Page 1

New bridge improves capacity along a key Norfolk Southern route

Portageville BRidge

April 2018 |

Material Handling

Improving component delivery methods.

opinion: safety statistics

A layered challenge with several possible solutions.

And also

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February 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 1


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April 2018



Materials handling

Manufacturers are developing equipment that offers flexibility, as well as enhanced safety.





Industry Today Union Pacific and BNSF state plans; LIRR improvements and TIGER grants



Supplier News Acquisitions, contracts and other news


People New hires, promotions and appointments


TTCI R&D Revenue service test results are presented for hybrid composite beam spans. AREMA News Message from the president; recap of Committee 24’s history. Calendar



Norfolk Southern constructed the 963-foot Portageville Bridge 235 feet above the Genesee River Gorge in New York. Story on page 22.


Advertisers Index


Sales Representatives

Credit: Norfolk Southern Railway


Classifieds Advertising


Professional Directory

Custom Truck One Source


Portageville Bridge The sides of a river gorge wasn’t the only connection NS made with the construction of a New York bridge.


Accident prevention A view on recent safety statistics and the technology that could help improve them.



On Track Intelligence and the rail system


NRC Chairman’s Column Next: NRC auction and summer construction season

Follow Us On Social Media @RTSMag

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 1


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On Track

Intelligence and the rail system Vol. 114, No. 4 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 Kyra Senese Managing Editor CORPORATE OFFICES 55 Broad St 26th Fl. New York, N.Y. 10004 Telephone (212) 620-7200 Fax (212) 633-1165 Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. President and Chairman Jonathan Chalon Publisher Mary Conyers Production Director Nicole Cassano Art Director Aleza Leinwand Graphic Designer Maureen Cooney Circulation Director Michelle Zolkos Conference Director Customer Service: 800-895-4389 Reprints: PARS International Corp. 253 West 35th Street 7th Floor New York, NY 10001 212-221-9595; fax 212-221-9195


very once in awhile, the industry puts out a piece of news that flies under the radar and doesn’t get the attention that I believe it deserves. Such was the case at the end of March when the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued its Broad Agency Announcements (BAA). Now, if you’re the type that pays attention or, if you attended the Annual Association of American Railroads (AAR) Research Review last month, you already know the news found in the last word of the above paragraph–announcements–plural. FRA typically has a single BAA to solicit proposals on a variety of research areas. The first 2018 BAA is just that – a general solicitation of basic and applied technology research projects that will support the strategic objectives of the Office of Research, Development and Technology and the research needs of the four FRA research divisions, which include track; rolling stock and equipment; train control and human factors. The second BAA is focused on Intelligent Railroad System Research and is restricted to university and university-led teams as qualifying applicants. As FRA explained, this BAA “solicits basic and applied research projects that can leverage the technologies and systems both developed and emerging from the intelligent transportation systems field and apply these advances to the rail industry. Such

advancements can help ensure rail safety, improve economic competitiveness and expand opportunities for the rail industry. Collectively, these technologies can begin the development of an Intelligent Railroad System.” Intelligence within systems is already permeating our lives. I had a flip phone seven years ago. I used it to make calls and send the occasional text. Today, my smartphone enables me to start my car, see who is at my front door, stream a movie, read a book, track my steps throughout the day and many other tasks all from a single device. I also use it to send texts and make the occasional call. Similar “smart” technolgy foundations have already been laid in the machinery we use to maintain our railroads, monitor our bridges and inspect our assests. The intelligence will come once we figure out how to bring all this information together. I will close with another reference to the AAR’s Annual Research Review; Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz delivered the keynote speech on the role innovation plays in the industry. He said, “The Holy Grail of knowing the status of the entire railroad, all the time isn’t 20 years away, it’s a few years away and that’s exciting.”

Mischa Wanek-Libman Editor

Railway Track & Structures (Print ISSN 0033-9016, Digital ISSN 2160-2514), (USPS 860-560), (Canada Post Cust. #7204564; Agreement #40612608; IMEX P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad St. 26th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Pricing: Qualified individual and railroad employees may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions printed and/or digital version: 1 year Railroad Employees (US/Canada/Mexico) $16.00; all others $46.00; foreign $80.00; foreign, air mail $180.00. 2 years Railroad Employees US/Canada/Mexico $30.00; all others $85.00; foreign $140.00; foreign, air mail $340.00. Single Copies are $10.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2018. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: PARS International Corp., 102 W 38th St., 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018 Phone (212) 221-9595 Fax (212) 221-9195. For subscriptions and address changes, Please call (800) 895-4389, (402) 346-4740, Fax (402) 346-3670, e-mail or write to: Railway Track & Structures, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, P.O. Box 3135, Northbrook, IL 60062-3135. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Railway Track & Structures, P.O. Box 3135, Northbrook, IL 60062-3135.

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 3

Industry today

A dozen states to see $1.37 billion investment from UP


nion Pacific (UP) plans to invest more than 40 percent of its $3.3 billion 2018 capital program across 12 states. The largest state program will occur in Texas, where a $450 million investment will consist of $320 million in track maintenance and $94 million in bridge maintenance. Key projects in the state include the replacement of more than 115,000 crossties and installation of more than 54,000 tons of ballast between Ranger and Sweetwater, as well as work on the rail line between Raymondville and Robstown to replace 116,091 crossties and install 72,346 tons of ballast. Arkansas will see a $127 million program, which includes $103 million in track maintenance and $9.6 million in bridge maintenance. Additionally, UP will replace 42 miles of rail between Atkins and Mulberry, as well as replace 91,854 crossties and install 26,021 tons of ballast in the rail line between Pine Bluff and Texarkana. UP’s California network will see a $122.3 million capital program this year, which includes $90.8 million for track maintenance and $14.2 million for bridge maintenance.

The Class 1 plans to replace 20 miles of rail along the Fresno Subdivision, replace more than 33,000 crossties along the Coast Subdivision and invest more than $7 million in rail infrastructure in West Colton. The planned $113 million Kansas plan consists of $80 million for track maintenance and $8.6 million for bridge maintenance. UP also plans to install 68 miles of rail in the state. In Illinois, the railroad plans a $103.6 million program, which is split into $40.8 million for track maintenance and $23.5 million in bridge maintenance. The line between Watseka and Chicago Heights will see 49 miles of rail replaced and the line between Elburn and Beaver Island will see more than 51,000 crossties replaced. Louisiana’s $87 million program includes $48 million for track maintenance and $18 million for bridge maintenance. UP plans to replace 149,977 crossties and install more than 56,000 tons of ballast in the line between Alexandria and Shreveport, as well as replace 82,152 crossties and install more than 39,000 tons of ballast in the line Luling and Livonia.

In Wyoming, UP plans to invest $85 million that will all go toward track maintenance with the exception of $2.9 million slated for bridge maintenance. The railroad also plans to replace 181,000 crossties and 25 miles of rail in the state. The planned $65 million Nebraska program includes $54.9 million in track maintenance and $3 million in bridge maintenance. UP plans to replace 195,500 crossties, as well as invest $5 million to update track welds in the line between Lewellen and Sutherland. Oregon will see a $63.3 million program in 2018 that includes $57.7 million to maintain track and $5.5 million to maintain bridges. UP also plans to install crossties at several locations including 71,000 in the line between La Grande and Huntington, 64,200 in the line between Hermiston and La Grande and 35,100 in the line between Odell Lake and Oakridge. UP’s Utah network will see a $59.3 million investment, which includes $54.1 million in track maintenance and $123,000 for bridge maintenance. The railroad plans to replace 28 miles of rail in the line west of the Great Salt Lake and 22 miles of rail east of Wendover. The line between Delta and Milford will see more than 100,500 crossties replaced. In Nevada, UP plans a $56.2 million program that will focus mainly on track maintenance with a $54 million investment, as well as $3.2 million for bridge maintenance. The railroad will replace a total of 39 miles of rail on the Nevada and Elko Subdivisions, as well as replace 100,800 crossties between North Las Vegas and the Utah border. The network in Iowa will see a $47 million investment, which includes $39.7 million for track maintenance and $5.9 million for bridge maintenance. The railroad will replace a total of 114,000 crossties between Grand Junction and Mallard and between Nevada and Tama, as well as invest $12 million in the Mississippi River Bridge project in Clinton.

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Industry today

Project to double Port of Savannah’s rail capacity begins The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) broke ground on its $126.7 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal in late March. GPA said the expansion would increase the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year and open new markets spanning an arc of cities from Memphis to St. Louis and Chicago to Cincinnati. “This project is a game changer,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “Our team estimates the Mason Mega Rail Terminal will slash rail time to the Midwest by a good 24 hours, and present a viable new option for many manufacturers, shippers and logistics professionals.” When complete, Garden City Terminal will have a total of 180,000 feet of rail, 18 working tracks and the capability of building 10,000-foot unit trains on terminal. This will allow GPA to bring all rail switching onto the terminal, avoiding the use of nearly two dozen rail crossings for improved vehicle traffic flow.

Garden City Terminal is already the South Atlantic region’s busiest intermodal gateway, handling 38 trains per week of import and export cargo. The GPA says that once the Mason Mega Rail terminal is complete, the Port of Savannah will have a state-of-the-art facility, unique to the U.S. East Coast. “The Mason Mega Rail project will expand rail capacity by 100 percent while reducing impact on the local community and throughout the supply chain,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. GPA estimates that the new intermodal terminal will take more than 200,000 trucks off the road annually. The Mega Rail expansion is funded in part by a $44 million U.S. Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant administered by the Maritime Administration. The new rail infrastructure is part of a comprehensive expansion plan that includes the harbor deepening, the single largest ship-to-shore crane fleet in North America,

60 additional yard cranes and expanding truck gates. “Not only are we bolstering intermodal rail capacity, we are adding bandwidth across all points of interaction – from surface transportation to yard and dock transactions,” said GPA Chief Operating Officer Ed McCarthy. GPA says that since 1995, the Port of Savannah has grown from the 12th busiest port in the nation to the fourth busiest, behind only Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York-New Jersey.


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Industry today

Supplier News The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Fiscal and Management Control Board voted to offer Barletta Heavy Division a $102.7 million contract to rebuild its Wellington Rail Yard and make upgrades to signal systems. The Boring Company and O’Hare Xpress LLC were ch osen to compete for work to design, build, finance and operate Chicago’s O’Hare Express operating system. Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx awarded a contract to EllisDon Transit Infrastructure to design, build and finance the Stouffville Corridor Stations Improvement project. IO and Metrolinx also invited Milton Transit Group, Milton Integrated Transit Team and Ledcor MM Partners to bid on a station and operations facility along the Milton Corridor. A n ew par tn ersh ip bet we e n technology and consulting firm Indra and Greenrail, an Italian producer of eco-sustainable c ro s s ti e s , w i l l eva l u a te th e feasibility of developing crossties capable of collecting and sending real-time data. Sound Transit awarded South County Transit Partners, a joint venture of Mott MacDonald and SNC-Lavalin, a designbuild contract for the project management of its Federal Way Link Extension. The Reinforced Earth Company acquired The Neel Company in early 2018 and added T-WALL® to its brand umbrella. The Los Angeles County M etro p o l ita n Transp o r tatio n Authority awarded TRC Companies Inc., a $35.1 million, three-year contract to provide s e r v i c e s f o r t h e a g e n c y ’s environmental program.

6 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

BNSF expects to invest $320 million in California and Minnesota in 2018 BNSF outlined its plans for track maintenance and capacity projects in California and Minnesota where the Class 1 plans to spend $230 million and $90 million respectively. The railroad’s capital plan in California is the second largest it has announced for 2018, following behind the planned $375 million investment in its Texas network. BNSF says additional production track and new lift equipment will be installed at the Los Angeles Intermodal Facility this year. At the Stockton Intermodal Facility, the railroad will extend the existing north lead track to improve switching capability. On the Needles subdivision, BNSF will begin the multi-year construction of a third main track between West Needles and Ibis and the addition of approximately four

miles of quadruple main track to the existing triple track will further expand capacity through Needles. The 2018 maintenance program in California includes more than 570 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, as well as the replacement of approximately 40 miles of rail and close to 100,000 crossties. In Minnesota, the railroad will focus the majority of its $90 million program on maintenance actions. BNSF explains that the maintenance program in Minnesota includes more than 750 miles of track surfacing and/ or undercutting work, as well as the replacement of nearly 20 miles of rail and close to 170,000 crossties. The state plans are part of BNSF’s previously announced $3.3 billion 2018 capital program.

Long Island Rail Road lays out threepoint initiative to improve service The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) detailed a slate of nearly 60 actions it will take to improve the railroad’s performance through a new initiative called the LIRR Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Officials said the PIP involves virtually every department of the railroad and concentrates on improving three aspects of operations: service reliability, seasonal preparedness and customer communications. “This plan lays out the steps toward doing everything we can to prevent incidents that can impact service and when incidents do occur, to recover service faster by improving our response times to the issues impacting us and our customers,” said LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski. “Just as important, whether we have a disruption or are providing normal service, we know that improved communication with customers is vital. That extends to this plan itself. We are developing a host of methods to gauge customer feedback on our performance, from upcoming public engagement sessions and focus groups, to working with the LIRR Commuter Council and soliciting customer comments.” Regarding service reliability, the PIP includes efforts to improve fleet reliability, maintain and upgrade critical infrastructure,

as well as approaches to better respond to fleet and infrastructure issues that do occur, with the overall goal of targeting investments that deliver the most improvements for the most customers. LIRR provided several examples of actions it will take to support service reliability including hardening or upgrading assets, improving its administration and increasing its maintenance activities. To tackle seasonal challenges, LIRR plans to increase vegetation management practices in the spring and summer, acquire additional snow fighters and third rail heaters for winter, as well as add signal personnel, overnight track emergency crews, signal system grounding and new drainage systems to provide better preparedness year-round. The third leg of LIRR’s PIP will improve customer communications. LIRR says the railroad must improve in this area to make information more timely, more accurate and easier to access. LIRR will provide details every month to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board and the public on the nature of the activities and progress the railroad is making toward each using clearly defined metrics compared against pre-determined timelines.

Industry today

More than $95 million in TIGER funding awarded to rail projects The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released a list of recipients of the nearly $500 million in available Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. Rail will benefit from eight projects that were awarded $96.54 million in grant funding. USDOT says the primary selection criteria for TIGER awards include considerations for safety, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, quality of life and environmental sustainability for each project. Secondary criteria include innovation and partnerships. “TIGER grants are targeted investments for our local communities that will increase safety, create jobs and modernize our country’s infrastructure,” said USDOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao. A run down of the rail and rail related projects include: • Baltimore County, Md., will receive $20 million to Baltimore County in Maryland to help TradePoint Atlantic redevelop the

former Sparrows Point steel mill site. • The North Carolina Department of Transportation will receive a $19.9 million grant to grade separate Blue Ridge Road from the North Carolina Railroad. • New Mexico’s Colfax County was awarded a $16 million grant to replace segments of aging rail line on which Amtrak’s Southwest Chief operates. The grant will fund critical repair work in New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado. • The Indiana Department of Transportation was awarded a $10 million grant to rebuild approaches to the Maunie Railroad Bridge in Posey County. The grant will cover half of the estimated $20 million project price tag. • The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will use a $9.9 million grant toward a $16.5 million program to reconstruct the 114-year old North Canadian River Bridge in order to handle 286,000-pound railcars.

• The city of Spokane Valley, Wash., will use its $9 million TIGER grant to eliminate two at-grade rail crossings. • The city of Forth Smith, Ark., will receive approximately $8.5 million to repair and rehabilitate three rail bridges that cross Clear Creek and the Arkansas River. • Clearwater County in Idaho will receive $3.24 million grant for the repair of the Jaype to Lewiston rail line, which has been inactive since 2001. While not included in the total, a $18.2 million grant to the New Jersey Department of Transportation will replace a road bridge over two rail lines. However, the geometry changes made to the new bridges will benefit freight movement on the rail lines below, as well as facilitate future passenger rail service. The FY18 spending bill that was recently signed by the president tripled the available funds for the TIGER program, which will now have $1.5 billion appropriated for the next round of grants.

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Industry today

People The American Public Transportation Association appointed C a p i t o l H i l l v e t e r a n Wa r d W. McCarragher as vice president of Government Affairs. Brian Jeffrey has joined BOURQUE LOGISTICS as part of the firm’s railyard systems team. CSX CORPORATION appointed Angela Williams as vice president and controller, succeeding Andrew Glassman. DEWBERRY added Steven H. Santoro, formerly executive director of New Jersey Transit, as the firm’s new director of rail and transit. Chris Aadnesen is retiring as executive chairman of the GEORGETOWN RAIL E Q UI P MEN T COM PA N Y b o a r d o f directors, following a long industr y career and 15 years at GREX. Jeffrey A. Parker gained unanimous approval from the ME TROPOLITAN ATLANTA RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITY

Board of Directors for his appointment as the authority’s new general manager and chief executive officer. NORFOLK SOUTHERN announced that its board of directors has elected Michael R. McClellan and Claude E. “Ed” Elkins to new positions of responsibility, effective April 1. McClellan will serve as the railroad’s vice president of strategic planning and Elkins will be vice president industrial products. PROTRAN TECHNOLOGY, a division of H a rsco Ra i l, h a s ta p p e d Ky l ey Holmstrom to serve as the company’s director of sales. RAILPROS FIELD SERVICES appointed Stewart Spicer as Canadian Pacific field supervisor, a role in which he will super vise all aspects of the RWIC Operations. David Timmons was also appointed to a new role as manager of rules training for the RWIC team. Maureen Markey was appointed

as the director of membership and c o m m u n i c a ti o n s fo r th e R A ILWAY SUPPLY INSTITUTE. SASSER FAMILY HOLDINGS, INC., named Susan Buchanan as its new senior vice president and CFO. Ann Dawn Begeman was designated to serve as the permanent chairman of th e SUR FACE TR ANS PORTATION BOARD March 19 by President Trump. She has been acting chairman since January 2017. TRIME T G e n e ra l M a n a g e r D o u g Kelsey selected Roland Hoskins to serve as the company’s executive director of maintenance operations. J oh n H arrison transition e d to a different role at WILLAMETTE VALLEY COMPANY after serving for 30 years as CEO and president. He will remain CEO and continue serving as a board member. John Murray was chosen as the company’s new president.

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NRC Chairman’s Column

Next: NRC auction and summer construction season


We will—if not already in the southern half of the country—soon be in peak construction season. It appears that this construction season will be an active one.

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

ith an extremely successful January conference and Railroad Day on Capitol Hill behind us, we now turn our focus toward the annual NRC Railroad Construction and Maintenance Equipment auction and the upcoming construction season. The auction is fast approaching – it’s April 26 in Lonoke, Ark., hosted by Blackmon Auctions. If you have surplus equipment to sell, please sign up and list the equipment now. You can sign up at or by contacting the auctioneer Thomas Blackmon, Jr., directly at (501) 664-4526 or If you are interested in buying equipment, please fill out the form at auction to register, although you can in fact just show up and start buying! It’s a great place to be and to see old friends, make new ones, kick some tires and put your finger on the pulse of the used MOW equipment market. In a conversation I had recently with NRC Auction Committee Chairman Danny Brown, he mentioned he is concerned about this not being a banner year for the auction. Let’s prove him wrong! To that point, please take a look at your surplus equipment and let’s get it to the auction. Again, the 2018 NRC Rail Construction and Maintenance Equipment Auction will be held on April 26 at Blackmon Auctions, 425 Blackmon Road, Lonoke, Ark. For equipment consigned to the auction, a small sellers and buyers fee goes to the NRC Safety, Training, and Education Programs. For equipment donated, it’s 100 percent of the proceeds. These programs support some of the NRC’s most important activities, such as the production of the two new safety videos each year. Video #23 on “Fatigue” and Video #24 about “Recognizing Signs and Symptoms” debuted in January. For the latest information, visit or nrc-rail-equipment-auction. The education program also encompasses the NRC’s annual scholarship efforts (http://www. and

our education grant program (http://www. We also encourage everyone in town for the auction to join us for the Happy Hour and social event that will be held the night before on April 25 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott Little Rock Downtown. It is always a wonderful time to catch up with friends and colleagues and discuss the equipment that will be available the following day. We will—if not already in the southern half of the country—soon be in peak construction season. It appears that this construction season will be an active one. RFPs are hitting the streets daily and the Quotes and Proposal teams are working long hours. As the construction season gathers steam, please put safety at the forefront in everything you do. Please take advantage of the NRC safety programs that are available at no cost to all our member companies. As we all know, it must be “Safety First” every second, every minute and every hour of every day. It is critical that each employee goes home at the end of the day in the same physical condition that they started the day in. Also, make sure all your equipment is operational, wellmaintained, and in safe working order. Finally, I wish everyone a safe and successful month. And don’t forget to save the date for the next NRC Conference: Jan. 6 – 9, 2019, at the J. W. Marriott Resort in Marco Island, Fla. Put it in your calendar now.

Mike Choat NRC Chairman

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 9


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Hybrid composite beam span bridges under test in revenue service TTCI aims to find cost-efficient, easy-to-install replacement options for aging bridges. by Duane Otter, Anna M. Rakoczy and David Linkowski, Transportation Technology Center, Inc.


ransportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), continues to evaluate advanced materials and designs for bridge spans with a goal of finding cost-effective replacement components for aging bridges that can be installed efficiently. The hybrid composite beam (HCB) uses concrete, steel and fiberglass components, offering a possible alternative for some bridges. Aging timber spans in North America are often replaced with precast, pre-stressed concrete. Typically,

Figure 1: HCB span on the BNSF

Figure 2: Cross section showing instrumentation locations on the bottom of the HCB span.

12 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

a concrete span 25-30 feet in length replaces two timber spans. Longer concrete spans tend to be too heavy to handle with the on-track cranes owned by most railroads. This article presents test results from two revenue service installations and provides an update on the implementation of HCB spans. As this new bridge technology continues to be tested in revenue service, TTCI, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and BNSF Railway (BNSF) intend to quantify the performance of the HCB spans periodically. The HCB span is designed to be used as a 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 replacement of timber spans rather than the 2-for-1 replacement commonly used for concrete replacement spans. The BNSF 42-foot HCB span replaced three 14-foot timber spans. The CP 33-foot HCB span replaced a steel girder span. Initial proof testing of the HCB spans has been performed at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) near Pueblo, Colo. TTCI has tested a 13-meter (42-foot) professionally produced HCB span designed and built for BNSF.1 This span is comprised of two half-span pieces with a 5-inch concrete deck. Each half-span piece has three HCB cells. The overall height of the span is about 40 inches, less ballast curb. Railroad bridge engineers challenged the HCB designers to keep the weight of the 42-foot span comparable to the weight of a conventional 30-foot pre-stressed concrete span in order to handle it with existing on-track cranes. The ballast curb is made of pre-fabricated modular polymer concrete panels bolted to steel supports. This ballast curb is significantly lighter than a conventional reinforced concrete ballast curb used on typical prestressed concrete spans. The polymer concrete ballast curbs provided much of the desired weight reduction for this span. They could also be used on pre-stressed concrete or steel spans. The HCB span was tested at FAST for 244 million gross tons (mgt) to establish baseline performance. No degradation in measured performance was noted during that period. After this initial proof testing, the 42-foot HCB span was removed from

TTCI r&d

FAST and returned to BNSF for use in revenue service. Revenue service testing on BNSF BNSF installed the HCB span on a mainline in southeastern Colorado, which is shown in Figure 1. At approximately 60 mgt per year, traffic is primarily coal, grain and mixed freight. Measurements were taken in 2016 and 2017 to quantify the revenue service behavior and included strains and deflections at mid-span. Figure 2 shows a cross sectional view of the strain gauge locations. The gauges are located near the center of each cell. Data was captured for five loaded coal trains (#1-5) and one grain train (#6) during the collection period. Vertical deflections were measured near the center of each half-span (cells 2 and 5). As seen in Figure 3, the maximum deflection under trains recorded was about 14 mm or approximately two-thirds of the AREMA-recommended maximum of 20 mm for this span. Strains were reasonably uniform across all six cells of the HCB, indicating good load distribution, which is shown in Figure 4. Maximum strains recorded were typically around 300 microstrain under the loaded 286,000-pound cars. This is slightly less than what was recorded when the bridge was at FAST under 315,000-pound cars. Maximum stress in the steel tendons is ~9 ksi at this strain level (compared to ~270 ksi ultimate strength). Revenue Service Testing on CP Shown in Figure 5, CP installed a 33-foot HCB span on a mainline in southern British Columbia.2 Totalling about 60 mgt per year, traffic is primarily coal, grain, potash and mixed freight. The performance of this HCB span in revenue service was also measured, focusing on mid-span performance. This included vertical deflections from each half-section and, similarly to the BNSF span with strain gauges oriented longitudinally on the bottom of each half-section, centered beneath the HCB cells. Data was collected under revenue service unit trains of grain, coal and potash; typically loaded to 286,000 pounds per car. Maximum deflections recorded were just under 7.5 mm (0.3 inch) or approximately half of the AREMA recommended maximum of 15 mm (0.6 inch) for this span, which is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 3: Mid-span displacement of BNSF HCB for revenue service unit trains.

Figure 4: Average bending strain peaks of BNSF HCB for various trains.

Figure 5: HCB span on CP’s line in southern British Columbia.

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 13


Strains were fairly uniform across all six cells of the HCB, indicating reasonably good distribution of the load, which is shown in Figure 7. The load distribution is a function of track structure and placement, ballast depth, superstructure deck and fabrication of the HCBs. It appears the system is working well at this point. Maximum strains recorded were typically around 350 microstrains. Maximum stress in the steel tendons is ~10 ksi at this strain level (compared to ~270 ksi ultimate strength). Summary TTCI’s testing at FAST and in revenue service finds that the HCB span technology is viable for use in railway bridges in North America. Specific conclusions from this testing include: • The new HCB spans have not shown any change in structural performance to date in heavy-haul service of about 180 mgt on CP and 120 mgt on BNSF (after 244 mgt at FAST). To date, no maintenance has been required. • An innovative, lightweight, modular polymer concrete ballast curb has not shown any change in structural performance. • A typical HCB span weighs about 60 percent of a similar length pre-stressed concrete span. • The reduced span weight has allowed for HCB use in a situation where crane capacity limitations precluded the use of pre-stressed concrete. The HCB is a viable alternative to steel for such spans. • Maximum deflection was 50–70 percent of the AREMA recommended maximum. • The recorded strains indicate uniform load distribution and stresses near predicted levels in the steel pre-stressing tendons. Conclusion The revenue service tests on two HCB spans indicate that, to date, the spans are performing structurally as intended. Maximum deflections are less than the AREMA recommended maximums. The recorded strains indicate uniform load distribution in the spans. Acknowledgments The authors thank BNSF Railway for the loan of the span and their support; in particular, Craig Rasmussen, Steve Millsap (retired) and Ron Berry. The authors also thank Canadian Pacific 14 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

Figure 6: Average displacement of the CP HCB span for various trains.

Figure 7: Average bending strain peaks of the CP HCB span for various trains.

Railway for the company’s support; in particular, John Unsworth. The authors also thank John Hillman and Mike Zicko of HC Bridges, LLC, for their technical support on this project. References 1. Otter, D. “Preliminary Assessment of a

Second-Generation Hybrid Composite Beam Span at FAST.” November 2012. Railway Track & Structures, pp. 14-16. 2. Hillman, J.R., Unsworth, J.F., and Otter, D. “HCB Railroad Bridges – From Proof of Concept to Revenue Service.” September 2015. Proceedings, AREMA Annual Technical Conference, Minneapolis, Minn.

Materials Handling

Custom Truck One Source’s Workhorse X1 Railcar Mover works in the yard.

It’s handled: Integrated systems

keep materials moving Suppliers deliver various equipment options for railroads to manage their materials as they move along the rights-of-way. By Kyra Senese, managing editor


ailroads continue to rely on industry suppliers to provide machines that can quickly handle materials for the rights-of-way in effective and cost-saving ways, as manufacturers remain focused on offering versatile machines to streamline processes. Custom Truck One Source This year, the company has introduced its new Workhorse X1 Railcar Mover, according to Tim Minor, railroad sales operations manager. “The Workhorse X1 is a versatile piece of work equipment that is designed to move railcars on track and has the ability to travel between locations at highway speeds,” Minor explained. He said the Workhorse X1 allows customers to move empty and loaded railcars at multiple locations, eliminating the need for expensive switcher locomotives. During on-rail use, power is supplied to

the Workhorse X1 from an auxiliary engine and 100 percent of the weight is carried on the hydrostatic drive railgear bogies, Minor said, which provides a reliable tractive effort when moving railcars. “Maintenance intervals have been greatly reduced because our patented design does not rely on the chassis transmission, clutch or tires for power when pulling railcars,” Minor said. As for the state of the market, Minor says the contractor market is busy, creating tight work windows. He added that there is a shortage of equipment throughout the railway industry. Among the challenges faced this year, Minor notes that chassis and equipment lead times grew considerably longer in early 2018, making quick delivery dates difficult to meet. “We keep a large variety of work-ready trucks and equipment that are available for purchase, rent or lease to support our

customers with urgent needs,” Minor said. “Custom builds are always an option for those unique or innovative requests.” GREX Georgetown Rail Equipment Company (GREX) recently launched its GateSync 2.0, which Nate Bachman, vice president marketing and sales, said is a complete redesign of the previous GateSync generation. “GateSync 2.0 adds wireless carto-car communication, which expands ballast train length capabilities regardless of track curvature, terrain or weather,” Bachman said. The wireless communication between cars is intended to enhance flexibility and capability, allowing each car to communicate with the surrounding cars and perform immediate diagnostics. In the event of individual car failure, the system is designed to detect the inoperable car, skip that car and perform a April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 15

Materials Handling

seamless unloading, Bachman said. GateSync 2.0 is meant to maximize train length and boost performance, enabling railroads to improve the cost-per-ton delivered and streamlining car maintenance, he explained. Bachman said the company has also launched the Aurora Tie Marking solution. “Tie marking has always been a subjective process that is very tedious and often requires a multitude of equipment and manpower,” Bachman said. Aurora Tie Marking is intended to allow railroads to identify and paint the exact ties called for replacement at speeds of up to 12 mph, he said. “The new system will compare real-time Aurora data with the previously scanned AuroraXi data and paint the ties identified for replacement,” Bachman said. The ability of Aurora Tie Marking to correctly identify ties based on the original AuroraXi scan means railroads can streamline and simplify tie programs, Bachman explained. “There is a lot of potential for savings

in paint, incorrectly marked ties and the reduction of railroad equipment, in addition to reducing prematurely replaced ties,” Bachman said. Echoing Minor, Bachman also said work windows are tight this year.

The path to developing new products is never a straight line. “Maximizing every opportunity on track is key to being successful,” he said. “Budgets are fluid, but there seems to be much more activity planned than what we had seen in the past couple years.” Bachman said the company is continuing its focus on driving down injuries and expenses. “GREX has focused its product


F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N , P L E A S E C O N TA C T:

16 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018


development in areas that aligned with these customer priorities,” he said. In early February of 2018, Loram completed its acquisition of GREX. Bachman said the partnership merges two complementary teams and product portfolios. “This year is going to offer an exciting opportunity for collaboration and the development of new products and solutions,” Bachman said. One of the biggest challenges GREX faces is trying to stay ahead of the curve on product development, Bachman added. “Whether it is our DumpTrain for Curves or the newest Aurora offerings, we are looking at new ways to solve old problems,” Bachman explained. “The path to developing new products is never a straight line.” Herzog Railroad Services, Inc. Ryan Crawford, manager of ballast operations at Herzog Railroad Services, Inc., (HRSI), highlights the Rail Unloading Machine (RUM) and Automated Tie-down Car (ATC) for their continued usefulness in

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unloading rail. Both machines are equipped to operate independently, but the company says they work best together. The RUM can unload most conventionalwelded rail trains, with a minor modification to the tunnel car, if needed. Using two Herzog operators, the RUM can be safely operated from a climate-controlled cab and can be set up in under 20 minutes, Crawford said. The RUM can unload up to 16 rails per hour in out-of-face scenarios when coupled with the rail train. In out-of-face environments, the RUM can place rails end to end, eliminating the need to place joint bars on the rails and tie up personnel behind the train removing plates. Tie-down clamps can be opened or closed in seconds by a remote control from within the RUM operator’s cab. The need for a compressor, air hoses or impact wrench on the tie-down car is eliminated, leaving railroad personnel free to perform other maintenance-of-way tasks. The ATC clamps provide more than


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Materials Handling

Loram’s Raptor Rail Handling System is designed to cut the risk of injury by retaining total control of the rail while loading and unloading, the company said.

double the clamping security during transit compared to conventional tie-down mechanisms, Crawford said. Loram Scott Diercks, director of marketing and business development for Loram, says traditional rail handling equipment relies on aging technology and struggles to meet current demands. “As railroads look to renew their rail

handling fleets, they seek to address concerns of their antiquated equipment focusing towards greater production efficiencies and improved employee safety,” Diercks said. Loram’s Raptor Rail Handling System provides a solution that Diercks says is more productive and safer to use than other technology options. “While picking up an average of 3,000 feet of trackside rail per hour, the Raptor

out-performs traditional rail handling systems with twice the production ability and the capacity to accommodate larger rail sizes,” Diercks said. Loram’s Raptor is designed to cut the risk of injury by retaining total control of the rail while loading and unloading, reducing the human interactions required and providing safe and controlled work areas for cutting and joining, Diercks said. The lifecycle of railroad rail includes four primary logistical components: transport of rail from steel mill or ship to a welding plant; delivery of continuous welded rail from a plant to a trackside location; pick-up of relay rail for reuse or re-welding, and the pick-up and disposition of scrap rail, Diercks explained. “The Raptor accommodates specific needs by offering a solution for every process of rail relay as opposed to a system focused solely on rail delivery,” Diercks said. The Raptor’s modular design is meant to easily adapt to a family of machines that provides service in any of the four areas while incorporating design features that anticipate future expected changes in rail size and long rail delivery needs. Diercks said the Raptor’s strengths lie in its lower manpower requirements and safety improvements compared to traditional units. He also notes that it has undergone productivity improvements and value-added rail quality enhancements following the elimination of torch cutting the ends and by providing drilled

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18 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

Materials Handling

V&H Trucks said the company strives to always have a variety of trucks ready for customers in its Work Ready Fleet.

bolt holes. Diercks said these improvements are expected to improve relay gang effectiveness, as well. In addition, Diercks said the Raptor is equipped with a top-load design to assist in rail rolling and welding as processes evolve. V&H Inc., Trucks V&H Inc., Trucks, recently introduced its third drive system, says Steve Holtgraver, director of railroad sales for V&H Inc. The new system is a creep drive that uses the Poclain gearbox integrated with V&H’s 7-inch monitor in the crow’s nest, Holtgraver says. “[The new system] gives the customer another option and price point to choose from,” Holtgraver said. V&H also offers a second line of log

loaders with the Palfinger Epsilon, which it debuted in 2016. “The Epsilon has a few features that are different than the competition and gives us another tool to offer to customers,” Holtgraver said. Customer work windows and budgets are still tight, he said. “I think in this industry they always will be,” Holtgraver said. “For this reason, V&H strives to always have a variety of trucks built and ready for the customer in our Work Ready Fleet.” As for other challenges faced, Holtgraver notes the constant need for safety at work. “It’s an ongoing battle to always make sure that the men and women working out there are doing so in the safest manner and V&H is always looking at ways we can help

improve safety on our trucks,” he said. To boost safety, Holtgraver said V&H offers safety courses which companies can send their employees to. He said the company offers on-site trainings which entail V&H representatives visiting customer locations, and the company also provides safety training through webcasts and on the V&H website. Though the railroad market has been slower during the past year, Holtgraver said the size of V&H and the markets the company covers has enabled the company to keep busy. “Through it all we have been here to help our customers, as we always plan to do,” Holtgraver said. “Others may come and go but you can always count on V&H to be here for years after you buy your truck.”

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April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 19


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ARCH Striking a balance between innovative construction and quality partnerships helped in the construction of the Portageville Bridge. By Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor


he first Norfolk Southern (NS) train to traverse the new Portageville Bridge during the afternoon of Dec. 11, 2017, not only represented the unlocking of new capacity along a key route, but also the culmination of partnerships that stretched back a decade. The bridge, which spans the Genesee River Gorge in Letchworth State Park, has

22 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018


been a critical link to New York’s Southern Tier region since the original timber structure opened in 1852. When that structure was destroyed by fire in 1875, the Erie Railroad Company, which owned the bridge, replaced it with an iron viaduct. The iron structure underwent strengthening efforts in 1903 and the mid 1940s, but train weights from the early 20th century versus modern trains are drastically different. The bridge was speed restricted to 10 mph and weight restricted to 273,000 lbs. by the time Norfolk Southern took possession of it as part of the Conrail acquisition in 1999. Howard Swanson, assistant chief engineer bridges and structures at NS, explained that the railroad had been looking to replace the Portageville Bridge for a long time, due to the bridge’s location on the railroad’s

shortest route between New England and the Midwest through Buffalo, N.Y. In 2007, NS and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) entered into an agreement to perform an engineering and environmental study to look at possible replacement options for the bridge. A number of alternative designs were considered including a viaduct, like the old structure, and a continuous deck truss with a center pier, but these were both rejected due to the need for a pier or piers to be placed in the middle of the river. Additionally, the railroad looked into alternate routes that would have allowed easier crossings of the Genesee River, but a spandrelbraced arch constructed 75 feet south of the existing bridge was determined to be the most cost-effective option.

All Photos: Norfolk Southern Railway



The gray structural primer on the connection plates will be painted to match the rest of the bridge this summer. The bridge’s color, Tuscan Orange, was selected by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation per an agreement the railroad had with the state.

Between 2007 and 2014, NS, along with assistance from NYSDOT and bridge engineers Modjeski and Masters, went through the environmental and design processes and completed the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Swanson explains that once all permitting was complete, the project picked up steam with construction beginning in late 2015. While the new bridge opened to traffic two years later, the railroad still has a few polishing steps to perform through the summer of 2018 before the project is marked as complete. Challenges Swanson explains that concerns about the impact on the environment influenced much of the project.

“The area around the bridge supports a number of different types of wildlife. We had time restrictions on cutting trees due to bats. There were noise limitations due to a nearby eagle’s nest. We also had to ensure that an endangered species of rattlesnake did not get into the project site. This was accomplished through the use of special rattlesnake fencing,” said Swanson. The project site also has historic significance with ruins of a Civil War era hotel that required preservation, as did portions of the old iron Portageville Bridge, which will be incorporated into a display at Letchworth State Park. Even with the wildlife mitigation and historic preservation steps factored in, Swanson says the biggest hurdle faced by the railroad was securing the needed agreements for the project to progress. Swanson explains that $10 million of the $75-million project cost came from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds, which required an EIS. “Obtaining the land required for the project required a complex Memorandum of Understanding between many parties. Putting all of the agreements in place to start construction was likely the biggest challenge Norfolk Southern faced with this project,” said Swanson. “Norfolk Southern’s legal and government relations departments did excellent work.” There were also design considerations that had to be factored into the project. Due to double stack trains along the Southern Tier, the bridge was designed for higher wind loads than what is advised in the AREMA Manual of Recommended Practices. Additionally, the arch is narrower than many of the spandrel arches constructed for railroad usage, due to the proximity to the existing bridge and the limitations of the pockets in the gorge walls. Swanson says the narrow width of the arch greatly affected the design of the lateral bracing. He explains that the arch was designed for additional thermal stress because both vertical and horizontal loads needed to be transmitted through the foundations; making the use of expansion bearings to relieve thermal stresses impossible. Construction techniques Swanson notes that the arch structure worked well for the project’s unique location in that it was the most cost effective, as well as aesthetically pleasing solution. The location didn’t strongly influence what kind

of span was built, but it did influence how it was built. Swanson explains that the foundations of an arch had to be able to support high vertical and horizontal forces. “The gorge walls provided a good location to build the type of foundation required for an arch. The only problem was that the rock on the surface of the gorge was very weak and weathered,” he said. “Also, the ratio of height to length on an arch is higher than most types of structures. In most cases, the river crossing is low enough that the height required makes an arch impractical. Due to the depth of the gorge, the additional height required for an arch was an asset.” Swanson said to reach suitable rock for the foundations, skewback pockets were built in to the gorge walls by blasting out the rock in benches (vertical layers). “The road from the Portageville entrance to Letchworth State Park passed over the west skewback. The road was taken out of service as construction started in 2016,” explained Swanson. “The procedure would be to lower equipment down to the bench and drill holes to establish a perimeter break line and for explosives. The equipment would be lifted out of the hole and the explosives loaded. The rock would be broken with explosives and lifted out.” Crews controlled the amount of explosives and sequence in order to limit vibrations on the adjacent bridge. Swanson notes that had the old bridge been made of plaster, it would not have cracked due to crews adherence to the vibration levels.

Portageville Bridge by the numbers 963 feet long and 235 feet high 1.246 million pounds of structural steel in approach spans 7.348 million pounds of structural steel in arch span 16,278 CY of rock removed for the skewbacks 1,995 CY of mass placement structural concrete in the piers and skewbacks

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 23

Work on the arch’s center span; more than 200 feet above the river.

It took months to get the skewback pockets to the correct elevation and reach good rock. Each skewback foundation had more than 300 cubic yards of concrete in it, which required a cooling system to prevent cracking. The piers for the approach spans were also being constructed at the same time as the skewback pockets. Swanson said the piers and abutments are founded on micropiling and also required a cooling system due to the mass placement of concrete. This was accomplished with an innovative twist by using corrugated metal pipes as cooling chimneys. Behind the abutments, anchorages were constructed for the tie back system that was needed to erect the arch and by the end of 2016, both abutments, four piers and the east skewback foundations were complete. The west skewback was completed early in 2017. The approach spans were set in late 2016. The bearings for the arch were set in early 2017 and the erection of the arch began. A structural triangle was created using temporary falsework to set the first section of the bottom chord (L0L1) of the arch, the vertical post, as well as the diagonal between the U0 and L1 joint. Swanson says a connection for the temporary tie back system was built into the U0 joint of the triangle and cables were attached from the same joint to the tie back anchorage, which allowed the arch to be constructed as two cantilever arms. American Bridge used large ringer cranes, each with a 300-foot boom, to erect the arch. Each massive crane could only construct the arch about a third of the way across the gorge. Rubber-tired cranes were then placed on each end of the cantilever arms to construct the middle portion of the arch, which meant the anchorage system had to carry the weight of the bridge and the rubber-tired cranes. “I’ve been around all sorts of construction projects where we’ve used large cranes, but to see the structure with temporary tie back support and a crane on the end of it building the rest of the bridge, that was an oh-my-gosh moment and it hit me what a massive and incredible construction project this was,” said Swanson. Closely following the erection of the arch was construction of the f loor system, which has an inspection walkway suspended from it. Swanson says American Bridge created a cradle to support the inspection walkway while the f loor system was installed. This method saved a great deal of work by allowing the full prefabricated walkway to be installed before the f loor system was rather than building the walkway in pieces. A cast in place concrete deck was constructed over the f loor system. Lastly, waterproofing, a drainage system for the deck and handrail made the bridge ready for track. 24 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018


road from the Portageville entrance to Letchworth State Park and returning the old right-of-way to park property through re-vegetation still has to be completed.

Norfolk Southern ran the first train over the new bridge on Dec. 11, 2017, following two years of construction.

In the fall of 2017, a track contractor built the approaches and the track over the bridge. Swanson says jointed rail was laid instead of welded rail due to temperature concerns, but the railroad plans to send a production gang this spring to relay the bridge with welded rail. The old bridge was removed in March and the portions of it for the Letworth State Park display have been preserved. Swanson notes additional tasks such as removing the old bridge piers, constructing a new

Project take aways While Swanson notes the bridge’s color, Tuscan Orange, worked well for this project, it will not be added to Norfolk Southern’s regular black or gray bridge paint palette. However, there are elements of this project that will be applied to or considered for future bridge efforts. Swanson points to two aspects of the project–the use of corrugated metal pipe as cooling chimneys for the mass placement of concrete for the piers and the integration of below deck level inspection walkways–as features that could see use on additional NS bridge projects. He also notes that the relationships that were established and developed during the course of the project between various stakeholders is something that not only contributed to the success of the project, but will also remain after the work crews

are finished. “The best way to illustrate my role in this process was as a conductor in a symphony. There are so many people who have produced command performances,” said Swanson. He explained that the Rail Division of NYSDOT and Modjeski and Masters were an important part of all of the teams throughout the project and he noted the roles Norfolk Southern’s legal and government relations personnel, FHWA, American Bridge and Bergmann Associates all played in turning plans into a reality. “I am proud to be able to work with such great folks,” he said. At the time of the bridge’s opening, James A. Squires, chairman, president and CEO of NS, said, “The successful completion of this bridge is an excellent demonstration of how the public and private sectors can work together on freight transportation projects that generate significant public benefits and are vital to U.S. commerce. It’s also a testament to Norfolk Southern’s robust bridge program and the ingenuity of engineers and railroaders.”

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26 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

Railroad Safety

Industry opinion ON railroad accidents, causes and prevention techniques

A look at recent safety statistics and suggestions for improving them. n-track railroad accidents are safety-related events involving on-track rail equipment causing damage to property and/or people. “Accident/Incident” is the term used to describe the entire list of Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reportable events.3 These include collisions, derailments and other events involving the operation of on-track equipment and causing reportable damage above an established threshold; impacts between railroad on-track equipment and highway users at crossings; and all other incidents or exposures that cause a fatality or injury to any person, or an occupational illness to a railroad employee. Accidents/incidents are divided into three major groups for reporting purposes. These correspond to the FRA forms, e.g., train accidents, highway-rail grade crossing incidents and other incidents. According to FRA and other sources, the leading causes of non-trespasser/nongrade-crossing accidents are operator fatigue, poor maintenance of track and associated infrastructure.2 The modern detection technology and computer simulation analysis can be used to narrow down the root cause of a railroad accident. According to FRA statistics (FY 2017), the main causes of non-crossing, non-trespasser railroad accidents are human factors-37 percent, track defects-28 percent, faulty equipment-14 percent, faulty signaling-3 percent and miscellaneous-18 percent. These railroad accidents can be reduced/ avoided by taking strict preventive and protective measures that minimize technical, human failures and malicious attacks, which involve installing a reliable alarm and security system and regular surveillance of rail installations and equipment. Based on the previous railroad accident investigation reports and findings, a preventive railroad accident plan can be developed and strictly implemented per a railroad organization’s policy. The various innovative accident prevention techniques via better practices and technological tools can

be used to find defects and faults before they reach the catastrophic failure stage. Many of the worst train accidents in history occurred in the early 20th and 21st centuries. Discussion in recent years has focused on the increasing number of accidents, their cause and what action should be taken by the government, the railroads and the employees to reduce incidents and the consequent losses that can result. Believing that if the cause of these many accidents were properly understood, more care would be taken by the corporations, employees and persons at fault to reduce the number. While the goal is to eliminate accidents, efforts should be made through innovative techniques to minimize accidents so that railroad companies can provide reliable service to their customers. Resources saved by the minimization/elimination of railroad accidents can be used for railroad fare reduction and/or system rehabilitation. Train accidents are not uncommon in the United States and, given the unforgiving environment in which trains operate, risks are high.1,9 As a reference, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined

a broken rail to be the cause of a February 2015 derailment of an oil train that resulted in nearly 400,000 gallons of oil being spilled and the evacuation of 1,000 people. Later that same year in May, Amtrak 188 entered a 50 mph curve at more than 100 mph, resulting in eight deaths and 200 injuries. NTSB determined the locomotive engineer’s loss of situational awareness to be the cause of the accident. These examples illustrate two of the three most common causes of accidents: human error and track issues. Prevention; infrastructure protection5,8 Railway accident prevention and protection are key parts of a wider picture of transport safety. The rail sector needs to improve its knowledge of trespassing and suicide, including at level crossings, in order to work out suitable responses by analyzing measures already taken in various countries. FRA data from FY17 shows out of the 760 total fatalities, 514 were classified as trespasser fatalities. Governments, the rail industry and road organizations have been implementing a variety of countermeasures for many years

Total Number of Accidents Vs. Years (2008-2017) Ref: 13,500 13,000 Total Accidents


By Avinash Prasad, PE, LS, PhD(C), and Purnima Prasad, NYU Tandon School of Engineering Student

12,500 12,000 11,500 11,000 10,500 10,000 Year 2008-2017 CY 2008

CY 2009

CY 2010

CY 2011

CY 2012

CY 2013

CY 2014

CY 2015

CY 2016

CY 2017

Table 1: FRA’s table of Total Accidents/Incidents during FY17.3

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 27

Railroad Safety

Train Accident Causes - FY 2017 Source - FRA Equipment 14% HUman Factor 37% Signal 3% Track 28% Miscellaneous 18% Table 2: According to FRA statistics (FY 2017),3 the main causes of railroad accidents are human factors, track defects, faulty equipment, faulty signaling and miscellaneous causes.

to improve railway safety. These actions are substantial and have resulted in a continuing decrease in the number and the severity of accidents. The rail sector needs to ensure its safety against accidents occurring on its property in order to offer continued service and maximum reliability. An important means to achieve this goal is the analysis of the measures already taken in various countries to address these events. The various innovative railroad accident prevention techniques via better practices, technological tools is used to find defects and faults before they reach the catastrophic failure stage.8 The various measures to prevent accidents and ensure safety are Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS). Some of the steps have been taken to avoid collisions due to Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) or over-speeding and to ensure safety. Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) is a radio communication based system with continuous update of movement authority. This system is aimed at preventing train accidents caused due to Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) or nonobservance of speed restrictions by train operators. Signal aspect is also displayed on DMI (Driver Machine Interface) screen inside the locomotive in train system. Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) is a proven Automatic Train Protection System to avoid train accidents on account of human error of Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) or over-speeding. Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) System is another way to minimize railroad accidents. Global snapshot of railway accidents4 Safety has been one of the biggest concerns of the global railroad industry. While the number of accidents has gone down over the past few years, the number still remains high. Across the world, the various causes of rail 28 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

accidents are derailments, unmanned level crossings and consequential train accidents, accidents due to failure of railway staff and accidents due to loco-pilots. Accidents also occur due to signaling errors and underinvestment in the railways leading to accidents. High expansion of rail networks has put undue burden on the existing infrastructure, leading to severe congestion and safety compromises. Further, under-investment in the railways has resulted in congested routes, inability to add new trains, reduction of train speeds and more rail accidents. Therefore, avoiding such accidents in the future would also require significant investments towards capital and maintenance of railway infrastructure. Minimize and prevent accidents 6,7 Railroad companies are advised to prepare and apply for preventive maintenance plans. At the long-term, preventive maintenance plans present lower overall costs than curative/crisis track maintenance. The various preventive cost-effective track maintenance practices to prevent railroad accidents are track switch maintenance, regular track cleaning, rail head maintenance and regular rail profiling, rail welding, pavement sealing, visual track inspection, track recording car/measuring vehicle inspection, non-destructive testing (NDT) of rails, prioritization of maintenance effort based on track condition and track patrolling during unusual hot and cold weather.9 Upgradation of prevention techniques With the increasing pace of changes in the technology, organizations around the world are focused more on cost-effective and value-added technology/research in the field of up-gradation of railroad accident prevention techniques. A broad level of research with adequate funding could be initiated down the road to develop

innovative railroad accident prevention techniques using the concept of risk analysis and operation research principles. The concept of operation research in elimination/minimization of railroad accidents can be used. The objective function is elimination/minimization of railroad accidents. The various constraints could be limitation of resources in modernization of railroad infrastructure, innovation in field of railroad technology to prevent railroad accidents, human errors contributing to railroad accidents, mechanization of railroad operation. The authors are continuing their research on this topic to explore additional facts, which will be published in the future when available. References: 1. Staff. (2010). The First Railroad Accident. Retrieved Nov. 30, 2017, from the-first-railroad-accident. 2. International Civil Defence Organisation Staff. (2017). Retrieved Nov. 30, 2017 from 3. Federal Railroad Administration. (2017). 3.01 - Accident Trends - Summary Statistics. Retrieved Nov. 30, 2017, from publicsite/summary.aspx 4. Mishra, P. (2017, August 29). What Explains the High Number of Railway Accidents? Retrieved Nov. 30, 2017, from railway-safety-accident-derailment/ 5. Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture, David Publishing Company, 2016, p. 96-107. 10.17265/1934-7359/2016.01.010 6. Rodriguez, N. “Maintenance and Refurbishment Agreements.” SP2 –Cost Effective Track Maintenance, Renewal and Refurbishment Methods (2010): 1-23. Technical Program for the Coming 18 Months SP4-Life Cycle Cost WP4.1-4.6. Urban Track Final Conference, 25 June 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. http://www. 7. Laurence, D. E. “Track Maintenance Costs on Rail Transport Properties.” Track Maintenance Costs on Rail Transit Properties (2008): 1-72. Track Maintenance Costs on Rail Transport Properties. Transportation Research Board, Sept. 2008. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_webdoc_43.pdf. 8. Gohain, S. R. Government of India Ministry of Railways (2016, December 9).

Railroad Safety


Measures To Prevent Railway Accidents. Retrieved Nov. 30, 2017, from http://pib.nic. in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=155175 9. DP: Welcome. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2018, from Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials do not reflect the views or policies of MTA-NYCT or RT&S nor do mention of trade names, commercial product or organizations imply endorsement by MTA-NYCT or RT&S. MTA-NYCT and RT&S assume no liability for the content or the use of the materials contained in this document. The authors make no warranties and/or representation regarding the correctness, accuracy and or reliability of the content and/or other material in the paper. The contents of this file are provided on an “as is” basis and without warranties of any kind, are either expressed or implied.

Table 3: A 10-year charting of Total Accidents from FRA’s data for calendar years 2008-2017.3

2014 783 01 RAILROADS REPORTING 02 TOTAL ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS 10,398 651 03 Fatalities 7,550 04 Nonfatal 1,582 05 TRAIN ACCIDENTS 5 06 Fatalities 131 07 Nonfatal 125 08 Collisions 1,097 09 Derailments 360 10 Other 444 11 Track causes 629 12 Human factors 205 13 Equipment causes 43 14 Signal causes 261 15 Misc. causes 896 16 Yard accidents 1,896 17 HIGHWAY-RAIL INCS. 219 18 Fatalities 745 19 Nonfatal 6,920 20 OTHER INCIDENTS 427 21 Fatalities 6,674 22 Nonfatal 10 23 EMPLOYEE FATALITIES 3,881 24 EMPLOYEE NONFATAL 399 25 TRESPASSER FATALITIES 358 26 TRESPASSER NONFATAL

2015 784 10,043 626 7,857 1,652 11 558 115 1,147 390 445 644 236 47 280 989 1,735 194 908 6,656 421 6,391 11 3,762 372 354

2016 793 9,309 649 7,139 1,353 8 382 66 954 333 401 517 199 30 206 758 1,659 229 708 6,297 412 6,049 13 3,398 386 397

Percent Change 2017 798 9,575 760 6,959 1,348 2 195 67 992 289 380 483 192 39 254 750 1,707 217 649 6,520 541 6,115 10 3,470 514 429

2016-17 0.6 2.9 17.1 -2.5 -0.4 -75 -49 1.5 4 -13.2 -5.2 -6.6 -3.5 30 23.3 -1.1 2.9 -5.2 -8.3 3.5 31.3 1.1 -23.1 2.1 33.2 8.1

2014-17 1.9 -7.9 16.7 -7.8 -14.8 -60 48.9 -46.4 -9.6 -19.7 -14.4 -23.2 -6.3 -9.3 -2.7 -16.3 -10 -0.9 -12.9 -5.8 26.7 -8.4 0 -10.6 28.8 19.8

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April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 29

Message From The President Registration is now open

The AREMA 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition is an arena in which rail professionals can present the most recent advances in the various disciplines involved in the railway engineering field. This eve nt provides an exce lle nt op p or tun it y fo r m e m b e rs of the railway industry to increase their railroad knowledge and te c h n i c a l ex p e r ti s e. O bta i n your Professional Development Hours for participating in the confe re n ce (subje c t to yo ur state’s approval). Ad d i ti o n a l l y, th e E x p o s i ti o n brings together a large, diverse group of railway engineering p rofes si o n a l s wh o h a ve th e a u t h o r i t y to b u y p r o d u c t s or advise their companies regarding which products and services to buy. Expect to find new products and solutions from all segments of the industr y: Track, Structures, Passenger and Transit, Maintenance-ofway, Engineering Services and Communications and Signals. The AREMA 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition is the p re m i e re e v e n t f o r ra i l w a y engineering professionals. Join AREMA in the Windy City, Sept. 16–19, 2018, at the Hilton Chicago. Please visit for more information.

30 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018


pring forward. . . For me, the increased number of days spent cycling outside as opposed to indoors is a sure sign spring is finally here. As you may assume, outdoor riding is always preferable to being indoors. Those with rail maintenance backgrounds know railroaders are always prepared for spring to arrive. Railroads that have endured the harsh winter begin to make improvements. Railroad maintenance teams are experts in hardening their infrastructure after severe winters and locations suffering from winter’s stresses are identified and prioritized. The highest volume of work performed by railroads involves maintaining infrastructure. Diverse geography, climates and weather extremes across the networks present different infrastructure maintenance challenges. Understanding the overall health and condition of the infrastructure built to handle the heavy-axle-load (HAL) environment is critical to maintaining the railroad. Evidence-based assessment processes are used to quantify the condition of the infrastructure as it is repaired or renewed with system and maintenance gangs. Surfacing is one tool used by the maintenance teams to maintain the rideability and quality of the track. Three types of surfacing used by the railroads include production, maintenance and spot. An important objective is to reduce surfacing requirements and speed restrictions on the railroad. Surfacing life cycles are generally between six months and six years. The challenge for maintenance professionals is to reduce the impact of chronic locations. This requires understanding the root cause of these locations.

One of the most frequent issues for mainline track is maintaining chronic locations involving track transitions. Differential track settlement on transitions can occur due to differences in track settlement, track stiffness and damping. Track transition issues may generate dynamic impacts, which accelerate track degradation and shorten component life. In addition, track transitions at bridge approaches, road crossings and special track worksites can develop into chronic maintenance problems. Controlling rail neutral temperature (RNT) is a critical component in the maintenance process. Although this is a year-round process, railroads emphasize reducing the risk of track buckles during the spring. A track buckle is a lateral misalignment that occurs when the track structure can no longer resist the compressive forces that have built-up, resulting in a relief of these built-up forces. Maintenance experience indicates buckles are caused by one or more of the following:  igh compressive forces in the rail •H resulting from thermal, mechanical or RNT •W  eakened track structure due to reduced track resistance and alignment defects  ynamic loading of trains, such as •D dynamic uplift, high-axle-loads (lateral/ vertical), braking and traction loads •V  ariation in the RNT, which equates to the longitudinal force in the rail. When the RNT is reduced, the longitudinal force in the rail increases, causing a reduction in the track’s buckling temperature •T  rack lateral resistance is reduced after the track structure has been disturbed •L  ateral track geometry alignment deviations •T  rack curvature Many maintenance processes are performed that can impact the RNT and set up conditions prone to track buckling. When repairing the track infrastructure, be aware of the processes that impact or reduce the buckling strength. Maintenance teams do not always know the RNT and have to be prepared to handle issues such as high thermal forces or reduced RNT if they are present. Maintenance processes and train operations can weaken the track lateral resistance, as well. Maintenance teams also face the

challenge of increasing the track ballast lateral strength, reducing lateral track geometry alignment issues and trainloads and dynamic aspects cover several vehicle/ track interaction-related influences. The objective for the maintenance teams is to understand and reduce buckling potential. The AREMA staff is diligently pursuing their spring work, going through the mountain of details to successfully pull off this year’s AREMA Annual Conference & Exposition. The staff is always very professional and represents AREMA well

as they collaborate with the Chicago site representatives. The conference will be held in Chicago, Ill., from Sept. 16–19. Under Senior Vice President Jim Kessler’s leadership, the functional group leaders have developed a strong program for the AREMA 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition. Stacy Spaulding always does an excellent job working through the program with the team, and I want to thank her for that. I recently saw a draft for the upcoming conference and the program looks very strong. The program features a variety of

topics pertinent to the best practices of railway maintenance, which is sure to be of interest to railroaders of all disciplines and positions. That makes this a very good reason to attend the meeting. In addition, a fun Spouse/Guest program is in the works, which will make a visit to Chicago interesting for your significant other or guest. As you begin your planning for more outdoor activities for this spring— whether for railroad maintenance or leisure, be sure to put this year’s conference on your calendar.

Upcoming Committee Meetings April 22 Committee 6 Building & Support Facilities Philadelphia, PA

September 15-16 Committee 24 Education & Training Chicago, IL

April 23-24 Committee 14 Yards & Terminals Sandusky, OH

Committee 5 - Track Chicago, IL

May 15-16 Committee 15 Steel Structures New York, NY May 17-18 Committee 30 - Ties Urbana-Champaign, IL May 24 Committee 9 - Seismic Design for Railway Stuctures Chicago, IL June 1 Committee 10 - Structures, Maintenance & Construction St. Louis, MO June 22-23 Committee 24 Education & Training Salt Lake City, UT September 15 Committee 27 - Maintenance of Way Work Equipment Chicago, IL

September 16 Committee 18 - Light Density & Short Line Railways Chicago, IL Committee 10 - Structures, Maintenance & Construction Chicago, IL Committee 33 Electric Energy Utilization Chicago, IL Committee 40 Engineering Safety Chicago, IL Committee 14 Yards & Terminals Chicago, IL Committee 17 High Speed Rail Systems Chicago, IL Committee 11 - Commuter & Intercity Rail Systems Chicago, IL Committee 16 Economics of Railway

Engineering & Operations Chicago, IL Committees 11 and 17 Joint Meeting Chicago, IL Committee 12 Rail Transit Chicago, IL Committee 41 Track Maintenance Chicago, IL September 17 Committee 13 Environmental Chicago, IL September 19-20 Committee 39 Positive Train Control Chicago, IL Committee 38 Information, Defect Detection & Energy Systems Chicago, IL October 23-24 Committee 15 Steel Structures Orlando, FL November 11 Committee 6 Building & Support Facilities California

If you’d like to learn more about the AREMA Technical Committees and would like to get involved, please contact Alayne Bell at For a complete list of all committee meetings, visit Negotiated airline discount information for AREMA Committee meetings can be found online

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 31

History of AREMA’s Committee 24 Education and Training By Charley Chambers, Hanson Professional Services Inc., and Cassie Gouger, Union Pacific Railroad


Committee 24 members at JAXPORT during its Winter 2017 Meeting

n 1924, the first meeting of the Cooperative Relations with Universities Committee occurred. The 1924 report stated: “The committee was created as a result of a steadily increasing desire within the association and responsive suggestions from leading universities for a better and more reciprocal relation between the institutions of higher learning and the vast transportation agencies constituting the North American railway system.” It’s amazing how these words still ring true to the mission of the current Committee 24: to utilize the combined knowledge of industry professionals to develop educational and training resources for current and future railway engineering community members in the design, construction and maintenance of safe and efficient railway infrastructure. Fast-forward a few decades to when Committee 24 was officially named in the 1960s. The committee enabled academia members of the American Railway Engineering Association (AREA), one of 32 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

AREMA’s predecessor associations, to have face-to-face meetings with Class 1 railroads’ chief engineers. There were many professors on various AREA committees, but they did not have an organized way to interact with the chief engineers. The chief engineers, on the other hand, had the opportunity to relay what they thought the universities should have in their curriculum to produce good civil engineers with some railroad background. In 1971, Committee 24 consisted of 19 chief engineers or assistant chief engineers, 21 professors and five leaders in the railway supply industry. The chairmanship rotated every two years between a chief engineer and a professor. The committee met once per year following the annual conference, and the meetings lasted for about two to four hours to cover committee assignments. The assignments then were not much different than Committee 24’s present day assignments. The following is a list of the assignments from that era:

• Assignment 1 – Recruiting » The subcommittee prepared a report that listed the engineers each railroad hired. The information was published in the AREA bulletin. • Assignment 2 – Summer Employment » Committee 24 had a service to route applications through the committee and the railroad would select their summer help from that list. As employment in the railroads slipped (eight students in 1973 and nine students in 1974), the assignment was dropped by the committee. • Assignment 3 – Student Cooperative Programs » In the early 1970s, very few railroads had a cooperative program. The railroads that had programs were not interested in using Committee 24’s services and the assignment was dropped. • Assignment 4 – Student Affiliates » This assignment is the same as the present AREMA Student Member program, however, the cost in the 1970s was $5 per year, and the student received Modern Railroads magazine. • Assignment 5 – Continuing Education » This assignment compiled a list of continuing education programs available to the engineers working for a railroad. The list was published in the AREA bulletin. • Assignment 6 – Speakers » This assignment has not changed throughout the years. The subcommittee sent a letter to accredited universities saying that AREA had a list of available speakers willing to present a lecture. • Assignment 7 – Project Case Studies » This assignment is the same as our present assignment Case Study Library. Like today, the committee had struggled to obtain good case studies from the railroads that could be used in college transportation courses. No case studies were ever collected. Just before the formation of AREMA, Committee 24 had changed its makeup in 1997; it was not just chief engineers

and professors who were involved. Chief engineers were very busy and appointed their top staff personnel to join Committee 24 as their liaisons. It was the era of railroad mergers and consolidation, therefore there were fewer railroad companies represented on the committee. The railroads also were not hiring as many engineers, so there were fewer professors teaching railroad-related subjects at universities. In late 1997, AREMA was formed from AREA, Roadmasters and Maintenance of Way Association (RMWA) and the American Railway Bridge and Building Association (ARB&B). Most all of the old AREA committees were retained, but Committee 24 was unique. • The education side was the old AREA Committee 24 • The Roadmasters’ Training Committee was dovetailed into the training side of the committee • The only committee to have two vice chairman Many of the committee members expressed concerns about combining the two groups, but Committee 24 became a very active and vibrant committee as a result of new members’ enthusiasm and perspectives. Here is a short recap of the current activities that the 100-plus committee membership dedicates its time to: • The meetings expanded to up to three full days of meetings and now take up two full days. • Aside from the old tasks that were

retained, the committee took on new tasks, including: » Development of the Practical Guide to Railway Engineering (now under rewrite) » Scanning of old RMWA and ARB&B proceedings » Student and faculty relations, including scholarships, various student activities at conferences, student chapters (22 current chapters) and student speakers. » Develop and present various seminars - Introduction to Practical Railway Engineering (IPRE) Track Alignment Design Seminar - (TADS) - FRA 213 - FRA 214 - Bridge Worker Safety Engineering Education » Railway Symposium (REES), which is a biennial gathering of university faculty to present and discuss opportunities to incorporate railway engineering curriculum, as well as research projects to serve the industry. » Training Cooperative is charged with facilitating the sharing of resources by bringing together professionals to identify best practices and methods throughout the railroad industry. The initial need for the committee nearly 100 years ago still remains and the rail industry and the education system coordination and relationships are important to continued success for the North American Railway System.


Re g i s t ra ti o n i s o p e n f o r t h e AREMA 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition, Sept. 16-19 in Chicago, Ill. Register today and be sure to include access to AREMA Virtual18 On-Demand Learning so you can experience more of the conference on your own schedule. Be sure you are in the hands of all AREMA 2018 Conference Attendees by advertising in the 2018 AREMA Conference Proceedings. Visit www. for more information on advertising rates. Do you want to generate leads, promote a product and reach a target audience? Sign up for sponsorship at the AREMA 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition. Please visit for more information on sponsorship investment opportunities. Order the 2018 Manual for Railway E n g i n e e ri n g n ow. W i t h m o re than 50 new, revised, reaffirmed or extended Manual Parts, it’s the perfect time to get the 2018 Manual. Order online now at www. or contact mbruins@ for more details. C a l l f o r e n t r i e s fo r th e 201 8 D r. William W. Hay Award for E xce llen ce. Entries m ust be s u b m i t te d by M a y 2 5 , 2 0 1 8 . Please visit for more information. L eve r a g e t h e p owe r o f yo u r tr u s te d a s so c i ati o n’s Ra i lwa y C a re e r s N et wo r k to ta p i nto a talent pool of job candidates with the training and education needed for long-term success. Visit to post your job today. Use code CAREERS to receive a discount.

Committee 24 meeting in Overland Park, Kan., at the BNSF Training Center in the summer of 2017

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 33

Getting to know Leo B. Thorbecke

Leo B. Thorbecke Chair of Committee 13 Environmental and vice president at TRC Companies


ach month, AREMA features one of our committee chairs or committee members. We are pleased to announce that the April featured member is Leo B. Thorbecke, chair of Committee 13 - Environmental and vice president at TRC Companies. AREMA: Leo, can you tell us why you chose to pursue a career in the field of railway engineering? THORBECKE: It happened—no pun intended—by accident. The firm I was working for was called in to a support role on a derailment and I was assigned to work in a field sampling capacity. I was drawn to the energy, team focus and fast-paced, yet methodical, working environment. As the company grew to become a nationwide provider, our client list expanded to include all the Class 1s, shortlines and transit clients and my role expanded into account management. The ability to help provide solutions on a programmatic basis and apply best practices from other industries was also a draw and motivator. AREMA: How did you get involved in AREMA and your committee? THORBECKE: I had become active with other railroad organizations throughout the past several decades and was introduced to AREMA along the way. I was drawn to the broader discipline interface that AREMA offers in the rail community and the open exchange of information between committees that can take place. I’m excited about having Committee 13 - Environmental interface with other committees to elevate the awareness of how 34 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018

environmental activities touch every aspect of modern day railroading. AREMA: What do you do with your spare time? THORBECKE: I enjoy being outdoors when I’m not working and being active. I live in a 130-year-old house and, thankfully, enjoy remodeling and DIY projects—there’s never a shortage there! AREMA: Tell us about your family. THORBECKE: I’m blessed to have my wife work at Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, in town with a more routine work schedule to help support the home front. Our son is wrapping up his senior year at the same school and sometimes having Mom “on-campus” can either be a blessing or a curse. Our daughter is a budding clarinetist, artist and swimmer entering high school next year. We all share the travel bug and look forward to our annual travels throughout the U.S. and abroad. AREMA: If you could share one interesting fact about yourself with the readers of RT&S, what would it be? THORBECKE: A few years back, I was invited to go off-roading, “Jeeping,” with a club comprised of railroad professionals out of the Southeast. I caught the bug and bought a used Jeep. We meet several times a year for weekend trips and adventures. That group has grown by word of mouth to include new railroad members and now extends to Texas and Kansas. AREMA: What is your biggest achievement so far? THORBECKE: Personally, having a family with two children who have distinct personalities, talents and individual attributes and a supportive wife who is flexible in helping with parenting while keeping a sense of humor is a big achievement. Having found a profession working in the rail community over the past 25-plus years has also been extremely satisfying and rewarding. Not a day passes that I’m not grateful for having been able to make a career doing what I’m doing. It is a tight-knit and supportive community with a lot of talented people willing to help you achieve your personal and professional goals. AREMA: What advice would you give to someone attempting to pursue a career in the railway industry? THORBECKE: Railroads are the backbone of this country and helped make it what it is

today, and that will continue in the future. Technology, engineering and efficiency are driving a lot of the current changes with many career opportunities. Railroads have always placed a premium on safety and environmental stewardship, and these are areas open to younger professionals seeking a challenging and rewarding career.

Professional Development AREMA is focused on your education within the railway industry. To help your advancement, AREMA offers seminar and webinar programs that will extend our ability to serve the educational needs of our railway engineering community with PDH accredited web-based courses, as well as classroom setting seminars. If you need additional continuing education credits, plan to sign up for the next seminar. Webinar: Railway Electrification - An Introduction and Overview Date: May 9 Time: 2-3 PM EDT Seminars: Seismic Design of Railroad Bridges Date: June 5 Location: St. Louis, Mo. Introduction to Practical Railway Engineering Date: June 6-8 Location: Los Angeles Introduction to Practical Railway Engineering Date: July 18-20 Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada For more information on our seminar and webinar programs and to register, please visit:

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2 3 -2 5 . U n i v e r s i t y o f W i s c o n s i n ’ s Fundamentals of Rail Freight Terminals, Yards, and Intermodal Facilities. Hilton Oak Lawn. Oak Lawn, Ill. Contact: Dave Peterson. Phone: 800-462-0876. E-mail: Website: https://epd. 25-26. AARS Derailment Investigation Seminar. Sheraton University City Hotel. Philadelphia, Pa. Website: https://supt. org/page-1499874. 26-27. Light Rail 2018, presented by Railway Age and RT&S. Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. Baltimore, Md. Phone: 212620-7208. E-mail: conferences@sbpub. com. Website: https://www.railwayage. com/category/conferences/. 30-2. Transload Distribution Association of North America (TDANA) Annual Conference. Washington, D.C. Contact: Steve Braithwaite. Phone: 402-306-2250. E-mail: steve@tdana. com. Website:

1-3. Intermodal Association of North America Intermodal Operations and Maintenance Business Meeting. Lombard Yorktown Center. Lombard, Ill. Contact: A n g i e M o g e n s e n . P h o n e: 3 01 -9 8 23400x367. E-mail: Website: businessmeeting/index.php. 1-4. Track Safety Standards Part 213: Classes 1-5 Workshop. Council Bluffs, I owa. Ph o n e: 8 0 0-228-9670. E-m a il: Website: TrkInspWrkShp.html. 8-9. A ARS D erailm ent Inves tigation Seminar. DoubleTree San Pedro - Port of Los Angeles. San Pedro, Calif. Phone: 310-514-3344. Website: page-1499874. 15-17. 2018 International Crosstie and Fastening System Symposium. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Manually Guided Vehicle

Utility shoes

Handling Specialty announced in early April the addition of its new battery powered Manually Guided Vehicle (MGV). The company said it was engineered and manufactured for the locomotive industry to assist with moving, lifting and lowering components for assembly under a raised rail vehicle. One of their current designs is a material handling vehicle which includes an elevating scissor lift table top, with 5,000 lbs lift capacity and fully adjustable wobble top. The vehicle can perform a 360-degree rotation within its perimeter, the company said. Fitted with durable bellows to assist in keeping outside debris from entering the scissor mechanics of the MGV, the vehicle is intended to improve operational maintenance efforts on rail vehicles. The MGV can also drive at a reduced speed, with it scissor lift table fully elevated when necessary. Handling Specialty’s rail group said it focuses on engineered-toorder lifting and traversing equipment to cater to the industry’s wide-ranging needs. Website:

KEEN Utility, a company providing industrial and service footwear, has announced new utility shoes for this spring. The men’s Baltimore work boot features a durable direct-attach outsole and provides a full-grain leather upper and KEEN.DRY® membrane to offer lightweight and breathable waterproof protection, the company said. The boot features an asymmetrical safety toe design to provide a roomier toe box and maintain all-day comfort during long work days. The boot also includes a rubber outsole that is oil and slipresistant, multi-directional and meets safety standards to give customers the ability to work at any necessary site and handle a variety of terrain. The company also said the Baltimore work boot has surpassed non-slip testing standards, and offers customers improved traction when working on or near slick surfaces. The Baltimore work boot is available in both soft and steel-toe options, the company said. Website:

The Railway Educational Bureau Track Safety Standards


Workplace Safety

Subparts A-F

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


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

Federal Regulations

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



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

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

Only $7.15 for orders of 50 or more!

The Railway Educational Bureau 1809 Capitol Ave., Omaha NE, 68102 36 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018


Add Shipping & Handling if your merchandise subtotal is:

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

U.S.A. $4.50 7.92 10.78 11.99

CAN $8.75 12.65 16.80 21.20

Orders over $75, call for shipping

Ad Index






AREMA Marketing Department



Cover 3

Brandt Road Rail Corporation




Custom Truck One Source




Danella Rental Systems, Inc.




Diversified Metal Fabricators









Harsco Rail


Herzog Railroad Services, Inc.


Hougen Manufacturing, Inc.




Koppers Railroad Structures




L&S Luddeneit und Scherf Gmbh



Landoll Corporation



Cover 2

Light Rail 2018




Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc.



Cover 4

Plasser American Corp.




Racine Railroad Products, Inc.








RCE Equipment Solutions Co.




Rail Insights




Railway Education Bureau, The






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

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

Italy, Italian-speaking Switzerland Dr. Fabio Potesta Media Point & Communications SRL Corte Lambruschini Corso Buenos Aires 8 V Piano, Genoa, Italy 16129 +39-10-570-4948 Fax: +39-10-553-0088

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

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.

Japan Katsuhiro Ishii Ace Media Service, Inc. 12-6 4-Chome, Nishiiko, Adachi-Ku Tokyo 121-0824 Japan +81-3-5691-3335 Fax: +81-3-5691-3336 CLASSIFIED, PROFESSIONAL & EMPLOYMENT Jeanine Acquart 55 Broad St., 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 (212) 620-7211 Fax: (212) 633-1325

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

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 37

New & Used Equipment

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

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



Service Parts

New and Used Hi-Rail Trucks Available

Nationwide DELIVERY

- Pickup Trucks - Service Bodies

- Flatbeds - Bucket Trucks

- Welding Trucks - Section Trucks - Grapple Trucks

- Track Inspector Trucks - Boom Trucks

CAll Bruce Harrod: 877-888-9730

100 S Paniplus Drive Olathe, ks 66061 main: 913.764.1315 Mobile: 913.972.1013


Available for Lease 3000 cu ft Covered Hopper Cars 4650 cu ft Covered Hopper Cars 3600 cu ft Open Top Hopper Cars 4480 cu ft Aluminum Rotary Open Top Gons 65 ft, 100-ton log spine cars equipped with six (6) log bunks 60 ft, 100 ton Plate F box cars, cushioned underframe and 10 ft plug doors 50 ft, 100 ton Plate C box cars, cushioned underframe and 10 ft plug doors Contact: Tom Monroe: 415-616-3472 Email:

38 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018


New & Used Equipment

Professional Directory



Products & Services

Omaha Track Equipment 13010 F Plaza • Omaha NE 68137 (402) 339-4512 Contact JOHN GALLO • (402) 990-9385


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

Ph217-268-5110 cell217-259-4823 Fax217-268-3059 email Exchange Units/Related Tamper Parts and Assemblies

MOW Equipment Lease & Sale Brushcutting Specialized Hauling Track Surfacing Low Boys with Rail “A full service company with over 25 yrs exp!”

To purchase parts, contact: New & Rebuilt Electromatic/Hydraulic Units available for same Workheads day shipping

TAKE A LOOK AT QUALITY Kenworths, DMF Gear, Moley Magnets & Serco Loaders

REESE Grapple Trucks

Rotary Dumps

Gradall 3100


Tunnel Trucks

Custom Build New or Used Chassies. Also: Hirail Boom Dump Trucks NOW a Hirail Mechanics Trucks SERCO Crew Cabs DEALER Hytracker for moving equipment Hudson Ballast Cars DMF & Harsco parts, service and installation


Est. 1910


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

K. W. Reese, Inc.

Box 298 • Mercersburg, PA 17236

(717) 328-5211 • fax (717) 328-9541 •

2016 NRC PlatiNum Safety awaRd wiNNeR

Ph: 315-455-0100 • Fax: 315-455-6008 • Syracuse, NY •

April 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 39

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





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



Transportation Superintendent


NICTD intends to hire a Transportation Superintendent headquartered at Michigan City, Indiana.



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AILWAY GE 7/18/17 11:53 AM

RTS_RailBriefAd_QuarterPage_Final.indd 1


1/9/18 12:20 PM

Contact: Jeanine Acquart Ph: 212/620-7211 • Fax: 212/633-1165 Email: 40 Railway Track & Structures // April 2018


Congratulations to the AREMA 2018 Educational Foundation Scholarship Winners! Josue Cesar Bastos University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Committee 4 - Rail Art Worth Memorial Scholarship Daniel Bissette North Carolina State University North Carolina Railroad Company Scholarship Ethan Eric Boardman West Texas A&M University Union Pacific William E. Wimmer Scholarship James Boerner University of Nebraska at Omaha Committee 1 - Roadway & Ballast Scholarship Adam M. Breindel Florida State University Communications & Signals Functional Group Scholarship Alex Christmas Michigan Technological University Canadian National Railway Company Scholarship Smruti P. Dash Michigan Technological University Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship Arthur De Oliveira Lima University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Michael & Gina Garcia Rail Engineering Scholarship Luiz C. De Souza Almedia Pennsylvania State University at Altoona REMSA Scholarship Michael DePiero The Ohio State University Charles L. Stanford Family Ohio State University Railway Engineering Scholarship Jay Dixit Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Committee 18 - Light Density & Short Line Railways Scholarship Luke J. Gublo The University of Texas at Arlington Committee 12 - Rail Transit Scholarship Brevel Holder University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Structures Functional Group Member Emeritus Scholarship in Honor of Dr. F. Wayne Klaiber Samantha Lau Brigham Young University AREMA Women's Engineering Scholarship (Sponsored by Larry & Teresa Etherton) Alyssa L. Leach Michigan Technological University Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship Weixi Li University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Norfolk Southern Foundation Scholarship Chen-Yu Lin University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Committee 30 - Ties Scholarship

Darkhan Mussanov University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Michael W. & Jean D. Franke Family Foundation Scholarship Nao Nishio University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Committee 27 - Maintenance-of-Way Work Equipment Scholarship Saheed Oladipupo University of Manitoba Committee 10 - Structures Maintenance & Construction Scholarship Ricardo J. Quiros Orozco University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Committee 15 - Steel Structures Professor Wallace Sanders Scholarship Derek Owen Michigan Technological University Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship Thomas A. Roadcap University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Committee 4 - Rail Art Worth Memorial Scholarship Geordie Roscoe University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign John J. Cunningham Memorial Scholarship (Sponsored jointly by Committees 11 & 17) Ethan Russell University of Kentucky Committee 14 - Yards & Terminals Scholarship Bryan C. Sooter University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Committee 24 - Education & Training Scholarship Lauren Swan Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Committee 33 - Electric Energy Utilization Scholarship Zezhou Wang University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign New York Central Railroad Memorial Scholarship Collin West Missouri University of Science and Technology Communications & Signals Functional Group Scholarship Matthew Wheeler Pennsylvania State University at Altoona Committee 5 - Track Scholarship Jaclyn M. Whelan Villanova University Committee 27 - Maintenance-of-Way Work Equipment Josef W. Neuhofer Memorial Scholarship William A. Zdinak Pennsylvania State University at Altoona CSX Scholarship Zhipeng Zhang Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Committee 4 - Rail Art Worth Memorial Scholarship

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© 2016 Loram, Inc.

RT&S April 2018  

The April 2018 issue of RT&S features coverage of material handling, details on the Portageville Bridge, and a view on recent safety statist...

RT&S April 2018  

The April 2018 issue of RT&S features coverage of material handling, details on the Portageville Bridge, and a view on recent safety statist...