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 Post subject: Track questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:15 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:47 am
Posts: 213
Location: www.frrm.org
Does anyone know (or where to look for) minimum standards to build a track to a new facility for handling passenger trains? For instance, what would be the minimum radius or degree of curve needed? Also, what number turnout would be the minimum for such an application?

Thanks for any responses.

-Jim Herron


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:48 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:58 am
Posts: 728
I'd stick to a minimum of 10 degree curves and #8 turnouts- this is based on big heavyweight cars that may be occupied, at slow speeds. Certainly, if there's a chance that longer wheelbase steam or big six axle diesels may roll over the track.

For storage of unoccupied equipment and smaller cars you might be able to tighten this up somewhat, and increase the standards as speeds rise. One thing that can help shorten a ladder track is to start with a wye (equilateral) turnout and add further turnouts on both routes.

Others with experience on tighter turnouts and curves may wish to chime in- and, please, be sure to mention what you're running over them, and in what sort of service.

Steve Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:24 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8597
Location: Somewhere between Baltimore, MD and Prescott, AZ
The technical specifics of such matters are the subject of many textbooks and engineering manuals, old and new, on the topic. In the past couple months, I've catalogued about a dozen or more such books at the Md. Rail Heritage Library. The subject was also the topic of some ICS correspondence books, as I recall.

The one that keeps showing up in multiple editions, enough to be the "standard" or "Bible" of the subject, is Railway Track and Trackwork by Edward Ernest Russell Tratman. First published in 1863 and updated at least through 1910, it is available for free in multiple formats online at Archive.org, Google Books, Amazon, etc., such as this 1908 edition:

http://books.google.com/books?id=elg5AAAAMAAJ

Review from a member of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum:
Quote:
Fascinating treatise on all aspects of US railway and electric railway track. Very worth the time spent to read if this subject is of interest or is a portion of one's life experiences. It covers virtually everything except how to relieve the track worker's aching back and blisters.
A lot of details are discussed here that are missing from more general texts. One can find items that might cover almost any specific interest related to track and how it is constructed and maintained.

I personally warn you that this tome is dangerously addictive with its detailed drawings and information on everything from sidings to coaling and water stations and spike driving, and I may have just ruined someone's sleep or weekend posting this.


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:27 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 698
Location: Warren, PA
Two more points I'll add....

1) Amtrak has had a set of curve (horizontal and vertical) standards for most of their existing and vintage cars. They are also different between COUPLED and UNCOUPLED in many cases. Surprisingly, what 'gets you' may be the higher standard for vertical curves and clearances under the center sill and appliances under there.

2) If for some reason you're actually connecting into a Class 1, they'll expect that you 'at least' conform to their industrial track design standards, and they pretty much all have a comprehensive design manual, many available online. Our latest 'surprise' in that area was that CN's are considerably tougher than others, and the reason is that they appear to be the first one I've run across that assumes they'll now be doing all customer switching with six-axle GE EVO's, so plan your curves and switches accordingly....

If you need actual track design help, we're here. And we understand old passenger cars.


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:34 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:11 pm
Posts: 20
I would think the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association would be the go-to source for this: www.arema.org.


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:50 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1461
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
More than 10 years ago, CSX officials worried that what they were using as switch engines for local industries were older road engines, and they weren't planning to buy any more 4 axle road units. Therefore, their standards for their customers' sidings would have to be revised to accept 6 axle locomotives.


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2462
LiveWire wrote:
I would think the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association would be the go-to source for this: http://www.arema.org.


AREMA states that curves in passenger yard areas should be not less that 450 foot radius. There, just saved you $1400 worth of book purchases. :)

It really doesn't mean anything though. It's simply a recommended practice. Only one of two things matter. The FRA won't condemn your track if it's 445, and the operating railroad has final say, they can ask for less sharp curves, or they can say "We'll switch anything you build!".

1) If it's being served by a railroad, what are their requirements? As noted above, all of the class 1's have design manuals for industrial track. It is possible, but not easy, to get variances on curvature and the like. It helps if you can say something like "I want to ship 300 cars a yard, but I can't quite get under 10 degrees..."

2) If you (the museum) is the operating entity, then you get to make the standards. The size and length of the cars is going to be the determining factor. Also keep in mind that you can operate cars over curves sharper than you can couple them on. I have, in the past, had to drag cars out to a straight track using a chain since they simply were not going to couple up on that sharp of a curve.

If in doubt, talk with other folks who work with passenger cars of the type you're using. Also, the basic answer is almost always "make the curves as wide as you can in the space you have available."


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:30 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:47 am
Posts: 213
Location: www.frrm.org
Thank you all for your responses.


-JH


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:40 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 698
Location: Warren, PA
Here's another one that should be added to your collection - the "standard" Amtrak car clearance diagram:

http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/doing_ ... iagram.pdf

Rather useful when you are trying to determine how far back that other 'thing' has to be on the inside of the curve.


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 Post subject: Re: Track questions
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2466
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Michigan law (MCL 462.339) wants 8'6" clearance from center of track (9'0" if the curvature is tighter than 400' radius). And 22'6" above. And 14' spacing between adjacent tracks. The law applies to "persons" meaning everyone, including adjacent landowners.
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/rcbook_55515_7.pdf

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
The technical specifics of such matters are the subject of many textbooks and engineering manuals... The one that keeps showing up in multiple editions, enough to be the "standard" or "Bible" of the subject, is Railway Track and Trackwork by Edward Ernest Russell Tratman. First published in 1863 and updated at least through 1910, it is available for free in multiple formats online at Archive.org, Google Books, Amazon, etc., such as this 1908 edition:

http://books.google.com/books?id=elg5AAAAMAAJ

The book was renamed "Railway Track and Maintenance" and reissued in a Fourth Edition in 1926, on McGraw-Hill so barely still in copyright.
http://books.google.com/books?id=dW3vMgEACAAJ
Reprinted in 2003, presumably with addenda on using 36" prefab track sections and the 5-finger derrick, by NMRA.
http://www.amazon.com/Railway-Track-And ... 0964705060


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