Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby sery2831 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:35 am

Not sure if it was working or just passing through now... No sign of it today on the Lowell Line.
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby 130MM » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:04 am

It's been trying to work on the SIngle Track between CPF-LJ and CPF-AS, but for two nights now has been unable to get any track time.

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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:06 pm

Anyone know if it's running tonight? I have to be up on the northside anyway, so if it's out around 2AM I might try to catch it.
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby GP40MC1118 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:07 pm

Nope...went west on CSX last night. Off the Grand Jct around 730pm....
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby MBTA1016 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:54 pm

Does anyone know when the Franklin line is next for a visit?
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby 130MM » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:08 am

Mbta fan wrote:Does anyone know when the Franklin line is next for a visit?


Probably won't be back to the Franklin Branch for three years. Grinding is generally done on a three year cycle. Big grinder North Side on the first year, Big Grinder South Side the second; and the switch & crossing grinder the third. This year the South Side was finished, and an attempt was made to finish up the allotted time on the North Side to no avail.

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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby MBTA1016 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:17 pm

Ok I need to watch this topic more often on when the grinder is in town. Random question, does this rail grinder do the grand junction as well?
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby 130MM » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:51 am

Mbta fan wrote:Ok I need to watch this topic more often on when the grinder is in town. Random question, does this rail grinder do the grand junction as well?


As of right now, no. If passenger service is ever instituted, CWR will be installed, and will have to be ground. But until then, there'll be no sparks on the Grand Jct.

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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby MBTA1016 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:57 pm

Thanks daw. I only thought it would be a good idea, assuming they cross it to do the north side.
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:43 pm

Is there a limit to how many times a rail can be ground until it has to be replaced? Or is the grinding a very minute little shave?
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:29 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:Is there a limit to how many times a rail can be ground until it has to be replaced? Or is the grinding a very minute little shave?

Yes. Eventually, the combined actions of the rail grinder and wear caused by regular traffic will make the railhead too thin to safely support trains.
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby Komarovsky » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:05 am

Whats the average service life of a rail if its ground as needed and used with the same frequency as the commuter rail? I've seen a few in the east of framingham area with the date 1946 stamped on them.
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby 130MM » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:33 am

Komarovsky wrote:Whats the average service life of a rail if its ground as needed and used with the same frequency as the commuter rail? I've seen a few in the east of framingham area with the date 1946 stamped on them.


Rail life is more of a factor of tonnage, and mechanical wear on curves. Grinding certainly helps extend rail life as it removes surface damge that can reduce surface life. The goal is to grind right at the moment when the small cracks in the surface of the rail head start to appear. Of course, this is not always possible due to scheduling and traffic issues.

In fact, the newest 136 lb. section was developed by adding to the head of 132 lb. so it could be ground off.

I was able to tour interlockings between Omaha and North Platte on the UP, and one of our tour guides told us, "Last week, this track carried its one billionth gross ton." Also on the UP on the Tehachapi grade some of the rail on the curves is replaced every two years. UP is doing everything it can with lubrication (or more properly "friction modification" on both the high and low rails), curve superelevations, and rail chemistries to extend rail life. But the introduction 283,000 lb. cars (and with the move to 315,000 lb.) is not helping rail life.

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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby diburning » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:42 am

There is a grinder working on the B&A right now. Just went by my house (milepost 5-ish) going westbound.
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Re: Rail Grinder on the Commuter Rail Discussion

Postby roberttosh » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:43 am

These days, a lot of the railroads actually use grinding to re-profile brand new rail. With most rail canted inwards at a 1:20 slope and with most wheel treads having a 1:40 slope, this creates a situation where new wheels on new rail will have a contact patch towards the gauge side of the rail which will lead to gauge corner fatigue. By grinding a small amount off of the gauge side of the rail head, it allows for a contact patch that is more centered on the rail head. I've seen brand new CWR installed where the running band was pretty much on the inside third of the rail head, but once it was ground, the running band immediately shifted towards the centerline of the rail head. Just the slightest bit of Steel removal can change the location of the contact patch significantly resulting in more even rail/wheel wear as well as a more balanced, spread out, downward force/load through the tie plate, tie, etc.
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