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L.B. Foster Co. has been marketing the Tracksure™ range of patented nut locking devices in North America since 2013. Used in a variety of trackwork applications such as large diamond crossings, the product is designed to prevent nut loosening as a result of vibration and settlement. By securing the joint more effectively — thereby reducing railroad downtime, reducing bolt fatigue and allowing for quicker and simpler service where necessary — the Tracksure bolt offers significant benefits in maintenance-intensive and safety-critical applications, the company said.
Extensively tested and approved by freight and passenger railroads around the world, the Tracksure bolt has been "successfully trialed" at major transit agencies in North America and is used by Class Is, the company said. Suitable for OEM applications, the bolt can be retrofitted to existing track. The locking device consists of a modified bolt with a reverse thread added to the end, which accommodates both the original nut and a Tracksure locking nut. The locking nut is applied to the reverse thread until it tightens against the original nut. A serrated steel locking cap then pushes down over both the original nut and the Tracksure nut, held in place with a spring clip.
If the original nut starts to loosen, even microscopically, the locking nut tightens on the reverse thread with the locking cover combining both actions, ensuring a fail-safe bolt fixing, the company said. The Tracksure can be "simply maintained and does not require expensive capital equipment to install," the company said.
New product development is and will continue to be a top priority at Atlantic Track, company officials said.
"While we are scheduled to introduce some new special trackwork items and products in the area of rail fastening this year, our primary focus for 2015-2016 has been methodology and efficiency," said Jeff Grissom, Atlantic Track's vice president of engineering and operations.
For example, Atlantic Track recently completed a nearly 15,000-square-foot expansion of its Memphis, Tenn., facility. The newly expanded facility has allowed the company to develop additional dedicated, product-specific manufacturing work centers for compromise rails, guard rails and plate work.
"The dedicated product lines promote a great degree of workforce efficiency, repeatability and quality control," Grissom said.
In addition, the company purchased and is installing an advanced switch point machining center, which will be in operation by April or May.
"This machining center will also be almost solely dedicated to producing switch points and other products that require similar processing methods," Grissom said.
This year, Atlantic Track plans to equip its plants with computerized numerical control and robotic work centers "to better meet our customers’ expectations/requirements and expedite the manufacturing process," Grissom said.
Progress Rail Services, a subsidiary of Caterpillar, offers a full line of track infrastructure for the railroad and transit industries, including turnouts, crossing diamonds and replacement components for all sizes and designs.
High impacts on turnouts and crossing diamonds can affect overall lifecycle cost. Progress Rail designs products designed to eliminate or minimize these impacts to reduce maintenance and increase overall product life.
In addition to a lift frog, Progress Rail has developed a vertical switch that eliminates the traditional interface between the switch point and stock rail, creating a "seamless, invisible turnout for mainline traffic," the company said, adding that "a number of vertical switches" are installed with lift frogs in heavy tonnage Class I service.
Meanwhile, Progress Rail continues to develop and improve its full flange bearing design. The company's OWLS crossing diamond eliminates the flange gap on the mainline. The full flange bearing crossing diamond eliminates the wheel tread contact at the flange opening, which typically creates high impacts and leads to accelerated maintenance costs and eventual replacement of castings and subcomponents.
The full flange bearing diamond is designed for speeds up to 60 mph in mainline Class I service.
Progress Rail's acquisition of Amsted RPS will further complement and expand the company’s product line for special trackwork for the transit and freight markets.
"[We have] an extensive R&D program to develop improved products for the industry," the company said. "Progress Rail's UK subsidiary also has products available for transit and high-speed markets."
More than 25 years ago, voestalpine Nortrak introduced the moveable point frog (MPF) to the North American freight market. Since that time, the MPF has demonstrated "extraordinary performance in the continent's most critical heavy-haul routes, while Nortrak has continued to offer the industry’s most advanced frog technology," said Vice President of Marketing Ken Ouelette.
The company recently introduced the next generation of moveable point frog, the MPF-TW, which uses TW (thick web) rail and was developed for operating environments with axle loads greater than 40 tons.
"The MPF-TW retains the same functional features that made the original MPF so successful: reliability, long service life, low maintenance requirements, superior ride quality and reduced noise," Ouelette said. "As all components are manufactured in the USA, the MPF-TW also offers the advantage of full 'Buy America' compliance."
The company also offers Welded Boltless Manganese (WBM®) frogs, which are designed for Class I heavy-haul service. The design utilizes explosive depth hardened manganese steel and eliminates all rail joints, which reduces the need for maintenance and leaves the frog unaffected by continuous-welded rail thermal stresses.
Meanwhile, the company's Welded Spring Manganese (WSM®) frogs feature wear-resistant manganese steel — they can be welded when worn because of the high-solidity casting, the company said. The WSM presents a continuous running surface along the mainline route; when coupled with the Nortrak Spring Wing Controller, the operation of the wing for the diverging route is “smooth and controlled," Ouelette said.
Cleveland Track Material Inc. (part of the Vossloh North America group) is a full-line manufacturer of special trackwork for freight and passenger railroads. "Vossloh has built a reputation delivering some of the most complex turnouts and crossings in North America, and is known for supplying specialized material for unique track structures such as bridges," the company said.
Turnouts and crossings can be supplied as panel switches — pre-plated, packaged and color marked. Turnout components include switch points, frogs and crossing diamonds, joint bars, brace and plate systems, and guard rails.
The Hook Flange Guard Rail features a special rolled rail steel guard and fixed tie plate design to improve lateral stability, maintain line and gage, and enhance the overall service life of the frog. The Hook Flange Guard Rail is available in a number of lengths and configurations, including variable tie plate designs and spacing options, and an adjustable flangeway. The Hook Flange Guard Rail is suitable for both mainline and yard applications; common designs include Design 751, Design 752, U-69 Design and Concrete Tie Design.
UNITRAC Railroad Materials Inc. is a quality-certified company that offers an array of special trackwork solutions, including new frogs, switch points and plating. UNITRAC's railbound manganese and solid manganese frogs meet AREMA specifications and can be furnished with or without accessories.
The company also offers switch points, switch point protectors and switch rods; track fasteners and rail clips; and turnouts in a variety of layout options and delivery configurations.
"UNITRAC's policy is to provide products and services that meet our customer's requirements for quality and on-time delivery," said President Phil Pietrandrea. "UNITRAC is constantly seeking ongoing improvements to ensure that our customers’ objectives are met."
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