Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

David Benton
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by David Benton » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:52 am

It appears the main advantage here is the sleeper(tie) already has the railplate and fasteners etc attached before been moved to installation site. Quite a good idea in the Aussie desert heat.
https://www.railexpress.com.au/steel-sl ... ight-line/
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

User avatar
NaugyRR
Posts: 307
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:27 am
Location: Pine Plains, NY

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by NaugyRR » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:42 am

Won't the steel ties expand in the extreme heat the same way rails do? How will that affect track stability and gauge retention?
"That sapling that once grew just south of Wassaic may be long gone, and the Harlem Line’s appearance may have changed over the years, but for decades to come, I can count on it continuing to provide me with funny recollections"

David Benton
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by David Benton » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:26 pm

A good point. I know they can make steel that will expand in one direction more than others , so maybe they make them expand more vertically .
The only other thing i can think of is everything would be expanding at the same rate , so it wouldn't tend to kink .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

User avatar
Benny
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:51 pm
Location: Lima (Perú)

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by Benny » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:39 pm

Steel sleepers (surely far more basic) are used by a long time in Swiss narrow gauge railways, e.g. RhB. And differences in weather can be strong there too. I experienced on the Gotthard Pass, snow and 30 centigrade degrees in the time arch of 2 hours.

Ciao :wink:
Alcohol is an enemy. Man that escapes from the enemy is a coward!

johnthefireman
Posts: 1346
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by johnthefireman » Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:59 pm

Steel sleepers are common in South Africa and have been for many years. I have never heard discussions about expansion in hot weather there. Main problem is theft of sleepers (as well as theft of cables and even rails). The steel sleepers have a value as scrap, while wooden sleepers have a value for being turned into expensive furniture. I don't believe anyone has yet found a use for stolen concrete sleepers.

David Benton
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by David Benton » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:37 pm

concrete sleepers(ties) are a bit of a disposal problem, I think . I would have thought they would be good for earth stabilisation works etc , but haven't seen them used for that . Concrete power poles the same apparently .
Years ago , I "won" some concrete sleepers on our local version of Ebay , for $ 1 each .
I rocked up in my mid size truck , thinking to grab 10 or 20 . By the time we had loaded the 5th one in , by a combination of forklift , front end loader and muscle power , we decided that was enough . To make it worst I had to unload them on my own at my end . Never again was the executive decision.
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

johnthefireman
Posts: 1346
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by johnthefireman » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:48 pm

Yes, they're very heavy!

David Benton
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by David Benton » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:25 am

Apparently there is machinery to reduce them to rubble. https://youtu.be/yvySDCyctcU
Versus a steel sleeper that can be melted or rerolled for 100 % reusability.
Another advantage of steel is that they could be welded, should that kind of damage occur. For example damage from trailing gear.
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

David Benton
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by David Benton » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:37 pm

One thing I have always thought would be a good idea is a fixed track set, similar to model train track pieces. This welded track would suit that .
I am thinking for building tracks into forests for following tree harvesting , but also would be handy to bypass derailments etc.
something with larger sleeper area that doesn't require ballast would be ideal .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

johnthefireman
Posts: 1346
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by johnthefireman » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:02 am

I've worked with track panels in South Africa - a piece of track a few metres long (can't remember exactly how long) with steel sleepers, which can be moved into place and then bolted to the next piece. In our case we lifted old disused track in panels and relaid it in our depot. It only really works with old-fashioned track where lengths are bolted together, not with continuously-welded track, so I doubt whether anybody would want to use it for major running lines, only in sidings perhaps.

Throughout the world nowadays I believe most running lines are continuously welded, and track is laid by specially designed works trains where the whole procedure is automated. It's much quicker, safer and cost-effective than using track panels, produces a better end result, and uses less labour.

ExCon90
Posts: 4569
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by ExCon90 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:20 pm

Fascinating to watch. Amtrak did their Northeast Corridor (four tracks through my area); the whole Track Laying Machine (TLM) must be about a quarter of a mile long, with concrete sleepers (fed in from flatcars in front) dropped one by one into place on the ballast as the whole entourage moves slowly forward, and continuous welded rails slung along either side being gradually drawn inward and dropped onto the sleepers. Something else comes along next to secure the sleepers to the rails. Looks like about six people doing the whole thing. Watching the sleepers dropping onto the ballast one by one reminded me for all the world of a National Geographic video I once saw showing sea turtles laying eggs in the sand.

ExCon90
Posts: 4569
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by ExCon90 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:21 pm

Fascinating to watch. Amtrak did their Northeast Corridor (four tracks through my area); the whole Track Laying Machine (TLM) must be about a quarter of a mile long, with concrete sleepers (fed in from flatcars in front) dropped one by one into place on the ballast as the whole entourage moves slowly forward, and continuous welded rails slung along either side being gradually drawn inward and dropped onto the sleepers. Something else comes along next to secure the sleepers to the rails. Looks like about six people doing the whole thing. Watching the sleepers dropping onto the ballast one by one reminded me for all the world of a National Geographic video I once saw showing sea turtles laying eggs in the sand.

johnthefireman
Posts: 1346
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by johnthefireman » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:59 am

A couple of YouTube videos of tracklaying machines. To my surprise the Chinese are using track panels on the Kenyan standard gauge railway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faPQm_BdQP0

A more common way of doing it - "High output railway track laying machine Plasser & Theurer ZUSW-500 renewing sleepers and rails with the assembly-line method for the high-speed railway line Hannover-Göttingen on June 30, 2019."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMXfU8blPMM

David Benton
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by David Benton » Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:34 am

Thanks John. Possibly due to restrictions on the length of rail that could be transported. What I found strange were the holes drilled for "fishplates". Surely they would weld most joints , with a bolted join every 100 metres or so . I wonder if they still use the thermit weld process ?
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

johnthefireman
Posts: 1346
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: Steel sleeper system trialled on Goldfields freight line

Post by johnthefireman » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:01 am

Yes, I was also surprised at the fishplate holes as I had assumed it would be continuously welded. I don't know what method they are using. I need to go and have a good look at the track sometime, but unlike the old metre-gauge railway the new standard gauge is fenced and it's not so easy to get near it.

Return to “Worldwide Railfan”