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Rail News Home C&S

October 2014

Rail News: C&S

Product focus: Switch stands

— Compiled by Walter Weart

National Trackwork Inc.

National Trackwork Inc. (NTI) products are designed for safe operator use, increased efficiency, and quick and easy installation, maintenance and adjustment, as well as low initial investment, the company said in an email. NTI recently introduced the 1002RG yard stand (shown) — a run-through stand that is designed to be rugged, easy to throw, simple and quick to maintain, adjust and install, the company said.

The 1002RG features "positive lock" foot latches for safe switching operations, and is available with a taller target mast and optional "safe view" solar-powered light. The lamps use no power, mount quickly and easily, and "last thousands of hours with no maintenance," the company said.

NTI also offers the 9955 Keeper Chain to positively secure the handle in the latch bracket for an extra degree of safety. The device fits all stands.

Additionally, the company offers "Flood Guard" switch stand technology that raises the operating mechanism for flooded, paved or "difficult" surfaces, the company said.

NTI also markets the Model B Mechanical Switchman "to rebuild or new," the company said. These units also use no power, and are easy (and quick) to install and adjust, the company said.

Other NTI offerings include:

  • The Solar Model 1500 and Electric Model 1100 Switch Machines with remote control, standard spiking pattern and connecting rod, and directional lights. Both units incorporate a "rugged, reliable design" with no hydraulics, the company said.
  • The NTI 1008ARS, a mainline stand with backsaver handle that the company characterized as "a value leader that's available with many target shapes, sizes and color schemes."

voestalpine Nortrak Inc.

For many years, voestalpine Nortrak Inc. has offered the Racor line of manual switch stands and the hybrid Racor Automater, which combines the fully trailable 22 stand with a solar or AC-powered electro-hydraulic drive, said Vice President of Marketing Ken Ouelette in an email. The most recent addition to the Racor line is the Automater HT.

HT stands for "hand throw" — voestalpine Nortrak replaced the manual fallback hydraulic hand pump on the Automater with a robust mechanical hand-throw lever, Ouelette said.

"If problems develop with communications or power systems, or even if the hydraulic actuator, hoses and motor are completely removed from the machine, the Automater HT can still be operated in manual mode in the same way as a traditional mainline switch machine," he said.

Setting the selector lever from power mode to hand mode mechanically disengages the power drive from the switch points, enabling the operator to gain control of the points through movement of the hand-throw lever.

"With the Automater HT, if anything happens to affect the power drive, there is no need for yard crews to refer to special fallback instructions, and maintenance forces don't need to be called out on overtime for repairs," Ouelette said.

Walter Weart is a Denver-based freelance writer. Email comments or questions to


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