RTS November 2022

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February 2018 // Railway Track & Structures 1rtands.com NOVEMBER 2022 | WWW. RTANDS.COM ALSO: BNSF HAS PRODUCTIVE SUMMER TRACK GEOMETRY AND INSPECTION TRUCKS/HI-R AIL SHORT LINE IS Seminole Gulf Railway can be back up and running quickly, but it needs funds now CUT SHORT HURRICANE IAN

TRACK on for


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November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 1rtands.com CONTENTS
Follow Us On Social Media @RTSMag 9 A huge blow Knowlege, preparation, and guts required for Seminole Gulf Railway comeback 14 Working religiously BNSF executed some key projects this past summer 17 Now more than ever The criticality of inspecting track to keep things moving 23 The good fight Trucks/hi-rail equipment carry out important work in the MoW sector November 2022 9 DEPARTMENTSCOLUMNS MxV Rail R&D Spike loading environment testing at FAST AREMA News Message from the President, 5 27 On Track Are we taking the wrong bite? NRC Column Past attendees make a strong case for attending the 2023 NRC Conference 3 4 23 On the Cover Crews clean up after Hurricane Ian hits Florida. For story, see p 9.

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Are we taking the wrong bite?

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You don’t have to give me Thanksgiving thick ness on my sandwich in August.

leadership, management, and worker response? I am not sure it has, because I continue to see reports of poor leader ship, mismanagement and worker unre sponsiveness with Metro.

BILL WILSON Editor-in-Chief wwilson@sbpub.com


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I gave Jersey Mike’s the Bill Wilson review for the first time this summer, and while the experience was good overall, I yelped at them for too much sliced meat. I am a simple sandwich guy, and layers and layers of something just gets in the way of what I like to get to quickly … cheese, the right amount of meat, and condi ments. That’s all I need to munch happy … keep the lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, olives, and whatever else in their happy place away from my bread.

Now the Massachusetts Bay Trans portation Authority is coming under safety fire, and there has been whis pers of forming a commission much like the one that operates in Washing ton, D.C. During a Senate hearing in early October, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) blasted the MBTA, citing shortcomings in the agency’s leadership that has led to safety concerns. The MBTA has been in hot water with the FTA for months, and a recent FTA report has estimated the agency’s transit system might be short 1,500 to 2,000 workers. The MBTA is still addressing safety directives.

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Too much of one thing can create a thickness where nothing of worth can get through. In response to safety issues with the Washington Metro, a commis sion was formed called the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC).

ARTHUR J. MCGINNIS, JR. President and Chairman

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The WMSC provides that extra layer of oversight, and in 2022 Washington Metro has needed layer upon layer of that. In May a WMSC report said the agency puts personnel at risk of serious death or injury after Washington Metro kept a third rail energized in an active work zone. Recently, the WMSC has been investigating a rail car wheel issue, and a possible cause could be how the rail was designed and laid out.

I am not here to give WMSC a bad review. No, not at all. When it comes to safety and management, oversight can go overboard to a degree. I would like to think if it was not for the WMSC the report on the third-rail incident would have never been reported, or the insight would have been delayed significantly … possibly the product of a high official being terminated and the secret sauce becoming declassified.

However, has the creation of the WMSC resulted in the perfect sand wich that has the proper amount of

Warren was on Boston Public Radio a week after the hearing calling for everything to be scraped off the bread. She wants the next governor of Massa chusetts to work with fresh meat at the highest level of the MBTA.

Forming a commission could be beneficial, but only if the agency and its workers make changes to see the benefits. You can issue layers and layers of reports saying this is bad and that needs to be changed or fixed, but until the bureaucratic thickness lessens and action is moved to the forefront, a commission is just taking up space in the hierarchy. When Washington Metro was first cited for safety issues by the WMSC, the entire agency should have been flipped upside down and the game board should have been cleared. The violations that continue to follow shows an ineffectiveness.

I just can’t sit back and bite my tongue.

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 3
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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, 1809 Capitol Avenue, Omaha, NE 68102. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at Omaha, NE, and additional mailing offices. Pricing: Qualified individual and railroad employees may request a free subscription. 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 2022. 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 +1 (402) 346-4740, Fax +1 (847) 291-4816, e-mail rtands@omeda.com or write to: Railway Track & Structures, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 239, Lincolnshire IL 60069-0239 USA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Railway Track & Structures, PO Box 239, Lincolnshire IL 60069-0239 USA.

STEVE BOLTE Chairman, National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC)

Past attendees make a strong case for attending the 2023 NRC Conference

More than 1,000 of the railway industry’s top construction and engineering leaders will be attending the NRC’s 2023 Annual Conference and the NRCREMSA Exhibition from Jan. 4 through Jan. 7, 2023, in Boca Raton, Fla. If you are on the fence about whether to attend or to invite a younger professional on your team, here’s some information that may help you make up your mind.

I’ve had the good fortune to attend dozens of NRC annual conferences and am continually amazed at the quality and volume of contacts and information gained from a single conference. But if you don’t want to take it from me, consider what some past attendees have to say.

Eric Hasemeyer, director, Business Development, Ragnar Benson Construction LLC

“It’s a great way to start off the new year strong. It’s a very collaborative experience where you can get a good feel from the railroads’ capital project plans through their presentations. You also get to spend some personal time with your colleagues. It’s an opportunity for everyone to share ideas, best practices, and what may be working, and what’s challenging.”

Chase Armstrong, vice president, Commercial Development, R.J. Corman

“I’ve been attending the conference for over 10 years now. It’s a good way to understand our clients’ opportunities for the coming year and to set up client meetings, as well as to have conversations with other contractors and suppliers to understand what’s going on in the industry.”

Erika Bruhnke, vice president, Training and Media Resources, RailPros “The NRC conference is valuable because of all the relationships and partnerships you establish while you are there. I really enjoy the curriculum that the NRC puts together when it comes to general and breakout sessions. It

gives you a one-stop shop to answer the questions you might have accumulated throughout the year. You have all of the right players in one space.”

Joe Daloisio, Track Division Manager, Railroad Construction Co.

“The program every year is exciting because it offers a perspective and information from mainline Class 1 railroads and vendor/suppliers that really isn’t accessible from any other place. The CapEx presentations at the NRC conference are so valuable to contractors because you gain inside information from Class 1 railroad executives that is so vital to the work that we plan to do every year.”

Russ Gehl, Executive Vice PresidentBusiness Development, Holland LP

“The NRC conference is valuable because it brings key players together to talk about issues in the industry. The CapEx presentations give us perspectives of what railroads are going to do, what they are going to invest in, and how contractors can participate in their expansion and maintenance programs.”

Maggie Vuono, Chief Sales O cer, RailPod, Inc.

“Attending the conference helps you form relationships you will not make anywhere else. It provides so much opportunity for interaction with customers and colleagues. Not only will you form business relationships, but you’ll develop personal relationships that are going to last a lifetime.”

There is still time to register for the conference. Learn all the details here, along with instructions for hotel and golf reservations: https://bit.ly/3CQdYhT

I look forward to seeing you in January in Boca Raton.

Building a safer and stronger railway construction industry together.

NRC CHAI R MAN ’S COLUM N 4 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com

Spike loading environment testing at FAST

Evaluating real-time dynamic bending strains in cut spikes

wood tie fastening systems were instrumented with strain-gaged spikes to evaluate the realtime dynamic bending strains in cut spikes.

The test showed that the spikes used on elastic fastener plates without rail anchors had the highest peak-to-peak strain levels. In contrast, the strain levels, statistically, were significantly lower on the spikes on elastic fastener plates with rail anchors and curveblock plates (non-elastic). The spikes in the American Railway Engineering and Mainte nance-of-Way (AREMA) plates (non-elastic) experienced little strain that exceeded the fatigue limit.

MxV Rail (formerly TTCI) has been investigating a spike breakage issue in recent years.

With the success of the devel opment of instrumented spikes, MxV Rail conducted field experiments to investigate the spike loading environment at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) in Pueblo, Colo. Past research has found that the cut spike used in otherwise elastic fastening systems could experience a load level higher than the fatigue limit of the spike material. In this study, the spike loading environment was quantified for various wood tie fastening systems, including two potential remediation measures for broken spikes. The test was conducted on a 6° curve in a heavy axle load ing environment at FAST. Four common


As both train speed and tonnage increased in the railroad industry, elastic fasten ing systems gained popularity due to their ability to reduce gage widening as compared to conventional cut-spike fastening systems. For this reason, elastic fastening systems have been installed in steep grade locations and high-degree curves on many North Ameri can heavy-haul railroads. Field observations, however, have documented broken spikes on elastic fastening systems on multiple Class 1 railroads, especially in high-degree curve territories. Several recent derailments also were attributed to spike breakage.1-4

MxV Rail developed instrumented spikes and conducted comprehensive field testing to

investigate the occurrence of broken spikes and to understand the failure mechanism. Previous investigations focused on curves with a history of broken spikes.5 The results showed that the load carried by spikes could be higher than the yield point of the spike material; possibly leading to permanent spike bending. The experiment in this study focused on understanding the spike loading environment in different fastening systems, some of which exhibited broken spikes and others which had never experienced broken spikes. The findings of this study are intended to improve the understanding of the loading environment in a rail-fastenertie system and to identify solutions for the broken spike issue.

Field test setup

The field test was conducted at FAST. Instru mented spikes developed by MxV Rail were used in the test. Four test cases that used four typical wood tie fastening systems were included in the test (Table 1). Instrumented spikes were installed only on the high-rail plates in each test case. All the test cases were located on a 6° curve and were tested under the same traffic conditions, including train speed, train make-up, and train direction.

Case 2 had a history of broken spikes at FAST and in revenue service. The spikes started to break at ~200 MGT. About 13%

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 5rtands.com MxV RAIL R&D
Table 1. Four test cases of fastening systems

of the spikes (39 out of the 300 spikes) were broken within the first 300 MGT of FAST traffic in this zone. The other three cases have not exhibited any broken spike occur rences to date (300 MGT for Cases 1 and 3 so far; 740 MGT for Case 4). The fastening systems in Cases 1 and 3 are two remedia tion methods that are currently being tested at FAST.

Test results and data analysis

Previous studies have shown the spike failure is a result of fatigue.1,5 Therefore, the analysis

focused on the peak-to-peak difference between the bending strains in the spikes. The researchers calculated this difference by subtracting the minimum strain from the maximum strain in one load cycle. Figure 1 presents the comparison of the mean values of the peak-to-peak difference in the lateral direction (spike bent towards the field side) data gathered using statistical analysis. The interval plot shows a 95% confidence interval for the mean of each case (e.g., C1 stands for Case 1). Further, Tukey’s honest significance test was performed to evaluate whether the

means were significantly different from each other. In the lower plot, the horizontal axis represents the mean differences between the two paired cases. The extended lines show the 95% confidence intervals. If the confi dence interval crosses zero, the difference between the two paired cases would not be statistically significant.

Further, the distribution of the peakto-peak difference data was evaluated to understand the spike loading environment in different fastening systems. Typically, 1,500 microstrain is considered as the fatigue limit for steel spike material, and the yield strain is higher than 2,000 microstrain. Figure 2 shows the distribution histogram plots of lateral bending strains for Cases 1 and 2 (anchored elastic and elastic only). The majority of spikes experienced strains lower than 500 microstrain for both cases. However, the number of occurrences of spikes that experienced higher strain levels (>2,000 microstrain) was substantially higher for Case 2.

Table 2 lists the percentage values of spike strains in three strain ranges. Gener ally, the spikes experienced a higher loading level laterally than longitudinally. Laterally, Case 4 (AREMA plates) had a very small amount of strain values that exceeded 1,500 microstrain. The other three cases, however, had at least 2.3% of the spike strains that were higher than 1,500 microstrain. Case 3 (curve blocks) had the highest percent age in the range of 1,500-2,000 microstrain while Case 2 (elastic only) had the highest percentage in the range higher than 2,000 microstrain.

The longitudinal strain collected in this test was not higher than the fatigue limit, mainly due to minimal grade and constant operational speed. However, the longitu dinal strains measured in revenue service sites were large enough to cause spike fatigue failure.5

Broken spikes started to occur at 200 MGT for Case 2, and Cases 1 and 3 have accumulated 200 MGT without any broken spikes identified, so it can be concluded that the broken spike issue occurred sooner for Case 2 than for the other cases. Rail anchors (Case 1), when engaging ties, provide longitudinal resis tance to longitudinal rail movement. This will reduce the load distributed to spikes. However, rail anchors would reduce their effectiveness when any space is gener ated over time between anchors and ties. Railroad’s experience has shown that anchors will delay the onset of a broken

6 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com MxV RAIL R&D
Figure 1. Statical analysis of the average peak difference of bending strains in spikes in the lateral direction.

spike problem but will not eliminate the problem. As to curve blocks (Case 3), there is no clamping force provided by curve block plates on the rail base. Curve blocks are to prevent rail rollover. When rail base engages the curve blocks due to either rail rolling over or rail uplift ing, curve block plates could behave like elastic fasteners to cause tie plate uplift and transfer both lateral and longitudi nal rail forces to spikes. This may explain why curve block plates exhibited the second-highest average peak difference of bending strains.

In summary, one may not conclude that an elastic fastening system with rail anchors (Case 1) and curve block plates (Case 3) are effective remediation methods, but the observation at FAST indicated that the spikes of these two fastening systems had a longer service life than the spikes in an elastic fastening system without rail anchors (Case 2).


Field instrumentation was conducted on

the spike loading environment at FAST in Pueblo, Colo. Based on the test results, the following observations were made:

• Statistical analysis showed that an

anchors (Case 2) had the highest average peak-to-peak strains for the spikes; and

• The strain distribution showed that an elastic fastening system with rail

Figure 2. Comparison of lateral bending strains in spikes for Case 1 and Case 2.


without rail anchors, and curve block plates (Cases 1, 2, and 3) had 2.3%, 4.9%, and 8.1% of spike bending strains higher than the fatigue limit, respectively. For the strains higher than the fatigue limit, Cases 1 and 3 were mostly in the range of 1,500 microstrain to 2,000 microstrain. However, Case 2 was mostly higher than 2,000 microstrain.

The broken spike issue occurred in elastic only (Case 2) sooner (found at 200 MGT) than in the other cases in this study. Based on the strain data, anchored elastic and curve blocks (Cases 1 and 3), as two remediation methods, may not be perma nent measures to prevent the occurrence of broken spikes but may extend the spike service life.


MxV Rail gratefully acknowledges the support from the Federal Railroad Admin istration and the Association of American Railroads Strategic Research Initiatives Program - Tie and Fastener Systems.


1. Gao, Y., M. McHenry, and B. Kerchof. 2018. “Investigation of Broken Cut Spikes on Elastic Fastener Tie Plates Using an Integrated Simulation Method.” 2018 ASME/IEEE Joint Railroad Conference.

2. Kerchof, B. 2017. “A Derailment Investigation and Broken Spikes.” Presentation at the 2017 Wheel Rail Interaction Conference. June 5–8, 2017. Montreal, Canada.

3. Federal Railroad Administration. 2019. “Timber Crosstie Spike Fastener

Failure Investigation” [RR 19-14]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation.

4. Yu, H. and S. Liu. 2019. “Finite Element Analysis of Spike Failure in Elastic Fastening Systems for Wood Ties.” 2018 ASME/IEEE Joint Rail road Conference.

5. Gao, Y., M. McHenry, M. Brice, and J. Baillargeon. 2020. “Field Investiga tion of Spike Breakage Using Instru mented Spikes.” The AREMA 2021 Virtual Conference.

8 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com MxV
Table 2. Distribution of strain values in spikes higher than 1,500 microstrain.
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Unless you have personally experienced a tornado, hurri cane, typhoon, tsunami, earthquake, lightning storm, or other devastating natural disasters, it’s nearly impossible to appreciate how powerful Mother Nature can be and the devastation it can cause to lives and property. A perusal of internet videos of monster storms or natural events can give you a sense of how much power these events unleash, but even that doesn’t come close to being there.

Folks who live in hurricane-prone areas, such as the state of Florida, know all too well how horrible these storms

can be. When they roll through, resi dents’ priority is making it through alive. To heck with homes, cars, businesses, and other infrastructure—protecting themselves, family, and pets comes first. However, the personal and professional landscape can change dramatically for those who survive. While some residents say they’ve had it and move elsewhere, those with deep ties to the community usually choose to stay and rebuild.

The Seminole Gulf Railway

The Seminole Gulf Railway (SGLR) falls into the latter category. Founded in 1987, the railroad was fashioned from 118 miles

of former CSX trackage between North Naples and Arcadia by Punta Gorda and called the Fort Myers Division. A sepa rate line between Bradenton and Sarasota makes up the Sarasota Division. While these two divisions are not physically connected, traffic can move between the two on CSX. Indeed, SGLR only connects with CSX, and the Fort Myers Division bore the brunt—a devastating brunt—of Hurricane Ian when it barreled through, killing more than 60 people in the state.

The SGLR hauls much of the region’s building materials, newsprint, LP gas, plastics, stone, recycled materials, steel, and other commodities. Robert Fay,

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 9rtands.com
Photo Credit: Seminole Gulf Railway Knowledge, preparation, and guts required for Seminole Gulf Railway comeback

executive vice president of the SGLR, told RT&S that the railroad handles about 3,300 carloads per year, the approxi mate equivalent of 13,000 truckloads. “The lion’s share of carload traffic, about 2,600 carloads (around 10,000 truck loads), moves on the Fort Myers Divi sion,” he added.

The railroad is not a single-customer road. Fay pointed out that “we handle fly ash, LPG, all kinds of metals, plastics, and a lot of building materials, such as stone and aggregates to rebar, drywall, plywood, and lumber.” The road also moves food, assorted chemicals, and many Florida Power & Light trans formers. In addition, the railroad owns and manages a fleet of rail cars rolling throughout North America.

The SGLR is part of a company founded by Faye’s parents, Gordon and Susan Fay. They both had careers as professional railroad consultants and played a role in developing the Stag gers Act of 1980, which provided partial

economic deregulation, and enabled large railroads like CSX to abandon less profitable lines, such as those which now make up the SGLR. The couple also acted as advisors to early short line operators. The Fays first founded the Bay Colony Railroad Corp. (BCLR), which operates in Massachusetts today between New Bedford and Westport for about 6 miles. Once the SGLR began operation, the company moved its headquarters to Fort Myers from Massachusetts.

In addition to freight rail service, the company also helps clients with indus trial development services, transloading, cold storage in Fort Myers, warehousing in Miami, and even carries cold storage goods on the railroad. The company used to have a car repair business in Arcadia, but it was destroyed by Hurricane Charlie in 2004, so they decided to abandon it.

Seminole Gulf vs. Hurricane Ian

As the storm predictions and satellite photos grew more ominous, Fay and

his team knew they were likely in for a bad time. As the storm made landfall, it looked like the area around Fort Myers was square in its sights. This proved to be the case as the storm began to pummel the central peninsula. Fay said, “Some hurricanes are wind events, some are rain events, and some come with storm surges. Ian brought all three. Heavy rain and high winds hit Fort Myers, as well as much of the state, and ushered in a huge storm surge. A storm surge, in our case, meant that 16 ft of the Gulf of Mexico was in your living room.” The storm surge was responsible for much of the destruction of the railroad, and wind and rain did its share.

Hurricane Ian knocked out a total of four bridges, Fay told RT&S . Three succumbed to the storm on the south ern side of the Caloosahatchee River and one over the Peace River just north of Arcadia. In some cases, the track was knocked off the pilings. In others, the pilings themselves were gone. Several

10 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com
Photo Credit: Seminole Gulf Railway
“Some hurricanes are wind events, some are rain events, and some come with storm surges. Ian brought all three,” said SGLR Executive Vice President Robert Fay.

hundred feet of line suffered washout of the ballast and subgrade, leaving rails and ties hanging in mid-air. Other areas saw the tracks and the subgrade either moved to one side or washed away alto gether. Track on causeways was damaged or destroyed, and there was no way to get to these other than by boat. Regardless of the damage, the Seminole Gulf suffered a massive blow to its mainline, and at press time the Fort Myers Division remained shut down.

The railroad also suffered downed trees and vegetation all over the main line. Although Fay told RT&S that SGLR proactively keeps trees and vegetation cut back in anticipation of their doing damage in a storm like this, this debris will be a significant challenge to move so the line can be prepared for repair or replacement.

The Seminole Gulf also runs a Murder Mystery Dinner Train that’s been operat ing for 31 years, is popular among local Floridians, and is the vehicle through which most of the public is aware of the railroad. This train consists of vintage railroad cars in which the railroad has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the railroad is an “open” railroad, meaning it doesn’t have big shops or engine houses, the team anchors the dinner train cars to the rail with steel cable. This will minimize the chance that the cars will tip over during a storm.

The damage to the Seminole Gulf was devastating. The railroad is working with federal and state agencies to obtain funding—now pegged at $28 million— for rebuilding the railroad. The total amount needed will be sourced from both public and private sources.

One ray of sunshine is that the storm did not really damage the Saratoga Divi sion. While a few spots needed repair, the railroad was functioning well. Indeed, Fay said they are turning storage tracks in the yard to passing tracks and diverting as much rail traffic from CSX to this yard as possible. The challenge, though, is that all the freight headed to SGLR’s customers on the Fort Myers Division has been transloaded to trucks. Conversely, freight moving out of the Fort Myers Division service area also was moving by truck. Some of it moves to the Sarasota Division for transloading, while other freight moves directly by truck to its destination, representing lost revenue for the railroad.

How to prepare for a hurricane

Fay told RT&S that the Seminole Gulf has a written hurricane plan. The plan starts with making sure people have assign ments and things to do, timelines, and deadlines. Once a storm is at a distance that potentially threatens the Florida peninsula, regardless of where it will be, they initiate certain aspects of the hurricane plan. “Normally, we deploy resources well ahead of the storm to perform tasks such as removing the gate bars from railroad crossing equipment.” Fay added that they deploy chain saws, gasoline, diesel fuel, and cash in the area

that is most likely to be affected. “Cash is dispersed so our employees can buy gas, additional chain saws, and other equip ment.” They also spread their equipment as widely as possible over the railroad. It’s essential to disperse cars and loco motives and not keep them together. You don’t want everything in the same place and have all your locomotives wiped out in the storm.

“We’re not preparing for a storm but the aftermath of a hurricane. Once the hurricane has passed through, and the event has ended, the first thing to do is check to see if loved ones and neighbors

rtands.com HURRICANE IAN
Photo Credit: Seminole Gulf Railway Hurricane Ian knocked out four Seminole Gulf Railway bridges. In some cases, the track was knocked o pilings.

At press time, the Seminole Gulf was seeking financial support from public and private sources so contracts could be signed to begin rebuilding the railroad.

are safe. Next, you must start clearing roads to travel where you need to go. You may find anything on the street, from a fallen 80-year-old oak tree to a service station roof. During this part of the cleanup, we have a mixture of public works personnel, private individuals, neighbors, and others coming together to help each other.”

You can generally count on cell phone service being down, so a satellite phone is a good idea, and make sure it’s charged up and ready to go before the storm. As you’ve likely seen from news reports, linemen from power companies all over the region come in to help restore power. Life in Florida is built around air condi tioning because it’s a tropical climate with high heat and humidity. When the air conditioning is out, mold and mildew can build up.

Running water must be restored. It’s essential to drink a lot of bottled water.

Once you’ve restored some basic life infrastructure, it’s time to assess what damage may have occurred to your business.

Depending on the storm’s severity and the degree to which utilities are out, the environment can mimic the wild, wild west. There is no law enforcement around, communications are out, power is out, and water is out. You must guard against people trying to break into your homes and businesses to look for necessities. And, if you’ve been fortunate enough to get out and get some supplies, you run the chance of someone trying to steal what you have. It’s unfortunate, but something for which you must prepare.

When help begins to arrive, the first major step is to assess the damage. Then agencies must respond to the problems. This is when things can start to drag. For example, it takes a while for the evalua tion of water. Do you have water? If you

do, is it drinkable? If not, does it need to be boiled before drinking, or must other measures be taken by the local water works to restore clean water? Some people are homeless and have to live with friends, stay in hotels, or make do until trailers serving as temporary living quarters arrive. Public health can be a problem if people who have lost their homes haven’t received aid. A lot of people leave and simply don’t come back.

Getting the railroad back together

At press time, the Seminole Gulf was seeking financial support from public and private sources so contracts could be signed to begin rebuilding the railroad. “We’ve been told that we cannot sign any contracts for work before federal or state money is approved. If we do, we can use none of this money to fund existing contracts.” Fay added, “We can get some work done on the railroad,

12 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com
Photo Credit: Seminole Gulf Railway

such as dealing with washouts that we can reach. However, there is no need to put the crossing arms back up because some cantilevers are broken. No need to put much track back until the bridges are back up.” One challenge they have is a CSX train sitting in the soggy Acadia yard that CSX did not pick up before the storm hit.

“The main thing we’re doing now,” Fay said, “is making sure the Sarasota Divi sion is in top shape and increasing capac ity there to handle some of the traffic that Fort Myers would have handled.” The team is rehabilitating transloading tracks that will now be passing tracks. Traffic is currently diverted from the Fort Myers Division to the Sarasota Divi sion. The Sarasota Division has its mix of customers in plastics, glass, propane, and drywall. Everything outbound is trucked out of the Fort Myers area. Lots of freight headed for the Fort Myers Division is being transloaded to trucks on the Sarasota Division and moving by truck. Transloading works well for those customers who never had direct rail

service, but when rail-served customers need transloading, the cost is high. For example, Naples Lumber has been a rail customer for decades, but there is no railroad, so the mill receives its mate rial by truck. Now, the railroad must do this for all its customers along the Fort Myers Division.

The railroad can’t do any significant work until funding comes through. Bridges are the No. 1 priority. Much of the bent rail is salvageable only as scrap.

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) is reaching out to Washington leaders about funding and support and trying to coordinate communication between federal agencies. The railroad is trying to get immediate funding to repair Ian’s damage but also is trying to get some long-term funding for all short lines to help the industry weather these kinds of events.


Fay offers some recommendations on how to prepare to deal with the aftermath

of a storm for railroads facing the possi bility of natural disasters, which is about all of them. First, have a written plan, and keep the plan up to date. Give people assignments, stick to your plan as much as possible, and prepare to be adaptive, as things don’t always go according to plan.

Spread out the equipment on your rail road, so you don’t risk losing everything, and make sure you have excess materials on hand and have a plan to fund the rail road’s rehabilitation.

If you’re not politically involved and don’t know how the state DOT works, you need to rethink that. Know local leaders, national leaders, and who the staffers are. These will be valuable contacts.

Know who your contractors are, whether you use them a lot or not, and reach out to them in an emergency. You need a short list of people to whom you can reach out. For example, if you don’t have a relationship with track, bridge, and signal contractors before hand, you need to make sure you’ve got specialists available and reach out to them.

The Railway Educational Bureau Federal Regulations

Workplace Safety

Track Safety Standards, contains 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 March 21, 2022.

BKTSSAF Track Safety Standards, Subparts A-F $11.95 Only $10.75 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 March 21, 2022.

BKBRIDGE Bridge Safety Standards $8.95 Only $8.00 for orders of 50 or more!

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 March 21, 2022

BKWRK Railroad Workplace Safety $11.50 Only $10.35 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. Compliant with part 213.

BKTCAL Track Calculator $11.50 Only $10.75 for orders of 50 or more!

Updates from the Federal Register may be supplied in supplement form.


Capitol Ave., Omaha NE, 68102

UP TO $10.00 $5.25 $10.15 10.01 - 25.00 9.70 16.90 25.01 - 50.00 13.20 22.06 50.01 - 75.00 14.85 27.55

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 13rtands.com HURRICANE IAN
The Railway Educational Bureau 1809
www.RailwayEducationalBureau.com 800-228-9670 www.transalert.com Add Shipping & Handling if your merchandise subtotal is: Orders over $75, call for shipping
Safety Standards Subparts A F


BNSF executed some key projects this past summer
Photo Credit:

Grain elevators stand like cathedrals in Ulen, Minn.

They represent a support system based on a religion in the northeastern town of 476 people. That religion is grain, and the biggest, most important collection comes right around harvest season.

The cathedrals glow with activity late in the year. Ulen is one of the top originating shuttle facilities on the BNSF network, so when the schedule was put in place for the year’s track replacement all eyes stopped on the Ulen job. It was originally set after the harvest moon when the religion empties. Everyone knew the glow was all that mattered.

“After consideration of the track usage, knowing increased capacity for harvest season would be of great benefit, and taking the track out of service for track work in a slower time of year, we were able to move sched ules around and bump the project up into August,” BNSF said in an email response to RT&S

In 2021 alone, BNSF moved 63 million tons of grain from America’s heartland to receivers in Ulen and around the world. The track going in and out of the grain facility had suffered through years of hard use. It also was jointed rather than smooth, continuous rail. The jointed rail required speed restrictions, which reduced efficiency. The plan was to install 63,000 ft of new 115-lb welded rail in 18 days. The crew finished in 14. Here, even the final report glowed.

“The new rail on this line will increase the reliability and total volume that BNSF is able to deliver to the customer,” said BNSF. “With this facility being one of the busiest spots on the BNSF network for grain, this is a huge impact for the region’s farmers and the farming ecosystem that sustains many of the communi ties in the region.”

Ganging up

Track upgrade projects are deter mined a year ahead of time, and the engineering team indicates what direction to work, what crossings to pull, and where the rail will be cut to be welded together. Crews gather and confirm the required material, includ ing anchors, spikes, rail in the right

sizes, and wear. The pieces of rail are shipped on rail cars with 15-30 differ ent sticks of rail and in a specific order. That rail then needs to be spotted and dropped on the ground in the correct location. Planning involves looking again at switches, bridges, and crossings.

The gang that is switching out the rail is typically made up of a 36-person crew that runs 18 machines.

In Ulen, the process went as follows: A machine knocked anchors off the ties and a second machine pulled the spikes. A crane followed picking up the knocked-off anchors, spikes, and any other material around the track. Next, the old rail was cut and set aside to make space for the new rail and fittings. A swingmaster machine picked up the end of the old rail and moved it out of the way. The machine moved down the track and moved each piece as it followed behind the other machines. A “gooper” machine placed epoxy on the ties, filling holes left by the spikes. This helps main tain the ties’ longevity and structure. Another machine followed the gooper and leveled off the tie and eliminated excess material. When the ties were appropriately gooped, a new machine came through and dug holes between each tie, leaving a space for another piece of equipment which came through and reapplied anchors where the new rail was supposed to sit.

“At this point, we have a cleanup machine come through to pick up any remaining pieces and clean off the ties and area where the new rail will sit,” said BNSF.

A large, heavy-duty machine came in after the cleanup, grabbing new rail to begin the rail placement process. Rail that averaged 1,300 lb was moved into place. Every 1 ft of rail weighs 115 lb or more. After the rail was placed, welders lined up where the two pieces of rail met to create a continuously welded rail. The welders carefully shot a weld that took up to eight minutes at times on the heavy, 115-lb rail. The welders were careful to place the two pieces together so that it was not humped or sagged before or during the weld. A perfectly welded piece has less wear because there is less fric tion as a train traverses the spot of the weld. A Gauger followed after the weld

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 15
Photo Credit: BNSF

to put the first spikes in the rail.

“Rail must be a certain distance apart to function correctly, and these first spikes help get it to where it needs to be with preci sion,” said BNSF.

A heat-producing machine then heated the rail while a trained employee adjusted the heat and speed based on the needs of the rail and outside temperatures and condi tions. While the rail was still hot, two more machines applied anchors and another one finished putting spikes into the ties. A crane then picked up any other materials or scrap in the right-of-way.

Throughout the process, employees traversed the track to make sure the plates were in place, old scrap metal was out of the way, and the machines were spotted and worked correctly.

The location of the track did make it hard to tie-up work equipment without blocking train traffic.

Rather than tying up in the middle of the track, machines backtracked more than 5 miles to remain out of the way for traffic coming to and from the facility.

The project also was done during the hottest part of the year in Minnesota. Crews

often worked in heavy gear and around heat-producing machines so it was impor tant to keep crews hydrated and safe while they took care of the work.

“This [project] really is a big deal,” said BNSF Assistant Roadmaster Tom Zerr. “This will have a big impact on sustainabil ity and customer satisfaction. It makes us so much more competitive.”

Double the track

BNSF and its engineering team and other partners successfully completed a 50-mile section of new second mainline track, now in service, across the Emporia Subdivision, which runs from Kansas City to Wellington, Kan. This is part of the railroad’s multi-year work on its Southern Transcon. The South ern Transcon is one of 11 BNSF subdivisions on the Transcon and the last segment of this busy corridor to have adjacent double track.

A multiyear project to install the adja cent track next to the single mainline on portions of the Emporia Sub began in 2019, starting with grading work. Once the last section of adjacent mainline track is installed (two bridges elsewhere will remain single-tracked until they can be expanded), the route will be much more fluid and be a shorter and faster connec tion than the current overflow route through Newton, Kan.

One of the challenges of this job was the amount of limestone deposits a few inches below the surface. In one segment alone, crews had to excavate more than 400,000 cu ft of stone.

Photo Credit: BNSF Machines backtracked more than 5 miles to remain out of the way for rail tra c.
Track Geometry • Rail Profile • Track Gauge Strength • LiDAR hollandco.com #HollandLP


Since the dawn of railroading in the U.S., managers have ensured that railroad track and roadbed were in top shape. In the old days, the standard was not always in top shape but was sufficiently maintained to keep the railroad running. With today’s railroading heavier and consisting of longer trains, along with high-speed inter modal trains and Amtrak trains, the rails must keep their tracks in top shape.

The following is a product roundup of the track geometry and inspection market.

Loram Technologies

Loram Technologies Inc. (LTI) provides ground-penetrating radar (GPR), LiDAR measuring services, imagery, and data

analysis for substructure condition evalu ation. GPR offers continuous measure ment of subsurface conditions such as layer configuration, moisture content, and the fouling condition of the ballast. The LiDAR data and digital video images are collected to evaluate the right-of-way further and track conditions. They also can be used for drainage design, accurate location of assets, and detecting rootcause of problems, such as shoulder heaves and insufficient internal/external track drainage. To facilitate GPR and LiDAR inspection services and better adapt this technology for different inspection condi tions, such as different gages or different transporting vehicles, LTI has developed a self-contained inspection box that can

be set on the back of a small hi-rail pickup truck or a large hi-rail flatbed truck for data collection. This box weighs around 1,000 lb with dimensions of 40 in. wide, 72 in. deep, and 72 in. tall. The box includes three channel 400 MHz GPR antennas, dual LiDAR, a high-quality GPS with integrated IMU, and rearward-facing cameras. Everything is folded in the box and unfolded by pressing a button. This system only requires an encoder feed and power cable run to the truck’s 12-volt battery, and the operator can connect to the system wirelessly for data collection.

The antennae distance and height can be adjusted to operate on narrow, standard, and wide gages and maintain the height for different truck beds.

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 17rtands.com TRY AND INSPECTI ON
Photo Credit: Loram A Loram rail inspection vehicle.
The criticality of inspecting track to keep trains moving



Loram’s rail inspection vehicles use a Transverse Rail Profile Measurement System, Rail Surface Imagery System, and proprietary Rail Pro Inspection technology. This combination ensures Loram offers a completely integrated rail grinding management solution that opti mizes micro- and macro-level rail grind ing programs. Loram has continued to enhance its Rail Pro software to improve grind planning predictive algorithms to analyze rail conditions and determine precise rail profile management. In 2021, Loram introduced Rail Pro Infinity, which allows grinders to deploy near-infi nite grind patterns. This new grind plan ning and equipment enhancement allows customers to make the rail grinders even more productive. Customers utilizing Rail Pro Infinity can precisely remove the proper amount of metal with system atically created patterns to match desired rail profile, maximizing rail life.


In its ongoing effort to ensure the effi ciency and safety of railroad track mainte nance programs through the advancement of technology, TekTracking has intro duced TIMPS, a new digital tool for all aspects of track inspection. TekTracking’s

TIMPS, or Track Inspection, Mainte nance Planning, and Scheduling, is a plat form with mobile application aimed to help railroad managers, track inspectors, and maintenance crews meet railroad and FRA requirements for inspection frequency management, maintenance, and digital record keeping.

The TIMPS mobile application and web-hosted server provide MoW manage ment and crews with a complete picture of track maintenance and inspection status. TIMPS is designed to supplement and optimize a railroad’s current track inspection procedure.

TIMPS visualizes track geometry data feeds for automatic alerting of emerg ing defects and allows the railroad to set required remediation based on its estab lished thresholds. TIMPS also allows management and inspection teams to consolidate tools that support good track geometry, allowing users to perform direct imports of geometry and ultrasonic inspec tion vehicle data for integration into the track inspection and remediation processes.

Herzog Herzog offers geometry and joint bar inspec tion as an additional service to its existing rail flaw detection platform. With additional inspection data, railroads can further

mitigate the risk of rail failures, increase effi ciencies within their maintenance programs, and take advantage of the time inspection vehicles are on track performing scheduled ultrasonic testing (UT).

Herzog’s new geometry system assesses measurements along the track, includ ing gauge, alignment, curvature, surface, cross-level, super-elevation, warp, and twist. This light geometry test is benefi cial for use in locations that require more frequent inspections, such as areas of seismic shifts or repeated transitions from curved to tangent track.

For joint bar inspection, Herzog’s high-definition line scan cameras inte grate detailed images of both the gauge and field side of the rail joint bar into the UT software data stream for an operator to quickly identify missing bolts, broken fasteners, or cracks in the fishplate.

To expedite the final field assessment, Herzog pinpoints all potential defects using an Inertial Measurement Unit equipped with GPS, enabling a verifier to navigate on or off track to an area of concern quickly.

Plasser American Plasser American Corporation offers a wide variety of measuring systems designed to address the rail industry’s

18 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com
Photo Credit: Advanced Rail Management
INSPECTI ON Advanced Rail Management’s hi-rail geometry system.


needs. The PAC system design allows seamless third-party hardware and soft ware integration under PAC’s software suite. The data collected from all the systems are displayed in a modern and simple way. All PAC-affiliated measur ing systems satisfy both the current U.S. norms and EN 13848. Here are some details:

• Inertial navigational track geometry: The Plasser track geometry measur ing system is inertial, non-contacting, based on a navigational solution. The system measures all track geometry parameters, including track gradient, starting from speed 0 up to 200 mph. The system measures both true chords with versine and true space curves for alignment and profile.

• Rail profile measurement: The noncontacting rail profile measuring system incorporates the latest laser and video camera technology to provide immediate feedback on the rail profile and wear condition while traveling at speeds up to 200 mph.

• Corrugation (ride quality) system: The non-contacting corrugation measuring system is designed to measure and analyze corrugated rails in different wavelength ranges. The corrugation system makes use of a short, three-point asymmetrical chord. The obtained chord offset is a representation of the condition of the rail surface.

• Catenary measuring systems: For a comprehensive analysis of the cate nary wire and structures, informa tion about catenary wire geometry (CRS), catenary pole location (LPS), and catenary wire wear (WWS) are essential. All three systems are noncontact, CRS and LPS are based on laser distance measurement technol ogy, and WWS is a line scan camerabased vision system.

• Clearance measuring system: The Plasser clearance measuring system records and analyzes clearance cross cut data of the railroad track and the track surrounding structures. The data recorded by the system also can be used for ballast distribution anal ysis, adjacent track center distance measurement, platform position measurement, third-rail measurement (certain types only), and catenary wire position measurement.

• Video systems: Plasser offers a variety of video systems designed to record video images of the driver’s view, the track components, and catenary wire.

• Plasser Equivalent Conicity software: For the Plasser Equivalent Conicity system, rail profiles recorded with the rail profile measuring system are used to calculate equivalent conicity according to EN15302 and UIC-519. The recorded profiles are analyzed for a selected, user-definable wheel set. The software package also allows

offline evaluation of the rail profile data with different wheel sets. The conicity parameters calculated with the software package provide infor mation about the running behavior of a wheel set or bogie in the track.


Holland’s proprietary Argus track measurement technology offers multiple applications for railroads to inspect their railways. Its TrackStar contract testing vehicles are designed to provide track measurement data in its various dedicated and crewed vehicles for freight, transit, or short line railroads.

Argus technology offers other applica tions outside contract testing programs, such as portable and unattended systems. The track geometry market continues to trend towards increased automation, integration, and self performance. For self-performance-based solutions, porta ble inspection systems like Track Inspec tor complement traditional TrackStar GRMS geometry collection in settings like yards and branch lines. Holland has a strong focus on UGMS/ATGMS and data analytics and processing services. All Holland track measurement applications and third-party data can be combined into its Rangecam track inspection and maintenance planning software. This platform allows users to view a number of track condition data, including geometry, GRMS, rail wear, profile, and rail flaws.

20 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com TRACK GEOMETRY
Photo Credit: Nordco Nordco’s FLEX system.

Advanced Rail Management

Advanced Rail Management, a Global Rail Group company, has extended its service offerings beyond rail grinding and management of wheel- and rail-related issues to include track geometry testing. The ARM hi-rail geometry system, which utilizes a Callisto track geometry system mounted on an F550 chassis, measures all standard parameters, such as gauge (using non-contact lasers), curvature, superelevation, cross-level, twist, left and right alignment, and surface. The geometry system is used at the same time as a KLD laser rail profile system to gather infor mation on rail profiles, wear, plastic flow, and gauge-face angle.

Designed for freight and transit appli cations, the ARM track geometry vehicle operates at up to 30 mph, fits within the typical clearance envelopes found on rail transit systems, and meets requirements for FRA-mandated testing.

Nordco Nordco’s acquisition by Wabtec in April

of this year has opened up a host of new opportunities to integrate ultrasonic rail flaw detection systems with Wabtec’s port folio of equipment and services deployed worldwide. Nordco’s FLEX system allows the client to mount an ultrasonic system

on a vehicle of their choice or have Nordco supply the complete upfitted hi-rail truck. This flexibility allows the client to main tain continuity among their fleet of vehicles and choose options to fit within tight track clearances or specialized gages. Nordco’s

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 21rtands.com TRACK GEOMETRY AND INSPECTI ON
Photo Credit: ENSCO ENSCO’s URFS system.
Kawasaki Track Technologies Innovative Track Technology Solutions www.kawasaki-track.com Locomotive mounted autonomous track inspection systems for geometry measurements and fastener conditions Data analytics Maintenance platform

proprietary vision system can be added to the UT system, allowing clients to record detailed images of potential defects and inspect joint bars and ultrasonic test data. Nordco Rail Services, the rail flaw detec tion (RFD) service division, continues to

expand within the U.S. and Canada.


ENSCO Rail provides innovative and reliable automated track inspection. It recently introduced its Ultrasonic Rail

Flaw System (URFS). As a provider of automated track inspection technology, ENSCO has now broadened to incorpo rate internal rail flaw inspection into its portfolio to meet the critical need of railway clients. URFS will help railways meet regulatory requirements, prevent derailments, and keep railways running safely and efficiently.

ENSCO’s URFS utilizes all the stan dard probe orientations and is capable of being installed in hi-rails and rail-bound vehicles and operated in both stop-andverify and continuous-testing modes. ENSCO Rail’s entry into this market brings multiple capabilities to railways, including integration with other auto mated track inspection technologies, such as the patented joint bar and rail surface imaging systems and rail profile and zero-speed track geometry measurement.

ENSCO’s continued focus on URFS will deliver on railway needs includ ing increasing automation and decreas ing false positives all while adhering to ENSCO’s principles of the highest reli ability and customer support.

The Model 10 Signal

22 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com TRACK GEOMETRY AND INSPECTI ON
Photo Credit: Holland Holland’s Argus system.
reber.acacia@ensco.com | www.ensco.com/rail The Leader in Autonomous Track Inspection Recognized Industry Leader Trusted Advisor | Global Solutions Provider
WESTERN-CULLEN-HAYES, INC. 2700 W. 36th Place • Chicago, IL 60632 (773)254-9600 • Fax (773) 254-1110 Web Site: www.wch.com E-mail:wch@wch.com Since 1936, the Model 10 Signal has set the standard for railroad crossing warning devices. The Model 10 can be configured to your specifications with a 3590 series gate mechanism, plus a gate arm up to forty feet long. Then, either LED or incandescent light units, along with either a mechanical or an electronic warning bell, and the proper signage com plete the signal assembly. Please contact Western-Cullen-Hayes, for Model 10 details.


There is an Alfred out there who would not mind seeing what could be done to a hi-rail vehicle.

Batman’s right-hand man often fiddled with gadgets and such to make the Dark Knight’s mission run more smoothly. One never knows when a master villain somehow ends up on the rails and the chase quickly converts from pavement to the rail road right-of-way. You need a vehicle for that.

Hi-rail vehicles are unique all right, and while you will not see many engaging in highspeed pursuits to preserve the greater good, the equipment is vital to Maintenance-ofWay operations. Fiction aside, the equipment is perfect in its current form, and continued improvements are increasing overall produc tivity. The following is a snapshot of what is offered in the trucks/hi-rail market.

Mitchell Rail Gear

Mitchell Rail Gear manufactures rail gear for vehicles as small as utility vehicles and as large as Class 9 trucks. Mitchell also has a full line of friction drive rail gear and hydraulic drive rail gear for construction equipment.

For light-duty utility vehicles and lightduty trucks, Mitchell offers options with additional features to reduce rail gear install time. The most time-consuming part of installing rail gear on light-duty vehicles is finding places to put the power unit, hydrau lic controls valves, hand pump, and lighting. Mitchell has developed a bolt-on accessory mounting system that has a place for all those items that installers spend all their time making custom brackets to mount them and then making custom hydraulic hoses to run throughout the truck.

Mitchell’s Accessory Mounting Systems have a place for everything including premade hydraulic hoses in the form of a kit. As the rail gear is fully adjustable the installer does not have to experiment with custom spacers and does not have to risk welding something that cannot be changed. Mitch ell’s bolt-on Accessory Mounting System has taken most of the variables out of install ing rail gear on light-duty vehicles. Mitchell also recognized that most rail gear damage was the result of the rail gear getting hung up while traveling off-road, which is why Mitchell rail gear has quality approach and departure angles and rail sweeps that fold up vertically out of the way.

Mitchell hydraulic safety locks hydrauli cally lock the rail gear up and down keeping the vehicle operator out of harm’s way.

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 23rtands.com
Photo Credit: Mitchell Rail Gear
Trucks/hi-rail equipment carry out important work in the Maintenance-of-Way sector


Addressing the needs of the North American industry for improved safety, reliability, and productivity in MoW fleets, Brandt has recently upgraded its hi-rail packages for the John Deere 310/410 backhoes and the 544/624 loaders.

Brandt’s multidisciplinary engineering team has a distinguished track record with machine conversions, creating solutions in facilities in North America. Supported by experts at John Deere, the team enhanced the equipment chassis by adjusting structure and components to ensure optimal opera tion and reliability of the hi-rail unit.

These updates deliver operator safety through detailed analysis and validation of system design and associated control circuits, both standard and optional. Using components that are readily available in the North Ameri can marketplace and designing the equipment specifically for the John Deere equipment lineup makes for reliable equipment. Best-inclass productivity also is achieved through careful consideration of the operational perfor mance requirements while engineers integrate these purpose-built conversions. Collabora tion with the John Deere team ensures there is no compromise to the performance or longev ity of the base equipment.


Gradall Industries, Inc., has introduced two new railway Maintenance-of-Way machine models featuring faster maximum travel speeds on tracks to complement the highway speed travel advantages. Both equipped with Gradall’s new Rapid Drive advantage, the new models can be driven on rails from the upperstructure operator cab at speeds up to 30 mph in either direction. With a coupler

and airbrakes, Rapid Drive also provides the ability to tow along a rail car for carrying materials, like replacement ties or riprap to and from the jobsite.

The new XL 4130 V RD and XL 5130 V RD Rapid Drive models also feature the new Rexroth main hydraulic control valve system. The new system provides a 50% increase in auxiliary circuit flow to accom modate today’s new multi-function attach ments, and it also reduces the internal back pressure by 50% in the valve for better performance. All external pilot lines in the new Rexroth system are now internal to reduce the exposure of potential leak points.

Gradall’s new models also incorporate a two-speed powershift ZF transmission for extra speed and pulling ability. Equipped with optional coupler and train air options, the machines have the drawbar power to pull gondola train cars full of stone to work sites, repairing rail crossings, cleaning up land slides, replacing rails, spreading ballast, and cutting back vegetation.

The XL 4130 V RD model, with

Gradall has introduced two new railway MoW machine models.

The EQ Axle is a feature of Rosenqvist/ Pandrol machines.

highway-speed capability, weighs 54,500 lb and has a boom reach of 31 ft. Also with highway speed capability, the XL 5130 V RD weighs 62,500 lb and has a boom reach of over 34 ft.

On/off pavement Gradall railway Main tenance-of-Way machines are capable of 20-mph on-track mobility with a rugged undercarriage that works efficiently, without outriggers, in any direction. The XL 3330 V model is 47,300 lb and has a 31-ft boom reach. The XL 4330 V model weighs 43,034 lb and has a 28-ft boom reach. The XL 5330 V model weighs 55,200 lb and has a 34-ft 5-in. reach.

Industry-Railway Suppliers

Industry-Railway Suppliers, founded in 1966, is the U.S. distributor of Rosenqvist/ Pandrol machines and attachments, and a North America distributor of AREMA track tools, abrasives, heavy railroad equipment, work equipment wear parts, and mechani cal shop tools. Rosenqvist has been design ing, developing, and manufacturing rail handling solutions for over 30 years, and the

24 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com TRUCKS/HI- RAIL EQUIPM ENT
Photo Credit: Gradall, Industry-Railway, Brandt Brandt has recently upgraded its hi-rail packages.

equipment has assisted in the development of rail infrastructure in over 25 countries.

The latest model of Rosenqvist’s hi-rail attachment is equipped with the EQ Axle system. The EQ Axle offers a greater degree of stability and traction than other wheelset designs currently available, according to the company. The patent-pending floating design of the EQ Axle ensures all four wheels are in contact with the rail at all times, vastly reducing risk of vehicle derailment.

The EQ Axle enables the hi-rail machine to continuously self-adjust and distribute the working load across four wheels, thus decreasing overloading of an individual wheel and the subsequent risk of derailment. The load-bearing axles limit the force trans mitted as work is carried out.

The modular design of the EQ Axle is adjust able for multiple rail gauges. It is available in 2-speed hydraulic drive to all four wheels, and with 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive or braking. The EQ can fit up to 20-ton excavators.

Diversified Metal Fabricators

Based in Atlanta, Ga., DMF is a manufacturer

and supplier of hi-rail equipment used to build and maintain the lifeline of the railroad.

With products ranging from the RW-1013 (designed specifically for the Toyota 4Runner) to the RW-1650GX (designed for excavators), DMF is consistently making advancements and improvements to elevate the railroad industry.

For over 40 years, DMF has manufactured over 85% of all components used in its products.

With an eye toward the future, DMF is invest ing in new technology to help expand product lines and remain cost competitive, increasing parts inventory to meet same-day shipping requests, and decreasing lead times to support customer needs. In 2022, DMF was the first to introduce a 20-in. wheel modification for the GM 2500 which improves highway travel and reduces the cost burden associated with the 19.5in. commercial grade tires. In addition, DMF modernized the RW-1630 rail gear to incor porate an auto-mechanical lock system, intro duced a hydrostatic axle, and redesigned the excavator rail gear to improve side load capacity.

Omaha Track Omaha Track Equipment offers hi-rail gear

that can be used to upfit all major commer cial motor vehicles and equipment. The unique gear the company uses is virtually maintenance free and also offers lower lubri cation costs.

Currently, Omaha Track is offering models in the Kubota RTV/UTV lineup equipped with hi-rail gear. With the upfit ting process you are no longer limited to traditional terrains; you now have access to all areas of your facility using your in-place rail network. This 100% duty cycle gear was designed to meet the task at hand. The rail gear offers a “Cushion-Ride” suspension that will provide ride quality, minimized vibra tions, less component wear, and constant rail wheel-to-rail contact. No adjustments are necessary for varying loads. In addi tion to the many maintenance benefits, the hydraulic system makes access to rail safe and easy. The rail gear only adds 500 lb to the complete unit. The factory wheels and tires are still used to propel the vehicle with the use of spacers to align them with the rail. The units also can be equipped with a toll circuit for running hydraulic tools.

Railway Geotechnics covers track, track substructure, load environment, materials, mechanics, design, construction, measurements, and management. It is written primarily for professionals and graduate students.

BKGEOTECH Railway Geotechnics $230.00*

Basic Principles of Track Maintenance

Basic Principles of Track Maintenance progresses from an overview of the basic track structure to examinations of its components and ends with a comprehensive look at turnouts and right-of-way.

BKTMB Basic Principles of Track Maintenance $140.00

The Frog Gauge

Easy-to-use, this gauge is made of rugged, indestructible, composite material. Ideal for track inspectors, maintenance and welders repairing frogs. The compact gauge measures the flangeway gap and checks proper spacing for guardrails. Order 10 or more and get a 20% discount.

MSFROG Frog Gauge $40.00

Your Guide to Railway Signals

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Matthew C. Richie & Shawn R. Coombs, PE

This two-part course presents methodology for rapid condition evaluation of culverts and buried bridges that establishes a rating system to prevent failure/ washout. The system also provides a framework for managing assets, reducing risk, and prioritizing maintenance and rehabilitation.

To REGISTER or for more information, visit www.arema.org

RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP IT’S TIME TO Community Career Connections Continuing Education Technical References Committees DON’T LOSE YOUR BENEFITS, VISIT WWW.AREMA.ORG
Culvert and Storm Drain Inspection
1: November 30 | 2:00 - 4:00 PM ET Part 2: December 1 | 2:00 - 4:00
ET 4.0 PDH | Presenters:

Message From The President

roles. I have had numerous intern students assigned to me and my staff over the years. I have enjoyed talking with and mentoring these students to help them get the most out of their internships. Many of them were subsequently offered management training positions. I even had the pleasure of working with a few that came back to Engineering Services at BN and BNSF.

As I was thinking about Thanks giving, I decided to reflect on what President Theodore Roos evelt said in his 1901 Thanks giving Day proclamation: “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” We have so much to be thankful for as we get the pandemic behind us. Let us all reflect on what we are thankful for and how we might pay that forward. I am thankful for the internship opportunity that started my railroad engineering career and will share a few thoughts about internships for the benefit of the students considering a career in railroading.

As I mentioned in my September message, I started my railroad career with an intern ship with Burlington Northern Railroad. Although the details have faded, I remember that first day well. I did not have any idea what to expect or what I might be doing during the summer of 1984. I was given the opportunity to learn about the railroad and was assigned to the replacement of a small timber bridge. That summer opened my eyes to the many opportunities for a civil engineer. It also became clear that the rail industry could be a good fit for my interest in project manage ment—with the bonus of working outside some of the time. The door to a rewarding railway engineering career was opened to me by this internship opportunity.

There are two basic purposes of an internship—for the student to learn about the industry so that they can decide if rail roading is for them and for the railroad to identify students for engineering leadership

From the perspective of BNSF’s program, I will share what to expect from an intern ship—this will likely be similar to programs offered by other railroads. It is a paid posi tion that will start with a short orientation to cover the basics with travel expenses and scheduling your summer. You will typically be assigned a project to complete that will put your education and skills into practice.

these discipline areas, they are limited in comparison to the maintenance functions. As you get experience with a railroad in the engineering department, it does not mean your career is limited to the engineering department. For those who develop an interest in transportation, finance or other departments and have established strong leadership skills, it is possible your career could move in many different directions.

Advice I offer to the students—lever age the opportunity to ask many questions to get the most out of the internship. Ask questions like, What might my first job be? What will I spend most of my time doing? Ask about travel frequency and relocations. It is very common that you will need to travel extensively at times and may have to relocate as your career progresses. Travel and relo cations can bring you opportunities, both professionally and personally.

You will travel to see several crafts perform ing maintenance and construction work. Sometimes the person responsible for your internship may not have had much lead time to prepare for you. It’s important to be patient at first, reach out with questions, and express your areas of interest. If you let your interests be known, you have a good chance of getting a peek at any part of the organization you inquire about—so be sure to speak up if you are not asked. It will become evident through your intern ship that railroading is all about moving customer’s freight from one point to another. Everything done in the engineer ing department ultimately is to support providing this service safely, efficiently, and reliably. There are many different opportunities in engineering, but most staff are there to maintain the infrastruc ture—roadbed, tracks, bridges, facilities, and communication and signal systems. Although there are design functions in

Once the internship ends, expect to be asked about your experience and write a short report about what you learned and recommendations to improve the experi ence. You will be evaluated by those you interacted with and recommendations will be reviewed, which may result in a job offer after you graduate. The best outcome of an internship is to match the student’s inter ests with an area of need within the railroad that is followed up with a job offer. On the flipside, through the internship, you will quickly discover if a railroad engineering career is for you or if you should direct your career pursuits to other industries.

If you are a student reading this message, chances are you are already interested in the railroad industry. Or maybe someone you know passed this information on to you. Nearly all railroads and transit orga nizations offer internships, so I encour age students to check out their websites or access the AREMA Railway Careers Network, where internships also may be listed online. Also, leverage the AREMA network of professionals by becoming a student member, joining a committee, and participating in a student chapter, if avail able. I can assure you any AREMA member would be more than happy to give you advice and direction on internship oppor tunities that are out there.

Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy your journey until next month.

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 27rtands.com


Did you miss the AR EM A 2022 Annual C onference & E xpo in Denver, C olo.? Purchase the conference On Demand to earn PDHs, hear the Keynote Speakers, technical presentations, and more. Visit www.conference.arema.org for more information.

Don’t miss out on the conversation happening in AR EM A’s M ember Forum. The Member Forum connects you with other members allowing you to send messages, start conversations, and more. See what everyone is talking about today: https://community.arema.org/home.

Registration is now open for the AR EM A Railway Roadbed & Ballast S ymposium, Feb. 6-8, in Kansas City,

Mo. For the latest information about speakers, presentations, sponsorship, and more, visit www.arema.org.

I f you’re looking for a new podcast to binge, listen to AR EM A’s P latform C hats. It features guests from every aspect of the railway industry. Come “roll with AREMA” on your favorite streaming platform.

2023 C all For P apers: Papers are now being accepted for the AREMA 2023 Annual Conference in conjunction with Railway Interchange held in Indianapolis, Ind., from Oct. 1-4, 2023. The deadline is Dec. 9. Please visit www.arema.org for more information and to submit a paper online.

O rder the new 2022 edition of the P ortfolio of T rackwork P lans. This edition features new plans and specifications that relate to the design, details, materials, and workmanship for switches, frogs, turnouts and crossovers, crossings, rails, and other special trackwork. Order online now at www.arema.org or contact publications@arema.org for more details.





DEC. 5-6

Committee 6 - Rail Facilities, Utilities and Buildings Orlando, Fla.


JAN. 19

Committee 16 - Economics of Railway E ngineering & O perations Virtual Meeting

DEC. 8

Committee 16 - Economics of Railway E ngineering & O perations Virtual Meeting

JAN. 19-20

Committee 8Concrete Structures & Foundations Orlando, Fla.

JAN. 31-FEB. 1

Committee 15Steel Structures Atlanta, Ga.

MAY 16-17

Committee 15Steel Structures Pueblo, Colo.

JUNE 15-16

Committee 8Concrete Structures & Foundations Washington, D.C.

Join a technical committee

Joining a technical committee is the starting point for involvement in the association and an opportunity for lifelong growth in the industry. AREMA has 30 technical committees covering a broad spectrum of railway engineering specialties. Build your network of contacts, sharpen your leadership skills, learn from other members, and maximize your membership investment. You can also earn necessary PDH hours by attending committee meetings. If you’re interested in joining a technical committee or sitting in on a meeting as a guest, please contact Alayne Bell at abell@arema.org. For a complete list of all committee meetings, visit www.arema.org.

28 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com


Checking in with former AREMA Educational Foundation Scholarship Winners

Over the years, the AREMA Educational Foundation through the generosity of its donors has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships funds to students interested in a career in railway engineering. Over the next few months, we’ll be checking in with a few of these recipients to see how these funds have helped them and where they are in their careers now.

This month we’ll be checking in on two former scholarship winners and newly weds, Nao Nishio & Tom Roadcap.

AREMA: Nao, you started your rail career as an AREMA Student Chapter Member at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, how did this participation

guide you to your career goals?

Nao: My participation in AREMA at University of Illinois at Urbana-Cham paign helped me connect to many amazing AREMA members. These members definitely helped me network, provided mentorship, and gave me great career advice.

AREMA: In 2018, you were the recipient of the Committee 27 - Maintenance of Way Work Scholarship. How did this impact you while you were at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign? Nao: For me, this scholarship me helped me financially and validated that I was needed in the railroad industry.

AREMA: Tom, you also started your rail career as an AREMA Student Chapter Member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. How did involve ment with the chapter guide your career goals?

Tom: The AREMA student chapter, together with the RailTEC program at UIUC, provided me with a springboard to launch my rail career. Through it I was able to learn about the rail industry, get connected with many rail professionals, and gain valuable leadership experience.

AREMA: You won four AREMA Educational Foundation Scholarships over the course of your academic career. In 2015, you were the recipient of the

November 2022 // Railway Track & Structures 29rtands.com

AREMA is focused on your education and helping you advance in the railway industry. AREMA’s webinars provide Professional Development Hours (PDH) to serve your educational needs.

Introduction to Freight Railway Bridge Loading Webinar

Date: Thursday, Nov. 10

Time: 2-3:30 p.m.

PDH Hours: 1.5

Culvert and Storm Drain Inspection Webinar

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 30-Thursday, Dec. 1

Time: 2-4 p.m. each day

PDH Hours: 4

AREMA also offers On Demand education available to watch at any time at your convenience. Find courses like the newly released AREMA 2022 Annual Conference, the Bridge Inspection Webinar series, and even free webinars for members.

These courses are comprised of recommended practices and relevant accumulated knowledge from subject matter experts in the railroad industry. They are not intended as a regulatory qualification.

To register for these webinars and our other On Demand education, please visit www.arema.org.

CSX Scholarship. In 2016, you were the recipient of the Union Pacific William E. Wimmer Scholarship. In 2017, you received the Committee 14 - Yards & Terminals Scholarship and finally in 2018 you received the Art Worth Memorial Scholarship. How did these scholarships impact you while you were at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

Tom: That’s right—AREMA funded a notable piece of my college education. This allowed me to pursue both a BS and MS focused on rail engineering. But the impact was more than just financial; these scholarships also helped me get plugged into the rail industry. After winning the Committee 14 and Art Worth Memorial (related to Committee 4) scholar ships, I went to the committee meetings for both of these committees to thank them and ended up meeting some great folks, a few of whom I still work with today at Brightline. More importantly, these scholarships are quite humbling—both Bill Wimmer and Art Worth had an enormous impact on rail engi neering and left a legacy at AREMA—and to receive scholarships in their honor means I have some important footsteps to follow.

AREMA: You two recently married, congratulations! How did you two meet? What’s your love story? Both: Thank you! We met while we were both students at the University of Illinois studying rail engineering. We began dating then and stayed together as work took us each to different parts of the world. Right after we were married, an opportunity came up for us to move together and finally live and work in the same location again—what a blessing!

AREMA: You are both currently with Brightline. What have been your biggest accomplishments during your careers at the company? And what is it like to both work in the rail industry? Both: Brightline is an incredibly exciting place to work. We opened the first privately funded passenger rail line in decades in south Florida in 2018 and will finish construc tion on our extension to Orlando next year. We also are working on developing a future high-speed line between southern Califor nia and Las Vegas. It’s a small team working on everything, so we get the opportunity to be involved in a lot of different things. Nao’s biggest accomplishments include implement ing a new asset management system for track, structures, and signal maintenance across the

company, and setting up a new track geom etry measurement system to be mounted on one of our revenue trains in Florida. Nao previously worked at Canadian National, where she was part of a team that deployed multiple ATGMS boxcars across the CN system. Tom’s accomplishments include work on pre-construction planning for track work for Brightline West, helping manage doubletracking of the FECR corridor from West Palm Beach to Cocoa for 110-mph passenger operations, leading a project to improve grade crossing safety in south Florida, and assisting with preparation of a successful $25 million RAISE grant application for further crossing safety improvements.

AREMA: You decided to include an option to donate to the AREMA Educational Foundation on your wedding registry. What led to that decision? Both: Instead of wedding gifts, we asked our guests to donate the charities we care about the most. The AREMA Foundation is one of those, since it supported us when we were in school and we wanted to give back to an organization that helped us start our career in the rail industry. We believe that our generation is more enthusiastic about building and using passenger rail, public transit, and freight rail than previ ous generations, and we are going to need more rail engineers to help meet that need. The AREMA foundation is a way to help sponsor and encourage students that want to study rail engineering.

AREMA: Outside of your career, what do you both like to do with your spare time?

Both: Some of our most common spare time activities include attending church, going hiking or camping, reading, and traveling around the area to get to know Florida better. We both love to visit national parks and are in the middle of trying to visit all of them.

AREMA: Do you have any advice to share with other young people just starting in the rail industry or considering a career in the rail industry?

Both: If you are considering a career in the rail industry please join; we need you. Your knowledge and talent can be used in so many aspects of the rail industry. Take advantage of the AREMA student chapters and the AREMA Meet the Next Generation Event; they are the best ways to get connected to good work opportunities.

30 Railway Track & Structures // November 2022 rtands.com

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation

1. Publication: Railway Track and Structures. 2. Publication Number #860-560 3. Filing date: September 30, 2022. 4. Issue frequency: Monthly 5. Number of issues: 12. 6. Annual sub price: $100.00 7. Mailing address of known office of publication: Simmons Boardman Publishing Corp, 1809 Capital Ave, Omaha NE 68102 4905; Contact Person: JoAnn Binz, Circulation Mgr; Tel: 843 388 3808. 8. Mailing address of company headquarters: Same as above. 9. Full name and complete mailing address of publisher: Jonathan Chalon, Publisher, RT&S, 1809 Capital Ave, Omaha NE 68102 4905 Bill Wilson, Editor in-Chief, 1809 Capital Ave, Omaha NE 68102 4905. 10. Owner: Simons-Boardman Publishing Corp, 1809 Capital Ave, Omaha NE 68102 4905; Arthur J McGinnis Jr, Simmons Boardman Corp , 1809 Capital Ave, Omaha NE 68102 4905. 11. None. 12. No change in preceding 12 months. 13. Publication Title: Railway Track and Structures. 14. Issue date for Circulation data below: Avg. Oct 2021 Sept 2022; Actual Sep t 2022. 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation. 15a Total Number of Copies: Avg. 7,243; Actual 7,5 44. 15b.1. Paid/Request Mail Subscriptions: Avg. 4,741; Actual 5,3 13. 15b.4. Request Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes: Avg. 465; Actual 307. 15c.Total Paid and/or Request Circulation: Avg. 5,206; Actual 5,620.15d.1 Non request Copies: Avg. 1,999; Actual 1,750. 15d.4. Non request Copies Distributed Outside the Mail: Avg. 116; Actual 1 17 15e. Total Non-request Distribution: Avg. 2,115; Actual 1,867 . 15f. Total Distribution: Avg. 7, 321; Actual 7,487. 15g. Copies not distributed: Avg. 102; Actual 57. 15h. Total: Avg. 7,423; Actual 7,544 15i. Percent Paid and/or Request : Avg. 71.1 %; Actual 75.1%. 16a. Paid/Request Electronic Copies: Avg. 960; Actual 1,471. 16b. Total Paid/Request Print + Req/Paid Electronic Copies: Avg. 6,167; Actual 7,091. 16c. Total Print Distribution + Req/Paid Electronic Copies: 8,282; Actual 8,958. 16d. Percent Paid/Request (Print + Electronic Copies): Avg. 74.5%; Actual 79.2 %. 17. Publication will be printed in the November 2022 issue. 1 8. Signature/ Title : Jo Ann Binz, Circulation Mgr., Date 10/01/2022 - PS Form 3526 R.

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