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Rail News Home Mechanical

January 2023

Rail News: Mechanical

Rail wheel, axle, brake and bearing suppliers share their latest product/service offerings

A. Stucki Co. and its divisions supply rail-car wheelsets, axles, bearings and a range of maintenance and reconditioning services.
Photo – A. Stucki Co. 


Compiled by Michael Popke

A. Stucki Co. 

American Industries, Stucki Roller Bearing, Seco Machine and Magnus — all divisions of A. Stucki Co. — are certified by the Association of American Railroads to provide freight-car and locomotive wheelsets with new or reconditioned wheels, axles and roller bearings. 

American Industries provides interchange-usable or second-hand repairable axles and repaired locomotive roller bearings. Meanwhile, Seco Machine provides new rail-car axles and axle-reconditioning services; Stucki Roller Bearing offers reconditioning services for AAR bearings; and Magnus markets axle thrust bearings and journal bearings. 

Birmingham Rail & Locomotive (BR&L), another Stucki company, offers wheel- and axle-recontouring services, plus wheel-contouring services at customer locations. 

Additionally, RollGuard™ Group N and Group O hand brakes and brake beams from Stucki include braking power and handling features designed to enable operators to reliably control rail cars. The hand brakes have sealed bearings on both ends to support improved characteristics over commonly used journal bearings, with tight tolerances on all elements. Corrosive, damaging elements and debris are kept out while vital grease remains, company officials said in an email. 

A sealed bearing virtually eliminates the damage washing rail cars typically causes to hand brake parts; the design also minimizes rolling resistance and sliding while providing greater accuracy and durability, company officials said. The use of a clutch composed of wide-diameter bearings extends life and fatigue resistance, they added.  

Calder Design and Manufacturing 

Calder Design’s inventory includes EMD 61T, 62T and 70T, GE 74T and 83T, and GE U Tube (shown) and EMD BTR wheelsets.
Calder Design and Manufacturing

Calder Design and Manufacturing offers comprehensive service and management of wheelset stock via what company officials call a “pay as you use,” monthly-based fee. Calder stocks several wheelsets for EMD and GE locomotives, plus passenger and freight cars. Inventory includes the EMD 61T, 62T and 70T, GE 74T and 83T, and GE U Tube and EMD BTR wheelsets.  

To provide same-day shipping of its stock, the company also has invested in new machinery, including CNC lathes, presses and heat inductors. 

New York Air Brake LLC  

Shown: New York Air Brake’s DB-60 IITM with four-port receiver.
New York Air Brake LLC

The DB-60 II™ with Brake Cylinder Maintaining™ (BCM) — a state-of-the-art brake control valve developed by New York Air Brake LLC (NYAB) — recently gained a key industry distinction. In November 2022, the Association of American Railroads upgraded the BCM feature from conditional to unconditional approval, making NYAB the only supplier granted full approval for the technology, company officials said.  

The BCM is a patented brake control valve feature designed to improve braking performance by replenishing air pressure when a leak occurs in the brake cylinder. The technology enables freight cars to stay in service longer by maintaining brake cylinder pressure. 

Introduced in 2015, the DB-60 II with BCM is built on the platform of NYAB’s DB-60™ brake control valve. The BCM design preserves brake pressure at unprecedented levels for greater stopping power to increase safety, company officials said, adding that braking stays reliable with 85% of effective braking effort that would otherwise be lost to leakage. The BCM feature helps reduce downtime, lower life cycle costs/total cost of ownership of freight cars and increase profitability for operators, NYAB officials said.  

The DB-60 II with BCM is available worldwide in all AAR markets; DB-60 control valves without BCM also can be retrofitted with the feature. 

Penn Machine Co. LLC  

Penn Machine Co.’s offerings include (from left) resilient wheels, wheelsets and gears. 
Penn Machine Co.

Penn Machine Co. LLC manufactures wheels, wheelsets, axles, gears and gearboxes. The equipment is used for OEM and aftermarket applications in the transit, rail, industrial and mining sectors. The company also services and rebuilds transit gearboxes and wheelsets.  

Penn Transit, the company’s transit division, offers a wide selection of resilient and solid wheels, standard and low-floor axles in solid and hollow designs, gearbox repair services and the capability to assemble complete wheels. Meanwhile, Penn Locomotive Gear manufactures a full range of gears, pinions, and armature shafts for freight- and commuter-rail applications worldwide. 

For nearly a century, Penn Machine and its predecessors have provided customers in the manufacturing and mining sectors with OEM and aftermarket gearing and gearboxes. Penn Machine’s engineering department uses the most up-to-date computer software and hardware to prepare the necessary drawings that ensure dimensional accuracy of the wheels, gears and gearboxes, company officials said.  

Penn Machine is part of the Marmon Group, a global organization of diverse businesses owned by Berkshire Hathaway Corp. 

Wabtec Corp. 

Shown: the ABDX-CMHW Control Valve with ABX Pipe Bracket and Front Integral 4-Port Receiver.
Wabtec Corp.

Wabtec Corp. offers ABDX-CM (Cylinder Maintaining) and ABDX-CMHW (Cylinder Maintaining and Hot Wheel Protection) components. 

During a service brake application, if brake cylinder air is leaking and reducing a braking effort, the CM feature directs air from the brake pipe into the brake cylinder to provide a more uniform braking effort, company officials said. When braking on long grades, the feature reduces the need to apply a heavier brake application to compensate for lower braking effort due to brake cylinder leakage. (Note: The CM feature is not available during an emergency application.)  

Similarly, if brake cylinder pressure increases unintentionally during a service brake application, Wabtec’s HW feature vents the higher-than-expected brake cylinder pressure to minimize excessive wheel temperatures. It provides a more uniform braking effort throughout the train (especially during long-grade braking) and reduces potential thermal mechanical shelling due to high wheel temperature caused by excessive cylinder pressure, company officials said.

Michael Popke is a Madison, Wisconsin-based freelance writer. Email comments or questions to

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