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jointed rail on main lines..

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jointed rail on main lines..
Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 7:42 PM

I watched a youtube video recently of a CP grain train just east of Revelstoke in central BC from 1982. The trio of SD40s seemed familiar to me.. that was the predominant power back then. Same with the colorful government hoppers.. they're etched in my memory as well. But I was surprised to see in the video that the rail appeared to be jointed..I sure don't remember that detail! Are there still sections of mainline with jointed track or is everything welded now?  I would have thought that CP's mainline through BC, as important as it is, would have been welded rail by 1982. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 8:17 PM

mudchicken would be more of a expert in this area.

My belief is that rail has a 'normal' life span of somewhere between 30 & 50 years in tangent profiles, shorter lifespans in curves.  I would guess that after railroads were 'run into the ground' during WW II, there likely would have been a lot of rail replacement in the 40's and early 50's - thus starting the clock on the lifespan.  1982 would have been nearing the end of the 30 year lifespan period.  Railroads first began using welded rail in the 1950's, mostly on a 'experimental basis' to develop data about its longevity and maintenance factors.  The didn't begin to adopt welded rail as the norm until sometime in the 1960's.  In the 21st Century welded rail is the norm - somewhere, there may still be jointed rail that for whatever reason has yet to be replaced. 

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 8:32 PM

BaltACD
In the 21st Century welded rail is the norm - somewhere, there may still be jointed rail that for whatever reason has yet to be replaced. 

I'm sure you'll find plenty on short lines.  And on tourist lines.  Ours is currently good for 40+MPH after a rehab.

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Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 9:05 PM

There is still some on the ex Monon north of Lafayette In.  It is an Amtrak route.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 9:42 PM

To BaltACD's excellent and informative point:

The Twin Cities & Western operates the former Milwaukee Road Western Extension mainline west from Minneapolis that was 132-lb jointed rail laid before the Milwaukee went under.

With a shortline taking over, the traffic volume was and is much lower than on the mainlines of the continuing Class I railroads..

About 4-5 years ago, the TC&W installed "plugs" into the rail and eliminated the joints, thereby converting it into welded rail.

The now-welded rail will be in use for many years yet to come.

The mainline is in excellent shape and hosts MILW 261 on annual excursions, as well as unit grain trains pulled pulled and pushed by BNSF run-through power, and daily eastbound and westbound freights to St. Paul Pig's Eye Yard.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 11:01 PM

My understanding is that the lifetime of rail depends on the gross tonnage that passes over it. The Diesel Fried Chicken guy said that with proper maintennance of rail and wheels, the rails could be good for over a billion gross tons.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 11:24 PM

Erik_Mag
My understanding is that the lifetime of rail depends on the gross tonnage that passes over it. The Diesel Fried Chicken guy said that with proper maintennance of rail and wheels, the rails could be good for over a billion gross tons.

I don't know the exact 'lifetime' of rail.  What I do know is that when rail is approaching its 'end of life'; the number of broken rail incidents increases at a much higher rate that it did when the rail was new or 'in its prime'.

When I was working, I would keep track of track/signal incidents that happened on my Division that were identified by location and what failed as a part of my job responsibilities.  The number of broken rails that would happen on rail that was past its 'replace by' date was really astounding. 

The 'discovery' process for a broken rail was normally a train operated through a track segment and after the train cleared the segment, the track occupancy light stayed on.  During cold weather months, both the signal maintainer and Roadmaster for the affected segment would be notified to inspect the segment.  98% of the time the cause was a broken rail - the rail having broken under the train as it passed.

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 2:39 AM

Jointed rail, tonnage dependant, was still being laid into the 1960's and 1970's. Amtrak is till running over that today, but that is quickly coming to an end. (132# jointed is still out there, but that stuff in western Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico is just about all replaced now.) It's a b_tch to deal with end batter, surface bent rail, worn joints and bolts and joint ties with no budget, people or proper machinery. The stuff will go on forever on sidings, backtracks, yards and shortlines. Stuff lighter than 112/115# , compromise/step joints et al will be harder and harder to come by. Cropping and welding that stuff in face still happens, but that is going away. I do not miss dealing with that stuff and secondhand CWR is a blessing if you can get the matching plates and OTM to cascade into your yards and bactracks. There is a glut of SH-CWR rail right now, but the plates and related OTM are in short supply.

M

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 5:07 AM

CN, exIC still has 112/115 lbs jointed rail on the Omaha line.  Some with 1940s dates on it.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 8:36 AM

jeffhergert

CN, exIC still has 112/115 lbs jointed rail on the Omaha line.  Some with 1940s dates on it.

Jeff

 

RF&P trackage through the town of Ashland VA had 1940 production dates on the rails into the late 1990's.  

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Posted by OWTX on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 12:43 PM

Track gang was on the Monon last summer.

Ex Alton KC line, maybe still?

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 4:05 PM

OWTX

Track gang was on the Monon last summer.

Ex Alton KC line, maybe still?

Chicago Missouri River & Western RR (Venango) made plenty of questionable decisions, never standardized on much of anything and left a mess for those that followed. 

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by timz on Thursday, March 9, 2023 11:49 AM

Ulrich
I would have thought that CP's mainline through BC, as important as it is, would have been welded rail by 1982.

In 1982 jointed rail was common on many halfway-important lines. Dunno if that 1980 UP track chart is online, but I suspect it shows many hundreds of unwelded track-miles Omaha-LA and Granger-Portland.

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Posted by MP173 on Sunday, March 12, 2023 7:16 PM

I travelled adjacent to the ex Monon today, north of Lafayette to Monon.  The old stick rail has been replaced with CWR.  

North of Monon on the ex Michigan City line (now only to Francesville) there is stick rail.  That line services a couple of grain elevators plus a few small industries.

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Posted by ns145 on Sunday, March 12, 2023 8:12 PM

mudchicken

 

 
OWTX

Track gang was on the Monon last summer.

Ex Alton KC line, maybe still?

 

Chicago Missouri River & Western RR (Venango) made plenty of questionable decisions, never standardized on much of anything and left a mess for those that followed. 

 

 

ICG didn't exactly give them much to work with.  I moved to Normal, IL to attend Illinois State University in 1987 just as the CM&W began operations.  Pretty much everything was in bad shape.  It was quite evident that the ICG hadn't done any substantive maintenance after the GM&O merger in 1972.

KCS' Springfield Sub between Murrayville, IL and Springfield, IL still has jointed rail that dates back to the 1940's.  Most of the rest of KCS' former Gateway Western trackage has been relaid with welded rail, including the branch to Jacksonville, IL which now serves a large loop-loading grain terminal.  KCS has also installed a new ABS signalling system.  Definitely not the same railroad that the CM&W and Gateway Western left behind.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, March 12, 2023 8:30 PM

The A&WP subdivision north of LaGrange , Ga had 1902  112# stick  rail that had been cropped and made into ribbon rail.  When & where it came from have not found out. Just as the BNSF haulage trains from Birmingham started it was replaced by 136 # welded rail.  That included all new tie plates,

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Posted by ns145 on Monday, March 13, 2023 6:26 AM

.

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Posted by MP173 on Monday, March 13, 2023 6:33 AM

ns145:

Any idea of the frequency of those KCS grain trains out of Jacksonville?  My travels to Mt. Sterling and Quincy over the years allowed me to stop in J'ville from time to time. Out of the blue, that loop track appeared.  Just a guess but that is probably long haul corn for Mexico...quite a nice movement for KCS.

That NS line west of Springfield is not very active these days.  

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Posted by OWTX on Monday, March 13, 2023 9:59 AM

I strongly recommend the off topic comments in this Frailey blog post:

https://cs.trains.com/trn/b/fred-frailey/archive/2019/05/01/a-failed-railroad-lives-on.aspx

in regards to the economics of track structure and the drive to CWR and modern roadbed construction techniques.

 

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Posted by ns145 on Monday, March 13, 2023 10:42 AM

MP173

ns145:

Any idea of the frequency of those KCS grain trains out of Jacksonville?  My travels to Mt. Sterling and Quincy over the years allowed me to stop in J'ville from time to time. Out of the blue, that loop track appeared.  Just a guess but that is probably long haul corn for Mexico...quite a nice movement for KCS.

That NS line west of Springfield is not very active these days.  

Ed

 

1-3 trains a week perhaps.  Seems like trains sit on the loading loop for a day or two before a crew comes up from East St. Louis to take it west. And, yes, all those trains are headed to Mexico.

If you want to see anything on the NS line, it's the early morning hours or bust.  120, 256, and 258 go east between 6 AM and 11 AM, then nothing moves for hours.  If you get lucky there might be a late running westbound in the mix.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, March 13, 2023 10:49 AM

Although no longer a "main line" in the literal sense, there is still quite a bit of jointed rail used by Amtrak's Southwest Chief on the Raton Pass line.  Most of it is in New Mexico.  As "Mudchicken" stated, most in Kansas and in Colorado east of La Junta has been replaced or will be soon.  But there are still some sections in NM with an uncertain future.  Some of this track is quite rough.

The jointed rail will probably await replacement until a permanent future of the line is secured.  IF that is, that happens at all.

Another candidate although, once again, no longer a "true mainline" in every sense, would be SP's former Coast Line used by Amtrak's Coast Starlite.  I have ridden this line a number of times over the years, although not lately, and my best guess is that there is still a lot of jointed rail outside of the commuter districts (south of Salinas and north  of Santa Barbara or, I should say in SP's old terms, EAST of Salinas and WEST of Santa Barbara).

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, April 10, 2023 10:18 PM

Happened to peruse a derailment report from a 1940 derailment in the town where I live - cause was a broken rail as the locomotive traversed the rail.  There was some discussion on the testing that was done - when the rail was rolled and when it was tested after the derailment

DOT PlaneandTrainWrecks

According to a statement by Engineer of Tests Hodeman, the rail involved was a 39-foot, 130-pound R. E, rail, rolled at the Maryland plant of the Bethlehem Steel Co., February 1931. The heat number was 74098, the ingot number was 4, and it was the sixth rail in the ingot. Chemical analysis at the time of rolling was as follows:

Element                                  Percent         Spec. No. 163-J Percent
Carbon                                   .82                 .72           -         .89
Manganese                           .69                 -               .70     .50           -               .90
Phosphorus                          .017               .04 Max.
Sulphur                                  .025               -               -         -
Silicon                                    .25                 .15 Min.

Chemical analysis of borings taken from one of the pieces of the broken rail was as follows:

Element                                  Gage side Percent                Outside Percent
Carbon                                   .77                                           .72
Manganese                           .62                                           .60
Phosphorus                          .022                                         .021
Sulphur                                  .015                                         .014
Silicon                                    .27                                           .26

Note: The carbon content is lower than the average for he specification, and is between .05 and .10 percent lower than the ladle analysis. The "A" rails from the ingot were rejected at the mill because of doubtful quality.

Examination of the broken rail disclose that there was an old, progressive crack, located from 7/16 to 5/8 inch below the top of the head, and extending horizontally a distance of 5-3/4 inches and across the full width of the head. At one end of the horizontal crack there was another old crack 1 inch wide extending downward about 1/4 inch; at the other end of the Horizontal crack there was another crack the width of the head and extending downward 7/8 inch; a section about 4 inches from the break showed a "pipe" condition and segregation of metal. The rail was curve-worn but not to the condemning limit. 

Several transverse and longitudinal sections were prepared by breaking or sawing, polishing, and etching. Examination of these sections showed longitudinal streaks of bright metal indicating a segregated condition in the head, about 1/4 inch below the horizontal crack, over which the upper part of the head was missing. A section about 4 inches from the break showed a small pipe in the lower part of the head and streaks of bright metal in the head and web and a continuation of the horizontal crack into the head. A section made by separation of the metal, which condition was probably also present in the piece of the head which was missing.

Interesting that some rails from that ingot were rejected for quality issues.

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Posted by mudchicken on Monday, April 10, 2023 11:53 PM

In 1940 it was still the heyday of open hearth (OH). Controlled cooling (CC) rail had just started to appear (1938) and testing/ QC methods were crude. Vaccum treating was still 45 years in the future. Keeping track of heat numbers and matching them against rail failures was a full time job. (130# rail is oddball)

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 6:04 PM

mudchicken
In 1940 it was still the heyday of open hearth (OH). Controlled cooling (CC) rail had just started to appear (1938) and testing/ QC methods were crude. Vaccum treating was still 45 years in the future. Keeping track of heat numbers and matching them against rail failures was a full time job. (130# rail is oddball)

Looking back at the report - The derailment happened August 25, 1940 and the official report is dated October 15, 1940.  VERY FAST in comparison with the current NTSB's 9 months to 2 or more years.

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 7:09 PM

BaltACD

 

 
mudchicken
In 1940 it was still the heyday of open hearth (OH). Controlled cooling (CC) rail had just started to appear (1938) and testing/ QC methods were crude. Vaccum treating was still 45 years in the future. Keeping track of heat numbers and matching them against rail failures was a full time job. (130# rail is oddball)

 

Looking back at the report - The derailment happened August 25, 1940 and the official report is dated October 15, 1940.  VERY FAST in comparison with the current NTSB's 9 months to 2 or more years.

 

 

The Investigator to Lawyer ratio was the inverse of what it is today.

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