Cold Extreme Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

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Cold Extreme Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby JPoland » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:47 am

We know about hot kinks and hot boxes but can extreme cold make track and wheels more brittle? I would also assume that curve grease would be more sluggash as well
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby BR&P » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:30 am

Cold weather extremes can cause pull-aparts - either by breaking a weak weld in CWR, or by shearing bolts in jointed rail. There are many counter-measures used to prevent this, but on occasion it does happen.
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Re: Cold Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:51 am

Cold causes broken rails too.
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby Matt Langworthy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:42 pm

Some upstate NY RRs will send out their hi-rail MOW trucks in advance of a train to check for cold-related breaks in the rail. Indeed, I observed a "cold patrol" on the B&H last week.
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby lvrr325 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:45 pm

Trains have to be shorter; the extreme cold makes it hard to get enough air through a long train to fully release the brakes.
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Re: Cold Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:16 pm

Rail shrinks when cold, can break at weld points and at joint bars(pull-a-parts),will also break signal bond wires,and insulated joints as well,
creating signal problems.
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Re: Cold Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby STrRedWolf » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:30 pm

The Feb 2018 issue of Trains Magazine illustrates this two ways, and shows how they repair it with a "fire snake".
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby Leo_Ames » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:44 am

I don't know about roller bearings, but it also used to cause troubles with journal boxes in the old days until the journal oil got some heat built up.

Stories out there of long freights that sat overnight somewhere like Maine that couldn't be started. So they'd have to uncouple most of the train, get the first few cars warmed up by going back and forth a bit until the axles wanted to turn, and rinse and repeat until the entire train was free.

Is that still an issue with modern bearings in extreme cold?
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby tree68 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:16 am

Leo_Ames wrote:Is that still an issue with modern bearings in extreme cold?

Don't think so. I've never had a problem starting our Polar trains, no matter how cold.
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Re: Cold Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:31 am

That article in Trains was good - and the author's a good guy. Met Tyler once at the foam show in Springfield. I miss his MBTA-centric blog...but I digress.
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby John_Perkowski » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:03 am

Admin note:

i've moved both topics to General Discussion: Locomotives, Rolling Stock, and Equipment. Left a shadow in both original fora. I've combined the two topics, but I will leave the Amtrak topic locked, and point it here.

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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:56 pm

tree68 wrote:
Leo_Ames wrote:Is that still an issue with modern bearings in extreme cold?

Don't think so. I've never had a problem starting our Polar trains, no matter how cold.


Let me see, I never had air problems of this nature with a few passenger cars either. Try doing a 100 plus freight train with below zero weather and it is a total different story. I have been there and done it.
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby tree68 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:00 am

Noel Weaver wrote:
tree68 wrote:Let me see, I never had air problems of this nature with a few passenger cars either. Try doing a 100 plus freight train with below zero weather and it is a total different story. I have been there and done it.
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Not gonna disagree - can only go with my own experience.

Given the very nature of friction bearings, though, I'm imagining that as difficult as it may be to start a 100 car train with roller bearings, getting the same train going with friction bearings will be virtually impossible, as Leo notes. If the oil won't flow into the bearing surfaces you're running metal on metal, which won't have a good result. At least with roller bearings, everything can turn (however sluggishly) and the bearings can do their job.

Regardless - cold weather ops are a pain.
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Re: Cold Extream Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby litz » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:09 pm

lvrr325 wrote:Trains have to be shorter; the extreme cold makes it hard to get enough air through a long train to fully release the brakes.


Someone needs to tell CSX that ... :wink:

Seriously, though, the cold makes the gaskets in the glad hands stiff and brittle, causing issues with proper sealing on the brake lines, which can make establishing good pressure on the brakeline difficult to impossible.

Or, more fun, the brake hoses themselves become so stiff, when you hit a curve, they just pop apart.

Or, even more fun, freezing air lines (literal ice in the line), etc. etc.

Fun stuff.
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Re: Cold Extreme Weather Track & Wheel Problems?

Postby NYCRRson » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:09 pm

At one time (1980's and 1990's) Conrail did shorten the train lengths during extreme cold weather to improve air brake performance.

My understanding is that the extreme cold slows the velocity of train line pressure changes down the length of the train. This delays the application (or release) at the rear end of the train which causes problems when the front of the train is almost stopped (already started). This is along with all the stiff hoses and gaskets.

Back in the good old PC days the PRR folks brought one of their office car specials up to NY state to have a look see. They parked it overnight at the Syracuse station, the NYCRR folks suggested they hook it up to the house steam supply to keep it from freezing.... The PRR folks said they knew all about cold weather and would not need any steam in the parked cars....

Delayed them most of a day thawing out the frozen cars.....

Cheers, Kevin.
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