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Western Railroad Discussion > Ribbon Rail Train


Date: 01/23/01 09:59
Ribbon Rail Train
Author: GP-40X

How does a ribbon rail train make curves and switches
without derailing wheels or cars. And how is one loaded



Date: 01/23/01 11:32
RE: Ribbon Rail Train
Author: fredt

The secret is that the rail is allowed to move laterally (sideways) on the cars. The rail is loaded on rollers which are also used in unloading.



Date: 01/23/01 11:52
RE: Ribbon Rail Train
Author: Yardmaster

fredt wrote:
>
> The secret is that the rail is allowed to move laterally
> (sideways) on the cars. The rail is loaded on rollers which are
> also used in unloading.


Like fredt mentioned, there are rollers on the cars. Each car has a roller for each rail, forty rollers per car. AS for lateral movement, I have never seen this. All the ribbon rail trains I have been on, the rail has little or no lateral movement. The rail is anchored at the center car of the ribbon rail train. These cars generally have an A frame looking box on it, some have chairs for MOW personnel to ride. This A-frame device uses railanchors to hold the rail at that car only. All the other cars with the free rollers, the rail is allowed to move length-wise with car, or "grow as the train enters a curve and shrink as the train leaves the curve. At each end of the train, a boxcar and sometimes ballast cars are placed to prevent the rail from "rolling away" from the train in the event that the anchors break loose at the anchor car. If lateral movement occured, the car weight would shift making it more likely for the car to derail.
Normally, a RR orders the rail to the desired lenght for a curve. If you notice, some pieces are short, others are long. The foreman who unloads the train has shipment papers that show the rail length and, normally, the location of the curve in a milepost #.

YM



Date: 01/23/01 13:13
RE: Ribbon Rail Train
Author: BobB

The basic point, which I understood intellectually but didn't fully accept as real until I looked at a rail train parked on a curve and later saw quarter-mile long sections of rail being laid, is that steel rail is remarkably flexible. It will curve and bend and return to straight just as tracks on which it is riding require. I assume that there are some limits on a rail train's speed around curves to accommodate the time needed for the rail to adjust, but other than that the rail is fixed in place on the train and bends and straightens as needed. Watching rail being laid, and seeing the long segments of steel curl like limp spagetti as they are moved from place to place, is a remarkable thing.



Date: 01/23/01 15:27
RE: Ribbon Rail Train
Author: Yardmaster

BobB wrote:
>
I assume that there are some limits on a rail
> train's speed around curves to accommodate the time needed for
> the rail to adjust, but other than that the rail is fixed in
> place on the train and bends and straightens as needed.
> Watching rail being laid, and seeing the long segments of steel
> curl like limp spagetti as they are moved from place to place,
> is a remarkable thing.


I don't know how other RRs handle the speed, but on MRL there is a curve west of Lombard that has a speed restriction of 10 MPH for loaded ribbon-rail trains. Like you said, Rail is flexible, but this curve is pretty extreme. It's nicknamed, "cornpatch curve" since the BN derailed there years ago with a loaded train of corn and spilled tons of it into the Missouri River.

Joel



Date: 01/24/01 06:13
Anyone have a photo of a Ribbon Rail Train
Author: YardEngine

This is an interesting discussion. Do any of you have a photo of a ribbon rail train? Thanks.



Date: 01/24/01 07:23
RE: Ribbon Rail Train
Author: galenadiv

I have the 2001 edition of the Railway Track & Sructures' Track Buyer's Guide. On the cover is a great shot of a double-track S-curve with a cwr train on one track and a concrete tie train on the other.



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