio of Trackwork Plans© The Portfolio of Trackwork Plans consists of plans and specifications that relate to the design, details, materials and workmanship for switches, frogs, turnouts and crossovers, crossings, rails and other special trackwork. This is a companion volume to the Manual for Railway Engineering.

Jeffry Rice, AICP Vice President/Manager, Environmental Planning URS Corporation Environmental Leadership in Railroading:  It starts with permitting and environmental review.  Learn about regulations common to railroad construction projects and maintenance-ofway.  Gain a better understanding for streamlining the permitting and compliance process.   Who Should Attend? • Railroad employees • Engineers • Environmental Consultants • Anyone who would like to have a better understanding of environmental regulations as they relate to North American railroads.   Member rate: $99 Non-member rate: $129

Please visit to register online.

Railway Track & Structures

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46 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013


Flangeway cleaner tool

PortaCo, Inc., released its flangeway cleaner tool, which is said to be useful on compacted dirt and ice and a fast and efficient way of cleaning crossing flanges. The tool has adjustable cleaning depths, a debris flap for safe operation and is a lightweight, self-contained unit. Phone: 218-236-0223.

Pipe ramming hammer

HammerHead Trenchless Equipment offers its pneumatic pipe ramming hammer. The 34-inch hammer can install casing 48 inches to 180 inches in diameter in drainage culvert and washover applications and can be used for pipe assist or pipe extraction, guided pilot bore ramming and horizontal directional drilling assist. The hammer was recently used in an Ontario, Canada, washover casing job and installed 185 feet of 72-inch diameter steel casing. Phone: 800-331-6653.

Frequency module

NEL Frequency Controls released its Dual Frequency Reference Module (DFRM). The new module consists of two ultra-low phase noise OCXOs at 10 MHz and 100 MHz that are phase-locked together to provide a fully-characterized â&#x20AC;&#x153;plug and playâ&#x20AC;? solution. DFRM also features temperature stability from two ppb peak to peak, low aging from 0.25 ppb/day and short term stability AVAR <1E-12 at 1s. Phone: 262-763-3591. 48 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013

Ad Index Company

Phone #

AREMA Marketing Department Auto Truck Group Ballast Tools Inc. Brandt Road Rail Corporation Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. Herzog Railroad Services, Inc. Herzog Services, Inc. Holland L.P. Hougen Manufacturing, Inc. Knox Kershaw, Inc. L.B. Foster Co. - Friction Management Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. North American Rail Products Inc. Neel Company, The New York Air Brake NMC速 Railway Systems Nordco Inc. NRC Osmose Railroad Services, Inc. Plasser American Corp. Progress Rail Services Corp. RAILCET Rails Company RailWorks Corporation Rail Construction Equipment Co. Railway Educational Bureau, The Tensar International Corporation Trimble Navigation Limited Unitrac Railroad Materials, Inc. voestalpine Nortrak Inc.


e-mail address

Page #

301-459-3200 301-459-8077 Cover 3, 2 816-412-2131 816-412-2191 17 636-937-3326 636-937-3386 21, 32 306-791-7533 306-525-1077 34 512-869-1542 ext.228 512-863-0405 25 816-233-9002 816-233-7757 29 816-233-9002 816-233-7757 9 708-672-2300 ext. 382 708-672-0119 39 866-245-3745 800-309-3299 18 334-387-5669 ext.208 334-387-4554 31 412-928-3506 412-928-3512 4 763-478-6014 763-478-2221 Cover 2 604-946-7272 888-692-1150 8 703-913-7858 703-913-7859 7 607-257-7000 607-257-2389 35 866-662-7799 402-891-7745 40 414-766-2180 414-766-2379 28 202-715-2920 202-318-0867 11 800-356-5952 608-221-0618 Cover 4 757-543-3526 757-494-7186 26, 27 800-476-8769 256-593-1249 30 866-724-5238 217-522-6588 6 973-763-4320 973-763-2585 8 866-905-7245 952-469-1926 12 866-472-4570 630-355-7173 38 402-346-4300 402-346-1783 48, 50 404-214-5374 404-250-9185 24 720-587-4606 ---- 22, 23 865-693-9162 37 412-298-0915 307-778-8700 307-778-8777 19 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. The Advertisers Index is an editorial feature maintained for the convenience of readers. It is not part of the advertiser contract and RT&S assumes no responsibility for the correctness.

Advertising Sales general sales OFFICE Jonathan Chalon Publisher (212) 620-7224 55 Broad St., 26th Fl. Fax: (212) 620-7224 New York, NY 10014 CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA, WV, Canada Quebec and East, Ontario Mark Connolly (212) 620-7260 55 Broad St., 26th Fl. Fax: (212) 633-1863 New York, NY 10014 AL, AR, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, OH, OK, TN, TX Emily Guill (312) 683-5021 20 South Clark St. Fax: (312) 683-0131 Ste. 1910 Chicago, IL 60603

AK, AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MN, MO, MT, NE, NM, ND, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, WY, Canada -足AB, BC, MB, SK Heather Disabato (312) 683-5026 20 South Clark St. Fax: (312) 683-0131 Ste. 1910 Chicago, IL 60603 Responsible for advertisement sales in all parts of the world, except Italy, Italianspeaking Switzerland, Japan, and North America. See the contacts below for these areas. Donna Edwards Suite K5 & K6 The Priory +44-1444-416368 Syresham Gardens Fax: +44-1444-458185 Haywards Heath, RH16 3LB United Kingdom

Australia, Austria, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Scandinavia, South Africa, South America, Spain, Worldwide Recruitment Steven Barnes Suite K5 &K6 The Priory +44-1444-416375 Syresham Gardens Fax: +44-1444-458185 Haywards Heath, RH16 3LB United Kingdom Africa, Britain, Eastern Europe, Far East, France, Germany, all others. Louise Cooper Suite K5 &K6 The Priory +44-1444-416917 Syresham Gardens Fax: +44-1444-458185 Haywards Heath, RH16 3LB United Kingdom

Italy & Italian-speaking Switzerland Dr. Fabio Potesta Media Point & Communications SRL Corte Lambruschini Corso Buenos Aires 8 +39-10-570-4948 V Piano, Int 9 Fax: +39-10-553-0088 16129 Genoa, Italy Japan Katsuhiro Ishii Ace Media Service, Inc. 12-6 4-Chome, +81-3-5691-3335 Nishiiko, Adachi-Ku Fax: +81-3-5691-3336 Tokyo 121-0824, Japan Classified, Professional & Employment Craig Wilson (212) 620-7211 55 Broad St., 26th Fl. Fax: (212) 633-1325 New York, NY 10014

Railway Track & Structures

March 2013 49

CALENDAR MARCH 14. Railroad Day on Capitol Hill. Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel. Washington, D.C. Contact: Kathy Cassidy. Phone: 202-585-3443. E-mail: Website: meetings___seminars/Railroad_Day_on_Capitol_Hill/. 18-20. Introduction to Railroad Engineering and Operations. University of Wisconsin. Hilton Garden InnChicago O’Hare Airport. Des Plains, Ill. Contact: Dave Peterson. Phone: 800-462-0876. E-mail: peterson@epd. Website: 19-21. Railroad Track Design. University of Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenn. Contact: Dianna Webb. Phone: 865-974-5255. Fax: 865-974-3889. Website: APRIL 2-3. Railway Age/Marine Log’s The New Intermodal Age Conference and Expo. Hyatt Regency Baltimore on the Inner Harbor. Baltimore, Md. Contact: Jane Poterala. Phone: 212-620-7209. E-mail: Website: intermodalage.html. 15-18. Joint Rail Conference 2013. Knoxville Convention Center. Knoxville, Tenn. Phone: 717-242-4972. E-mail: Website: http://www. 23-24. Understanding and Complying with FRA 237 Bridge Safety Standards. Des Plains, Ill. Contact: Dave Peterson. Phone: 800-462-0876. Website: http://epd.engr. 27-30. 2013 ASLRRA Annual Convention. Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Atlanta, Ga. Phone: 202-628-4500. Website: MAY 22-24. Timber and Steel RailRoad Bridges. University of Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenn. Contact: Dianna Webb. Phone: 865-974-5255. Fax: 865-974-3889. Website: http:// SEPTEMBER 29-Oct. 2. Railway Interchange 2013. Indianapolis, Ind. Website: 29-Oct. 2. APTA Rail Conference. Hilton Chicago. Chicago, Ill. Contact: Yvette Conley. Phone: 202-4964868. E-mail: Website: www. OCTOBER 6-11. International Railway Safety Conference (IRSC 2013). Vancouver, BC, Canada. E-mail: irsc2013@nrc-cnrc. Website: 9-11. 95th Annual Railway Tie Association Symposium and Technical Conference. Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. Incline Village, Nev. Phone: 770-460-5553. Fax: 770-4605573. Website: 50 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013

Professional Directory

WEED & BRUSH SPRAYING Specialized fleet of computer operated sprayers

Tree Trimming/Brush Cutting

Line Clearance-Hazardous Trees-Whole tree chipping


A variety of on/off track removal equipment

Road Crossing Site Safety Maintenance Re-cut & Herbicide Programs 800.822.9246



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

E-Mail: Tel: 440-439-7088 Fax: 440-439-9399

EQUIPMENT FOR SHORT OR LONG TERM LEASE HARSCO TAMPERS 6700S Switch and Production Tampers - 2012, 2011, 2010 & 2009 3300 Chase Tampers 3000 Tampers w/Raise & Line or Chase Tampers 2012 thru 2006 2400 Tampers w/Raise & Line, 900 Tampers w/Jacks TIE INSERTERS/EXTRACTORS Nordco TRIPPs - 2012 thru 2005 TR-10s & TKOs 925 S/Ss and Standards KNOX KERSHAW REGULATORS, KRIBBER/ADZERS, TIE CRANES & PLATE BROOMS KBR-850-925-940 Ballast Regulators & Snow Fighters - 2012 - 2008 KTC - 1200 Tie Cranes - 2012 thru 2006 KKA-1000s Kribber/Adzers – 2009, 2008 & 2007 KPB-200 Plate Brooms NORDCO ANCHOR APPLICATORS, SPIKERS & GRABBERS Models E & F Anchor Machines Models CX and SS Spikers - 2012 thru 2006 Model SP2R Dual Grabbers – 2008, 2007 & 2006 RACINE DUAL ANCHOR SPREADERS, SQUEEZERS, TPIs, DUAL CLIP APPLICATORS, OTM RECLAIMERS AND ANCHOR APPLICATORS HI-RAIL CRANES & SPEEDSWINGS Pettibone Model 445E Speedswings w/Multiple Attachments Geismar 360 Hi-Rail Excavators with Cold Air Blowers Badger 30 Ton Cranes HI-RAIL ROTARY DUMPS, GRAPPLE TRUCKS & EXCAVATORS Gradall XL3300 Series III w/Digging Buckets & Brush cutters - 2012 Badger 1085R with Brush Cutter and Ditch Cleaning Bucket

Products and services


RT&S Classified Section

Brand new Western Star or Freightliner hi rail Grapple trucks for sale or rent

Craig Wilson 212-620-7211

Brand new Ford F350 hi rail pickups for sale or rent s r



(5) 2005 Ford F350 hi rail pickups for sale Contact Andy Wiskerchen for Pricing Omaha Track Equipment 715-570-8885 Railway Track & Structures

March 2013 51


Some things never change. Quality, Service, and Dependability. Since 1910.

Hirail Crew Cab Grapple Truck

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March 2013

RT&S 0313  
RT&S 0313  

The March 2013 issue of RT&S features a look at ballast maintenance, the 45G Tx Credit and the NRC Conference Report. Additionally, there ar...