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 Post subject: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 1998 3:38 pm 

Today I was driving down the road when I seen a locomotive equipped with friction bearings. I understand that these are pretty much a no-no on today's rails, but what does one do if they want to move it from one place to another? Is trucking the only option or can one obtain an exemption? This question is in regards to locomotives and rolling stock.<p>Thanks<br>

 Post subject: Re: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 1998 4:28 pm 

When the IRM removed SP 2-10-2 #975 from the park here in Beaumont, it had friction bearings. It was towed by the museum's BN diesel up to Union, IL.<p>The procedure was that they could not exceed 20 MPH during the entire trip; and had to stop every so often to verify that it's bearings were not overheating. Granted; this is a steam locomotive straight out of a park; one that is run regularly may not have such a tight operating restriction placed on it.<p>(You can read a little more about the move at the link below.)<p>-James Hefner

SE Texas and SW Louisiana Steam

 Post subject: Re: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 1998 9:52 pm 

When the East Troy Electric Railroad in Wisconsin sold its GE centercab diesel to an industrial plant in Milwaukee, it was to be moved by the Wisconsin Central RR in a hospital move, not to exceed 20 mph. This was because of its friction bearings. Unfortunately, the freight crew ran it at 40 mph + and cooked the bearings by the time it reached Waukesha. The little diesel then made the remainder of the trip on a truck.<br>

 Post subject: Re: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 1998 12:24 pm 

Friction bearings are not illegal, they are still ok for use according to the FRA. The problems is that most railroads are not presently equipped to inspect or maintain them, and therefore their headquarters have place operating restrictions or bans on them.<p>The two examples stated are not typical of roller bearing problems on the "big" rails. The special movement of the 2-10-2 was for many reasons, only one of which were the friction bearings. An unloaded steam engine being towed has many different dynamics than an operating steam locomotive, and even in the old days there were operating restrictions placed on dead in train steam locomotives. GE center cabs usually have gear reduction drives, and if they are towed at too great a speed the motor support bearings or the motor comutators will detroy themselves due to greater than design operating speed. This happened about three years ago to a LNAC locomotive being moved from there to Kentucky.<p>I have had personal experience moving friction bearings on the Class Ones since they quit using them as a norm, and have found that if the bearing and journal are to the old standards of care, the box is properly repacked, and I follow in a truck to make sure the present day carmen don't do anything stupid, they are not a problem. A half can of STP added to the top of the journal pad also works wonders.<br>

 Post subject: Re: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 1998 1:14 am 

We must remember that the railroads operate under two sets of rules. FRA regulations which carry the force of law, and AAR interchange rules, which all common carrier railroads that interchange equipment agree to abide by.<p>The FRA regs does not outlaw friction bearings, but the AAR interchange rules do. This means that you can run as much friction bearing equipment as you like over your own railroad, but you cannot offer it in unrestricted interchange to another railroad. <p>The FRA regs are designed to promote the safe operation of railroads. AAR interchange rules are designed to allow anyone's freight car to travel over anyone's railroad without any special restrictions. As technology advances certain appliances become obsolete, and as these appliances are phased out the AAR will prohibit them in interchange. This is done to promote uniformity, to enhance safe operations, and to simplify repair procedures. At some point the FRA will determine that these types of appliances should no longer be used due to safety concerns and will restrict the movement of any car which has them.<p>Just think of all the appliances that once were permissible by the AAR interchange rules but are now prohibited: K type brakes, AB valves, Sharon couplers, D couplers, friction bearings, converted friction bearing trucks, certain types of axles or wheels, and even some types of roller bearings.<p>It is interesting to note that the FRA does not restrict the movement of cars with plain journal bearings. Only the AAR has prohibited them in interchange. However, not many people know how to service the journal bearings anymore and so the Operating Dept. people would rather not mess with them anymore.<br>

 Post subject: Re: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 1998 11:39 am 

I am a member of the San Diego Railroad Museum, and we operate the San Diego & Arizona Railway (SD&A) as a for profit subsidary. We are a tourist and movie railroad, 95% of our equipment has friction bearings, and we have found that if they are packed right,and the carman sees to it that the journal cellars are at the right level of oil, you can run the equipment at "express train" speed, with no damage. We do not often get to those speeds, but, we have. However, I really like your idea of putting a half can of STP in over the tops of the bearings! What a great idea! From my experience,(since 1966) I have found that is properly maintained, you usually do not have any trouble, unless, over rough track, you throw a bearing wedge or some such, all should be ok.<br>

 Post subject: Re: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 1998 4:45 pm 

Just a note to mention that many chemists have told me that STP is NOT a lubricant, it's just a viscosity enhancer.<br>S'<br>David D.<br>

 Post subject: Re: Friction Bearing Equipped Equipment
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 1998 6:19 pm 

You are correct. <br>Also, I recently learned that the D.M.I.R. is almost exclusively friction bearings. They have the facilities, and expertise to maintain them, and they usually run at relatively low speeds, and they don't send equipment to other railroads, as a rule, so it works fine for them. Hundreds and hundreds of ore "jennies" running every day in rough service, all on friction bearings. That shows they can do the job. Mark D.<br>

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