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Rail News Home MOW

May 2021

Rail News: MOW

Product update: Special trackwork

A track in Boston shows factory pre-curved rail provided by Atlantic Track. For wheel guidance in curves, 132RE restraining rail is used.
Photo – Atlantic Track


Compiled By Michael Popke

Atlantic Track

Atlantic Track provides guarding solutions for wheel-to-rail applications. The company’s expanded range of guarding products include pavement and continuously guarded rail systems, wheel steering ahead of a point of switch, switch point guarding, guarding through frogs, emergency guarding systems for bridges and elevated spans.

The lifecycle of the engineered guarding systems serve as a cost-effective solution for value-added service and safety, Atlantic Track officials said in an email.

To accommodate increased demand, the company has added significant capacity for the supply of wheel steering support for structural, bridge, heavy haul and direct-fixation track applications, they said.

Atlantic Track manufactures special trackwork at its plants in Memphis, Tennessee; Richmond, Illinois; St. Clair, Pennsylvania; and Clyo, Georgia.

Industry-Railway Suppliers Inc.

J.Lanfranco Fasteners Inc. locknuts are installed on one of the busiest diamond locations in the United States.
Industry-Railway Suppliers Inc.

Industry-Railway Suppliers is the exclusive U.S. distributor of J.Lanfranco Fasteners Inc. railroad-tough locknuts and the North American distributor of AREMA track tools, abrasives, heavy railroad equipment, work equipment wear parts and mechanical shop tools.

One of J.Lanfranco’s offerings is the THU locknut, a single-piece design featuring self-locking technology that has been proven in the field to hold tight in critical areas such as turnouts and crossing diamonds regardless of vibration, shock or impacts to critical joints, Industry-Railway Suppliers officials said. The all-metal, self-locking hex nut requires no additional inserts for installation.

The locknut’s dual-locking slots function independently of bolt tension, so parts can be removed and reused, Industry-Railway Suppliers officials said. No anti-seize paste or grease is required, so the anti-galling nuts remain resistant to adhesive wear and immune to corrosion despite extreme temperatures, they said.

J.Lanfranco’s nut sizes are engineered to be compatible with any standard joint bar bolt, so a nut and bolt system isn’t required. The nuts can be installed with standard tooling.

Koppers Inc.

Koppers’ Short Angle Projection™ or SAP is an advanced bonded insulated joint designed to offer high longitudinal and vertical joint strength.
Koppers Inc.

CENTER LINER® bonded joints from Koppers Inc. are designed to provide extended life. Field inspection data indicates they regularly reach more than 1 billion gross tons, company officials said.

The product’s design increases joint stiffness and extends longevity by integrating a high-strength insulator within the center area of the joint. The fit creates mechanical wedging, which can delay unzipping that typically begins at the high-stress end post area.

CENTER LINER and other Koppers joints are available in a high-strength version, which is designed to increase strength and toughness, and exceed the AREMA high-strength standard.

Meanwhile, Koppers’ Short Angle Projection™ (SAP) — a more advanced bonded insulated joint — is engineered to increase longitudinal and vertical joint strength compared with traditional bonded insulated joint designs. The design minimizes wheel impact loads, and reduces noise and vibration.

Koppers also offers a full line of premium rail joint products, including standard joint bars, thermoset polyester switch rod insulators, polyurethane encapsulated insulated joints, epoxy fiberglass insulated joints, polyurethane insulated tie plates, and polyurethane encapsulated gauge plate and switch rod insulators.

L.B. Foster Co.

The company’s insulated rail joint field repair kit can help extend the life of a bonded insulated joint showing signs of end-post head damage.
L.B. Foster Co.

L.B. Foster Co.’s Allegheny Rail Products (ARP) division has developed more than 30 years of experience in the design, manufacture and supply of special trackwork, such as insulated rail joints and associated products for domestic and international railway applications.

ARP recently unveiled a new curved insulated and bonded rail joint bar to meet growing demand. Bonded insulated joints are typically designed for straight track installations, but as demand for bonded rail joints and curved insulated track increased in 2020, L.B. Foster’s engineering and production teams developed working prototypes of curved insulated joint bar kits for 25-meter curves at the company’s plant in Niles, Ohio.

The patent-pending manufacturing process helps reduce residual stresses caused by holes that remain in a joint bar after drilling and bending operations, L.B. Foster officials said.

The company also has begun field trials of its new insulated rail joint field repair kit, which is designed to help extend the life of a bonded insulated joint showing signs of end post head damage without the need for joint replacement.

Due to adverse loading conditions, lipping on the railhead is a common occurrence and can lead to degradation of insulated bonded joints, as well as damage the end post. The end post repair process takes 10 to 15 minutes per joint, and one kit can repair 10 joints on average, L.B. Foster officials said.

voestalpine Railway Systems Nortrak

Nortrak’s HiRoll roller can be bolted directly to a switch point and be retrofitted to existing points.
voestalpine Railway Systems Nortrak

The newest addition to voestalpine Railway Systems Nortrak’s line of BlueRoll™ point rollers is the HiRoll switch point roller. While other products in the BlueRoll™ line can be described as “bottom-up” rollers because they mount to the switch plate, the “top-down” HiRoll bolts directly to a switch point and is easier to retrofit to existing switch points, Nortrak officials said. 

The switch point roller allows for up to a quarter-inch of vertical roller height adjustment and shares some of the same proven components that are used in the company’s BlueRoll Extreme Duty point roller.

The company has implemented an integrated supply chain that includes its own domestic manganese and ductile iron foundry, complemented by global partnerships within the voestalpine group for low-cost manganese castings used in special trackwork.

Nortrak’s North American design team approaches track infrastructure components as a system to deliver a complete railway systems solution, company officials said. The design and manufacture of frogs, switch points and stock rails is now fully integrated with fasteners, ties and switch machines.

An example of the integrated systems approach is the Nortrak RF Plate System, a series of bonded rubber and steel direct-fixation fasteners for special trackwork used in transit applications. Each resilient fastener is engineered with fixed shoulders to reduce maintenance and offer lateral adjustment up to one inch. They are available in standard-, medium- and high-attenuation versions to match various noise and vibration mitigation needs.

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


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