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Railroads seek material management equipment that can handle and distribute more material, faster. With work windows becoming tighter and production equipment not always so easily available, efficiency is paramount. Brandt Rail Services has developed a distribution platform designed to meet these demands: the OTM Tracker system.
Recently, Brandt developed equipment that can handle concrete ties, which are shipped to customer locations by various means. Once at a customer siding, the concrete ties generally are loaded onto a distribution platform. For customers, a goal was to eliminate the need to double-handle the tie before it is placed at the installation location. A single, fully integrated maintenance machine, the OTM Tracker has met that challenge and customers have been satisfied with the productivity, efficiency and safety of the system, Brandt officials say.
The company also completes customer projects using its fleet of Brandt Power Units to move materials in and out of projects, from yards to remote project locations.
Custom Truck & Equipment’s CTE Spec 755 Material Handler with railgear features a heavy-duty, 22-foot platform with abrasion-resistant plate steel floor for long life.
Other standard equipment includes heavy-duty railgear with stub axle insulation, a high-capacity loader, a 12/24 volt magnet system, a heavy-duty railroad grapple and rotator, an LED lighting package and a 410 horsepower vocational chassis with an Eaton Fuller 8LL manual transmission.
Options include a trailer hitch package, hydraulic tool circuit, shunt system, creep drive system and a hydraulic magnet system.
“The CTE Material Handler is a versatile piece of equipment that can be configured for a variety of applications,” the company says.
The company also offers the CTE Spec 760 Rotary Dump Truck with railgear, which features a 14-foot heavy-duty elliptical dump body made of rugged, abrasion-resistant 450 steel for long life. The AR450 steel body is suited for the abrasive high-impact materials typically hauled in a rotary dump truck, the company says.
Georgetown Rail Equipment Co.’s (GREX) SlotMachine® and SPS® enable railroads to tackle a range of material handling jobs — from ditch cleaning to tie distribution to brush cutting to aggregate delivery — quickly and efficiently.
Railroads can choose from the self-powered SPS or provide their own locomotive to power the SlotMachine. Both solutions consist of a series of short gondolas without the end bulkheads. An onboard excavator is free to move the entire length of the train while seated safely and securely on the floor — there’s no need to crawl from car to car. Setup and tie down take minutes and tasks can be switched in under an hour, the company says.
The SPS is also a key component of the GREX tie set out solution. The company uses its Aurora® tie inspection system,which scans tracks to identify ties in need of replacement.
A Tie Maintenance Optimizer app then takes into account factors such as tie gang direction, the location of bridges and crossings, and max bundle size to calculate where and how many ties to set out with the SPS. Since the SPS can be remotely operated, a single excavator operator can offload “the right amount of ties right where maintenance crews need them,” the company says.
Herzog Railroad Services Inc.’s Automated Tie-Down Car is a technologically advanced rail train clamping system. The remote controlled clamps can be operated from the rail unloading car, minimizing the effects of inclement weather conditions — and eliminating the slips and falls associated with workers climbing up and down the tie-down car’s ladders.
Once the command is given to remove the two rail clamps that secure each string of rail, the user is free to pull the selected rail(s) within a few seconds. The total holding strength is double that of a standard manual tie down car, the company says.
Sensors on the hydraulic clamping system transmit their position to the remote control, and LED indicators on the remote allow the operator to see that information and confirm that the clamps either are applied or released. These features also increase efficiency and safety at the rail welding facility during the rail train loading process.
The Automated Tie-Down Car can be designed to accommodate any rail train up to a 60-pocket configuration. To further improve efficiency and safety, it can be used with the Herzog Rail Unloading Machine, or R.U.M.
NMC Railway Systems recently updated its NMC CTC08E Tie Crane, which is designed for railroad tie placing and material handling projects, and offers “a modern approach to railroad tie handling,” the company says.
The tie crane’s compact design allows for increased lift capacity with “exceptional” swing speed, and with its precise tool control, the machine is able to deliver enhanced tie handling agility, the company says. As a Tier 4 final unit, it doesn’t require DEF fluid, and regeneration is transparent to the operator and does not require stopping for regeneration. It also boasts a fuel burn average of two gallons per hour, the company says.
“We’ve seen growth in the need for a more compact piece of material handling equipment that still has the capabilities to move up and down the track lines,” company officials say. “Operators of the Tie Crane can now effectively handle concrete and wood ties in a more efficient manner. The innovative on-track drive solution on the Tie Crane also allows for greater visibility and enhanced tie placement and accuracy. Designed to provide maximum power for material handling and transport, the Tie Crane is engineered to enhance ease of use for its operators.”
L.B. Foster Co. has invested in rail trains to transport and deliver continuous welded rail (CWR) to meet growing demand. Throughout North America, L.B. Foster delivers CWR using its own train fleet.
To further enhance the safety of crews unloading CWR, the company has taken additional steps. On pan-cars, safety stops in the slide channels of the vertical control rollers have been added. On all the train walkways, safety railing also has been installed.
As railroads continue to outsource the rail offloading function, L.B. Foster continues to promote project management services. “Upon request, we will provide an unloader operator to oversee rail unloading,” the company says.
Using new methodologies in project management and equipment, the company says it has reduced the time it takes to unload CWR trains on site from three or four days to two days when unloading out of face. L.B. Foster also executes Curve Patch Unloading. The company will go to various locations along the track, unload the predetermined amount and length of rail, and then tie everything down.
As railroads seek to renew their traditional rail handling fleets, they’re looking to gain production efficiencies as well as improve employee safety. Loram Maintenance of Way Inc.’s Raptor is a rail handling system that can load 3,000 feet of rail per hour and “provides a better solution for the entire process of rail relay as opposed to a system focused solely on rail delivery,” the company says.
The Raptor also diminishes the risk of injury by reducing human interaction and retaining total control of the rail during the loading/unloading process.
The lifecycle of rail includes four primary logistical components: transport of rail from steel mill or ship to welding plant, delivery of CWR from plant to trackside, pick-up of relay rail for reuse or re-welding, and pick-up and disposition of scrap rail. The Raptor’s modular design can “easily adapt” to a family of machines that provides service in any of these four areas — the rail handling system’s design features “anticipate future expected changes of rail size and long rail delivery needs,” the company says.
Omaha Track Equipment custom builds, fabricates and maintains a range of maintenance-of-way equipment, specializing in hi-rail trucks, cranes and other rail-related products for North American railroads and contractors. The company’s state-of-the-art shop in Omaha, Neb., was built in 2009.
“We bring hands-on expertise of fabricating and using MOW equipment in actual railroad working conditions to the field of railroad equipment,” company officials say.
Omaha Track also offers a range of trucks for lease or purchase. The company’s management team has “extensive experience” in the design and construction of railroad equipment: “If you can design it, we can build it,” company officials say.
The Railquip Inc. DH1220 Telescoping Boom Railway Crane features box type fixed booms — rather than employing wire ropes and sheaves, these cranes use hydraulic cylinders, eliminating numerous mechanical parts. The lower profile of the telescoping boom allows operators and rescue crews to work under catenary, bridges, inside stations and in tunnels; only one outrigger is required, so set up time is much quicker. Because of the telescoping boom, the hook can be positioned over the load much quicker.
For track and bridge construction, these self-propelled cranes offer several features that aren’t available on other railway cranes, the company says. A double slewing ring enables the boom to swivel to the side, while the counterweight remains within the gauge — an important feature when working on parallel adjacent tracks.
For use in areas of super-elevated curves, the DH1220 is equipped with a self-compensating leveling system: The cabin, boom and super carriage remain level while the undercarriage compensates for up to seven inches of differential without affecting the lifting capacity, the company says.
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