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Rail News Home Mechanical

May 2022

Rail News: Mechanical

Product update: Special trackwork

McDonald Steel’s joint bars are produced from microalloyed steel, which is melted and manufactured in the United States with CNC machine-milled bolt holes.
Photo – McDonald Steel Corp.


Compiled by Grace Renderman, Associate Editor

McDonald Steel Corp.: Pre-drilled joint bars 

McDonald Steel Corp. has added pre-drilled standard joint bars to its product line. The joint bars will consist of microalloyed steel, melted and manufactured in the United States with CNC machine-milled bolt holes, said Mike Havalo, vice president sales and marketing, in an email. Havalo says the new product will enable the company to capitalize on the “Buy America” provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

McDonald Steel’s produces bars that are significantly less susceptible to residual stress, nicks, hole cracking and other defects that can cause the rails to separate, company officials said. The combination enables the company to meet the standards established by the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association. McDonald Steel can also produce and ship fully-customized bars, hole shapes and hole patterns designed and engineered to customer specifications. 

voestalpine Railway Systems Nortrak: BlueRoll™ MPF Extreme Duty Point Roller 

voestalpine’s BlueRoll™ MPF Extreme Duty point roller minimizes friction acting on a moveable point frog, reducing the frequency of maintenance and lubrication.

Voestalpine Railway Systems Nortrak has added a new product to the BlueRoll™ family of point rollers: the MPF Extreme Duty Point Roller. While other BlueRoll™ products focus on the switch area of a turnout, the MPF Extreme Duty model targets the friction acting on a moveable point frog. Lifting the point as it moves, the point roller reduces the need for frequent maintenance and lubrication, company officials said. The device clamps to the rail base in the tie crib at new installations or can be retrofitted to existing moveable point frog locations. The roller’s position is laterally adjustable. 

All components are designed, sourced and manufactured in the United States using the company’s integrated supply chain, which includes a domestic manganese and ductile iron foundry. All the company’s operating facilities are certified to ISO 14001:2015, in addition to ISO 9001 and AAR M-1003 quality certifications, company officials said. 

Koppers: CENTER LINER® bonded joints 

Koppers’ Short Angle Projection™ bonded joint is designed to increase longitudinal and vertical joint strength, minimizing wheel impact loads and lowering noise and vibration.
Koppers Inc.

Koppers Inc.’s patented CENTER LINER® bonded joints are designed to increase joint stiffness, extending joint longevity by integrating a high-strength insulator within the center area of the joint. Company field inspection data reports the joints can reach over one billion gross tons in capacity without significantly reducing the life of the joints, Koppers officials said. 

The fit creates mechanical wedging, delaying unzipping that typically begins at the high-stress end post area. The CENTER LINER, as well as other joints Koppers offers, are also available in a version that exceeds the AREMA high-strength standard, company officials said. Meanwhile, the patented bonded insulated joint, the Short Angle Projection™, is designed to increase longitudinal and vertical joint strength compared with traditional bonded insulated joint designs. The design minimizes wheel impact loads and lowers noise and vibration. 

Koppers’ full line of rail joint products also includes Kevlar- and fiberglass-bonded insulated joints, polyurethane-encapsulated insulated joints, polyurethane insulated tie plates and ComPly™ gauge plate and switch rod insulators. 

A&K Railroad Materials: Panelized turnouts 

A&K’s fully panelized turnouts are manufactured at the company’s Kansas City, Kansas, facility, which is AAR and ISO-certified.
A&K Railroad Materials Inc.

A&K Railroad Materials Inc. has manufactured and supplied a wide range of products for more than 60 years. The company’s Association of American Railroads/ISO-certified manufacturing facility in Kansas City, Kansas, supplies a variety of special trackwork products, from fully panelized and pre-plated turnouts to specialty components. Special trackwork products manufactured at the site are shipped to Class Is, short lines, transit agencies and other industry players, company officials said in an email. 

A&K maintains a large inventory of specialty castings and components to decrease lead time and maximize customer service, company officials said. The company also has a fleet of custom panel cars for shipment of panelized turnouts. 

Progress Rail: Heavy haul fasteners 

Progress Rail has produced special trackwork components for more than 100 years. Components include fasteners, turnout panels, frogs, braces and switch points.
Progress Rail

Progress Rail offers a full line of trackwork, components and fasteners for heavy haul and transit applications. The company’s current line includes: 

Trackwork: Complete turnout panels and replacement parts, flash-butt welded frogs, lift frogs, taper heel frogs, partial flange bearing frogs, moveable point frogs, one-way low-speed crossings and Clamptite adjustable braces. 

Specialty trackwork: Fixed and sliding buffer stops, overhead line structures, stretcher bars and hollow steel sleepers. 

Rail: Guardrails, asymmetric switch points and solid monoblock, tri-metallic welded rail leg crossings. 

Fasteners: ME Series and MACRO Armor for concrete ties and rail anchors, bonded direct fixation fasteners and e-clips. 

Progress Rail also has more than 100 years of experience in the design and manufacture of cast manganese crossings.

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