Broken rail - Check this out

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Mark D
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Broken rail - Check this out

Postby Mark D » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:58 pm

Because it's internet, and because I don't know how wide spread this pair of photo's and the description with them are, I'm deliberately witholding names and places.
The car shown parked over the bread did not derail. The crew of this train had been advised of a section of rough track by a train running ahead of them. For this reason, they slowed to about 6 mph when they reached the area. Still, it took a few car lengths to stop the thing after they saw the break. The previous train had made it over the break without derailing. This train might not have.
Mark D.
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Charles T. McCullough
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Re: Broken rail - Check this out

Postby Charles T. McCullough » Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:54 pm

I'd assume the train was going from right to left... or "down hill". Wonder what would have happened if the were going the other way. Bet it wouldn't have been just "rough track". Also, wonder if the wheels falling off the "cliff" is what pulled all those spikes to the right in the second photo. Probably had that rail flopping up and down as each truck fell off.

Thanks for the photos.
Semper Vaporo,
Charles T. McCullough


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Harlock
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Re: Broken rail - Check this out

Postby Harlock » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:09 pm

that's an interesting sheer break. That is one rail that sheered apart, not two where they join together, right?

Wonder how it happened.

--M

Mark D
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Re: Broken rail - Check this out

Postby Mark D » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:02 pm

One thing I noticed was that the tie under the lower rail appears to have been pretty rotten. The tie that's still supporting the higher section of rail appears to be in much better shape. I wonder if complete lack of support at a point where maybe the rail was a little weak from some internal flaw might have been what started the whole thing?
Just a wild guess.
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EUCLID
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Re: Broken rail - Check this out

Postby EUCLID » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:49 pm

Somehow I get the feeling that I know where that happened, but I will withhold speculation. But if it is where I think it might be, I doubt that one train would be following at all close to another as Mark suggests.

That weak tie might have contributed to the break, but sometimes the rail just parts under the tension of thermal contraction. Although if that happens, it seems likely that the rails would have pulled to a wider gap. The gap may have closed however with subsequent expansion.

I recall back in the 1960s, there was a tensile rail break on the Milwaukee Road just west of Hopkins. It pulled a gap of about a foot. Time freight #264 entirely passed over the gap at track speed without derailing. That train usually was 150 cars or so with 5-8 engines.

With that kind of break or even the closed gap above, I would think there would be a high probability of breaking another chunk off the rail receiving the impact of the wheels.

Hogger1225
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Re: Broken rail - Check this out

Postby Hogger1225 » Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:43 am

Am an Engineer, not a track person but it looks like it might have been a factory or plant weld, (welded rail). I've seen those "joints" come apart before. Normally, I think that at a regular joint with splice bars, ect, would have a tie directly under the joint, only reason I sugest that is that I've heard various track department people make reference to "joint ties".
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Mark D
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Re: Broken rail - Check this out

Postby Mark D » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:39 pm

Euclid, I don't think the two trains were very close together. IIRC, something in the original statement that accompanied the photo's gives me cause to think they were as much as 60 miles apart.
But don't take me for sure on that.

Hogger1225, I kind of wanted to say what you said, about a weld, but I don't know enough about it to make such a statement, so went with the weak spot in the rail thing. It sure looks like some sort of joint, doesn't it?
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John Bohon
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Re: Broken rail - Check this out

Postby John Bohon » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:57 pm

As a roadmaster I can not see the rail in the photos well enough to tell if the break is at a weld. I suspect it may be by the shape of the break. It would be my guess the two poor ties beside solid ties caused the rail to flex enough cycles to cause some internal defect in the rail or weld to break.

Joints that have ties directly under the joint are called supported joints. Joints with ties on either side of the joint are called suspended joints. Suspended joints have 2 joint ties and supported joints have 3 joint ties. Joint ties are those with the center of the ties within 24 inches of the joint. There are no joint ties in welded rail, only under conventional joints.

John Bohon


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