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Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

(OP)
Another Norfolk Southern train has derailed, this time in Alabama:

Norfolk Southern train derails in Alabama hours before CEO grilled by Congress

https://nypost.com/2023/03/09/norfolk-southern-tra...

This does not look good, not when the CEO is about to testify before Congress.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

(OP)
The report indicates that 30 cars were involved in the derailment but the claim is that none of them are leaking. They did not say that the cars weren't carrying hazardous material, just that there was no leaks.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

We average over 4 derailments per DAY in the USA.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

(OP)
A statistic that the American rail industry is justly proud of, eh?

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

Perhaps.

Derailments include when a car jumps the track during switching and is rerailed by the crew inside an hour.

Was on the track--not on the track = derailment.

Of the 4 per day, how many are of the above type?

Here's a rerailing of one of the lesser derailments:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n_Yof47DVE




spsalso

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

Regarding spsalso's video...maybe it's just my ignorance of railroad maintenance operations, but isn't it unwise to stand so close to so much 'pent up' energy in a malfunctioning machine?

And this one may be less an operating issue and more track maintenance issue. I don't think the train derailed, the track derailed.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

As it is, we missed one

Quote (https://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/....)

A freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, causing an explosion that released toxic chemicals into the environment on Feb 3. Since then, derailments have been reported in Texas, South Carolina and Connecticut.


Quote (https://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/....)

Broken or defective railroads are one of the most common causes of derailments, according to the FRA. Faulty or missing crossties — beams perpendicular to rails — triggered 5.6% of the derailments in 2022, making it the single largest cause of derailments.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

"Regarding spsalso's video...maybe it's just my ignorance of railroad maintenance operations, but isn't it unwise to stand so close to so much 'pent up' energy in a malfunctioning machine?"

I expect it is very useful to have someone paying close attention to the process. I was thinking that there should have been fewer someones, though. There's not a lot of 'pent up' energy, because velocities are so slow. Things will likely fail in slow motion if they do fail. If'n it was me, however, I'd have my escape route pre-planned.


"And this one may be less an operating issue and more track maintenance issue. I don't think the train derailed, the track derailed."

Yeah, pretty much. Though the train helped out a lot. It looks to me like the rail rolled over. Note how the spikes have been pulled up. I suspect the train put too much of a force vector horizontally at the rail top. My guess would be the train was too long/heavy for the trackage.

There's been a tremendous outbreak of way-long trains in the last few years. Not all of it fully successful.



spsalso

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

According to the link in IRstuff's post, derailments are down from 6328 in 1975 to 1044 in 2022. So at least some progress?

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

hokie, I never took you for the 'looking for the bright side' type.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

phamENG,
Lots of folks have incorrect views of me. But that is OK.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

Would be more concerned if derailments weren't down given technological advancement....

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Why yes, I do in fact have no idea what I'm talking about

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

(OP)
Just as a 'for what it's worth' moment, over the last few years, seven of the nine Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which heard testimony from the Norfolk Southern CEO earlier today, took more than $300,000 in contributions from Norfolk Southern, while four of the 10 Democrats took $75,000. With that in mind, I'm not sure how much will really come from this session, particularly when you consider that the Norfolk Southern CEO refused to commit to any real effort to improve the safety of their rail operations. He seemed to imply that they're already doing everything that they can do to avoid accidents.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

(OP)
And when it comes to Congress, we have to put up with this sort of stuff:

Republican Congressman Mike Collins Blames Diversity for Norfolk Southern Train Derailments

The representative from Georgia believes diversity, equity, and inclusion is the real reason for the train derailments.


https://newrepublic.com/post/171045/republican-con...

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

From your article:
. “This administration’s focus on DEI is forcing private companies to rethink their goals and one has to wonder, was Norfolk Southern’s DEI policies directing resources away from the important things like greasing wheel bearings?"

It doesn't help that the Transportation Secretary Buttigege, shortly after the incident, was on tour saying infrastructure projects are bad because they employ too many white people.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

And just in case nobody has noticed, there is currently a grease shortage happening right now.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

I am thinking that these roller bearing assemblies are permanently greased, i.e. there is no periodic lubing, unlike the old friction type bearings.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

Ok maybe they don't need periodic lubing, but then they will need periodic replacing. Take your pick, you can't have both.
Every device has a life.
Grease shortage? First I heard about that. The local fast lube place seems to not have an issue.

If diversity means training new people, then that is understandable. One would think a new person starts from the bottom job, and works there way up. Most diversity programs require hiring at every level and training for that position.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

It does appear that common bearing setups are not field serviceable. Calcium sulfonate greases are used which are not compatible with everybody's favorite "red grease". Too much risk for contamination if serviced in the field.

The funny part is, it's not just the chemicals to make the greases short, one major supplier can't even get the tubes to put the grease in. They can only sell by the pail right now.

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

"I am thinking that these roller bearing assemblies are permanently greased, i.e. there is no periodic lubing, unlike the old friction type bearings."

Not "friction" I think, but "plain". The descriptive term "friction" was apparently generated by roller bearing companies, so as to make their bearings appear superior (which they pretty much were).

Note that "friction" bearings are still used in most automotive engines (while my Honda motorcycle made about 60 years ago had ball and roller).



spsalso

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

The journal bearings used prior to roller bearings were in my opinion awful, but railroads ran on them successfully until the modern roller bearing replaced them.
The journal boxes have no seals and relatively large clearances. They seem to always be rather dirty.

Journal Boxes And Their Inspection By Heritage Rail News February 7, 2016Features

If you find technical details interesting these documents are full of them.
SKF Railway technical handbook Volume 1
Axleboxes, wheelset bearings, sensors, condition monitoring, subsystems and services
SKF Railway technical handbook Volume 2
Drive systems: traction motor and gearbox bearings, sensors, condition monitoring and services

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

Plain bearing railroad trucks were banned in 1994 in interchange service. There were NOT very many in 1994. They could still be used on a single railroad, and likely were under maintenance rolling stock.

So, unless you've been visiting a railroad museum, you likely haven't seen any of these "live".

The journal box DOES have a spring loaded cover which keeps the majority of "stuff" out. What does get through wears the bearing until it needs replacing.

As far as clearances, I'm not sure there ARE any. The journal should be round and smooth. The bearing should roughly conform to the journal. Is there anything else? Well, the bearing has to actually fit into its mounting. I suspect that was what was so "elegant" about the design: NO tight clearances. Yet it still worked.


spsalso

RE: Here we go again, a Norfolk Southern train derails, only this time it's in Alabama...

I spent a few months during my apprenticeship servicing locomotive cranes, so I worked on a few car trucks.

The short line at work converted all of our flatcars to roller bearings sometime in the late 1980's, the messy task of servicing journel boxes is long gone, along with the considerable maintenance labor expense.

The large clearances I called out above are on the back side where the axle enters the journel box. The backside clearance is large enough that the car can be jacked up enough that the journal bearing can be pulled out of the truck with only pulling out the keeper wedge. It seems a bit crude, bit it is a simple and elegant design.

The babbit lined bearing only covers a bit more than 1/4 of the journel circumference. They were machined to a slightly larger diameter than the axle, and then wear to fit. After a while in service the entire contact surface will take on a burnished appearance. We used wool mops manufactured for use as oil feeding wicks to keep the journel well lubricated.

The journel box doors mostly did have spring closures and could be ordered with seals, but many did not have seals, and some boxes never had springs. The only time I remember the inside of a journel box being "clean" was just after we serviced one.

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