NS Tests

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Aug 15 22:24:56 EDT 2008

There is an interesting article about NS track tests on the former N&W and former VGN in the August 2008 issue of Railway Age magazine, p. 15, part of which follows:

Mega loads, mega testing

Track performance monitoring under heavy axle loads (HAL) at TTCI's [Transportation Test Center Inc., Pueblo, CO] Facility for Accelerated Service Testing has expanded into revenue service at two AAR- and FRA-funded mega test sites, allowing researchers to determine the effects of HAL traffic on track infrastructure. The test sites have consolidated field experiments at two locations. One is on the Norfolk Southern main line between Narrows and Bluefield, W. Va., the other on the Union Pacific's South Morrill Subdivision in Nebraska. Both are on coal routes with 286K traffic [cars with 286,000 lb. gross rail load]. An additional fastener test site is located near Niagara, Va. The NS site has sharp curves (up to 12 degrees) and steep grades (up to 1.4%), wood ties, open-deck steel bridges, 20-40 mph operating speed, and 55 MGT/year [Million gross tons/year] tonnage. The UP site has shallow curves (1-2 degrees), concrete ties, ballast-deck concrete bridges, 50-60 mph operating speed, and high tonnage of 240 MGT/year.
Currently six experiments are under way at the NS site involving premium rail, wide-gap welds, plastic ties, elastic fasteners, bridge approaches, and top-of-rail friction control. The UP site, experiments include premium rail, bonded insulated joints, bridge approaches, rail neutral temperature monitoring, rail anchors, and crossing diamond performance.
[The balance of the article was a summary of some test results.]

Gordon Hamilton
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