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

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The return of the Tie Guys

In 2009 a CSX Maintenance of Way (MOW)crew came through Rensselaer replacing ties. (For links, see here and here.) I never expected to see a similar crew in Rensselaer, but on Monday one was again in town.

I was out of town on Monday morning visiting family and missed the Commissioners' meeting. About 12:30 I set off to see what the Drainage Board was doing. (Not much--it was an uneventful meeting.) On the way there I decided to see what CSX was doing to the rail crossings because they were scheduled to start work on them on Monday. I went out Mattheson and saw tampers . Looking down the line I could see many more vehicles. In fact the line of vehicles stretched all the way to Melville, the whole length of town.

 I spent a lot more time watching the process in 2009. I think the machines near Melville were removing the spikes from the rails that had been marked for replacement. I suspect that there were also machines that removed the spike plates but I did not see them. The reason that there were so many vehicles is that there are many steps in the process and each step is done by three or four vehicles.

I did not get any good pictures of the machine removing the old ties, but I did get some video (not very good) of the machines putting the new ties in place.



Also here:


Below is how the ties were positioned before the machine above arrived. You can see the spaces where the old ties used to be.


After the ties have been placed under the rails, a group of guys puts the spike plates on the ties. This job seems to be the least automated part of the process.

The machine that inserts these spike plates under the rails was different this year from what it was in 2009. I tried to get a video of what it was doing, but again I am not happy with the result. However, you might see how it lifts the rails.


Following these machines are the spikers, the machines that drive in new spikes. Because they shield the area in which they are driving spikes, it is hard to get a good picture of what they are doing. However, the noise they make gives them away. There was also another machine in the parade that seemed to be making sure that the ties were exactly perpendicular to the rails.

I am not sure how the guys in the machines can be so precise. How do the spikers line up so the spikes go through the holes in the spike plate? Do they have a video camera?

After the spikes are in place the tampers follow. They force rocks under the ties so that the rails will have not waves--the trains will have a completely level ride. After them are machines that move the ballast back where it belongs. They raise a lot of dust as they go back and forth.



Today (Tuesday) the MOW crew was leaving town heading east. I noticed a truck on the tracks full of what looked like ties. I thought that it might be picking up the old ties.

 However, later on I saw it with a much smaller load and thought it might have been hauling the lumber that was used for the crossings. The crew for that task was in town today putting the timbers alongside the rails. I think the last task will be to lay down the asphalt for the crossings.
Above is the crossing on Mattheson. It was last done in 2009. Other crossings being redone this year are McKinnley (done just a year or two ago), Webster, and Scott. Crossings that are open are Jefferson, Cullen, Franklin, and Melville.

While watching all this, I noticed that the rail car that delivers lumber for Stark Truss was as close to Cullen as it could get. A fork lift had unloaded it onto a semi, and then the fork lift pushed it down the tracks. I had never seen a fork life push a rail car before.

In other rail news, Hoosier State service will continue. Agreement has been reached between the state and the Feds.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the details of the rail work.