This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The tie guys movie


The video does not start with the first steps--I missed filming those and will discuss them in another post. Here is an explanation, as best as I can give it, of what this video shows.

Start: a tie remover/inserter pulls the old ties from under the tracks. The ties that are to be pulled have been marked by a crew that went over the tracks earlier. You can see the little crane that follows it picking up the old ties.
:20 A tie crane picks up and arranges the old ties in piles. You can see the tie extractor continuing to extract ties.
:28 two clips of tie cranes setting out and arranging new ties.
:43 A tie remover/inserter pushing the new ties into place under the rails.
1:11 A machine cleaning ballast stones from the ties. Workers follow placing tie plates on the new ties.
1:24 A worker positions the tie plates under the rails. Notice how the little machine lifts the rail enough for him to slide the tie plate under. There were four units doing this task, two for each rail.
1:38 This machine seems to be fine-tuning the position of the ties, lining them up so they are even. If you watch carefully, you can see the stones moving near the front of the machine as it pushes the tie in a bit from the other side.
1:45 A spiker is being loaded up with new spikes. This happened at the beginning of the day, before the workers drove their machines to the work site.
1:51 A spiker driving in a couple spikes.
2:02 A close up of a spike being driven through the tie plate into the tie.
2:05. I could not figure out what this machine was doing from watching it. I had to go to the Internet to learn that it was an anchor squeezer. It was squeezing the rail anchors so that they were snugly tucked next to the ties. I do not understand how rail anchors work. They are metal things that hook on the inside of the rail and fit underneath. They are not used next to all ties, just some of them. (See picture below.)
2:09 Men with hammers, presumably fixing anything they see that is wrong.
2:21 A machine pushing the ballast up next to the tracks--I think it is called a ballast regulator. There were several other machines that apparently followed this machine, but I did not see them in action. One was a very large machine called a continuous action tamper, which levels the track.
2:30 Two clips that show the last machine in the process. I found it a day later and a mile down the track from the rest of the parade. It was doing a final cleaning of the ties. A worker told me to keep my distance because it was spitting out a lot of big stones with considerable velocity.

There are number of other videos of tie replacement on youtube. Here is one in two parts, showing the early steps I missed but not the final steps. It would have been better if it more had been cut out.

Here is a picture of one of the new ties viewed from inside the tracks. You can see the tie plate which has one spike in it, and rail anchors on either side of the tie. The next tie up was not replaced. For some reason it had two spikes instead of one, and the rail anchor has a different design. When viewed from the other side of the rail, the rail anchors are very hard to see because they do not come up over the lip of the rail.
Below is what rail anchors look like when they are not attached to the rail. They come in different designs. If there was a machine in the line that was applying these to the tracks, I did not see it. However, there was a lot to the process that I did not understand.


Sheila said...

Very interesting!

Desert Survivor said...

Desert Boy really liked the video. You can imagine the sound effects that accompanied it.