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Thread: Rail grinder - video

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    Jon
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    To followup (because yes, "train + sparks = cool", but this process deserves more explanation), rail grinding is done to remove imperfections, specifically rail corrugation. I would not Google "rail corrugation" if you have anything else you'd like to accomplish today.

    Not sure exactly how the grinding mechanism is incorporated into a train, or if a separate purpose-specific train is necessary.

    Here's an employee of the Montreal Street Railway Company and his rail grinding rig in Montreal, 1912:



    And here we have a smaller grinding machine in operation. 37-second video:


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    Jon's right...don't Google "rail corrugation" if you have plans for a productive day. But it turns out interesting! I know somebody, who would love seeing a grinding rig run by at night.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    I will never forget the first time I saw a rail grinder in operation. It was in the day time however. I looked before crossing the tracks on a country road. All I could see was a huge black cloud. It was still a way down the track, but I could tell it was moving. I stopped and backed up so I could see what it was. I do not remember the exact configuration. All I remember is the HUGE dirty yellow grinding "machine", the smoke, sparks, then two tank cars, then a caboose, two men on each side using small, maybe 1" or 1 1/2" fire hoses spraying the vegetation, putting out the fires along he tracks. After the "parade" passed, I walked a bit of the tracks to see what they looking like. The rail was smooth, had rather coarse grinding marks, but very consistent. I picked up a few rather large chunks of "swarf", if you can call it that, that were laying between the rails. The chucks easily weight 3-4 pounds each. I wish I still had them I would send a photo.

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    OK admittedly watching the videos of the rail grinders are a lot more exciting to watch than reading about the cause and effects and how rail corrugation occurs
    but this PDF is quite informative.
    https://uic.org/cdrom/2006/wcrr2006/pdf/481.pdf
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    Corrugation, a very interesting phenomenon indeed. The PDF that Frank S so kindly shared is chock full of interesting cause and effect theories. So many of them that they could be spot on right or DEAD wrong. The reason I highlighted dead is the results of mechanical failure on these or related to these behemoths is usually catastrophic. Many folks lose their lives and entire neighbourhoods are wiped out. The amount of weight that travels on two ribbons of steel is something to behold when all goes well. On the other side of the coin when all is not well, families are decimated and damages are pretty much otherworldly to see.

    There are so many things that fall into play when we consider that the load bearing capabilities of the steel that these giants ride on are also subjected to numerous other factors that could change the very structure of the steel as it sits there on the tresseles. We see the grinding that these rigs do as real cool in the shown videos. we also seem to not really consider the reasoning of all this activity rather easily also. A section of track that does not receive this much needed grinding is more than likely doomed to failure. That said the results are always terrifying.

    Years ago a train that was able to travel at top speed was most likely doing from 30 to 60 some MPH. Today a train travels at much higher rates of speed and with the amount of weight they carry and the stresses the tracks are subjected to the maintenance required is incredible. The evolution of the industry on mechanical terms is shamefully inadequate. A very good example of this is the horrendous accident that occured not so long ago in the next town over to where I live. People were blown to smithereens, burned to death and literally just disappeared. Granted this had nothing to do with the track conditions but did have everything to do with common mechanics. If common mechanics cannot be kept to date in an industry how could they ever begin to figure out the complexities of track corrugation? We must be more demanding of the people operating these types of large transportation industries if we are ever to hope to stop burying our loved ones over senseless industrial neglect.

    rr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captn Roy View Post

    Years ago a train that was able to travel at top speed was most likely doing from 30 to 60 some MPH. Today a train travels at much higher rates of speed and with the amount of weight they carry and the stresses the tracks are subjected to the maintenance required is incredible. The evolution of the industry on mechanical terms is shamefully inadequate. A very good example of this is the horrendous accident that occured not so long ago in the next town over to where I live. People were blown to smithereens, burned to death and literally just disappeared. Granted this had nothing to do with the track conditions but did have everything to do with common mechanics. If common mechanics cannot be kept to date in an industry how could they ever begin to figure out the complexities of track corrugation? We must be more demanding of the people operating these types of large transportation industries if we are ever to hope to stop burying our loved ones over senseless industrial neglect.

    rr
    Having travelled by train across Europe, and in Canada, there are considerable differences in rail installation and maintenance. In the UK we suffer from heat expansion causing bent and out of gauge issues, yet in Italy the high speed trains running at 200 MPH are on rails exposed to a lot more heat in summer, and significant cold in winter, the difference is the coating of the rails to reflect sunlight and I believe some metallurgical differences, both countries use concrete sleepers and pandrol clips. In Canada I only saw timber sleepers and spikes, even on major transport links, and watching a train arrive the movement of the rail was not insignificant.

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    Frank S's Avatar
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    To me the PDF link I provided almost reads like someone's Doctoral thesis, as do so many of the white paper style documents on most any subject we care to research.
    This puts me in mind of studies in frequency canceling or augmenting generators incorporated in many sensitive instrument testing equipment. In the drive-line components of the automotive industry for instance particularly the universal or constant velocity joints it was discovered almost 100 years ago that the shafts could not only transmit vibrations but also at certain frequencies their rotational movements through the ever changing angles of the drive shaft would cause premature wear in the engines transmissions and differentials. through the years manufactures have experimented with everything from rubber inserts in the drive shafts to filling them with corrugated paper or using thicker smaller diameter shafts and thinner larger diameter shafts various sized "U" joints have been used even some vehicles used dissimilar sized joints even going so far as balancing the shafts to 5 times the maximum RPM they could ever spin, all in an effort to create longevity and near soundless operation.
    Roller coaster rides share a common problem with trains they run on rails. Often these rails are parallel cylinders due to the rotational speed of the wheels on the rides a tremendous amount of sound waves are transmitted through the rails as everyone knows who has ever been to a amusement park the coasters are often the noisiest rides in the park even in the largest of parks the roaring swoosh sounds comping from them can be heard for great distances above any other ride in the park. various substances have been used to make the wheels out of, filling the rails with liquid or sand, paper or a host of other materials have been used in an effort to quieten these sounds. the coasters with the loudest noises often require the highest rail maintenance or even sectional replacements sometimes in areas where the least amount of lateral stresses are present.
    I'll make a supposition that on trains at least some of the corrugation of the rails might possibly be lessened by careful placement of the rail cars with varying sized wheels.
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    PJs
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    Good one Jon!!

    Rolling 600 ton train + sparks + Corrugation = Deep Rabbit Hole dive (you knew we would) ⊥ possible train wreck ∴ how the guy looks in the 1912 Montreal picture ⊃ Good, fun learning Or a headache of train wreck proportions.

    Enjoyed a shallow dive (40min.) until the primary variables and sub variables made my left eye jitter. Franks link was one of about 300 white papers I found and pretty good but no date. Found this EU site from a commissioned study from 06' and danger/cost related issues. Can't imagine the maintenance on subways in NY. And how often do they have to change the Grinding wheels?

    Quite a scorching train ride. Thanks Jon!

    PJ


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