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Technical Description Essay

Technical Description Essay

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Published by Ronak Patel

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Ronak Patel on Dec 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/25/2012

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Railroad Maintenance
Replacing railroad track ties
English 202C Section 033Ronak Patel10/19/2010
 
Audience and Scope
The purpose of this article is to inform college engineering students about the process of replacing railroad track ties. The college students will be interested in an internship or a full timeposition within a railroad agency. Therefore, these students are likely to know how trains operateand some basic railroad terminology. However, they probably do not know about the differentrailroad maintenance processes. This information will help the reader become moreknowledgeable about a subject that is related to their career. Thus, the students will be able tobetter transition and succeed at work.
Important Definitions
Ballast
:
Gravel and rocks that make up the railroad bed
Ballast Distribution System
:
Track vehicle that distributes ballast along the track to create aneven and level track bed
Rail Vac
:
Track vehicle that is used to vacuum ballast from the track 
Slack
:
Track segments that are not fully secured
Spikes
:
Metal nails that are used to secure the rails to the ties
Spike Puller
:
Tool that is used to remove spikes
Tie
:
Wooden beams that sit underneath the railroad rails
Tie Crane
:
Track vehicle that is used to lift, remove, and insert ties
Introduction
Many companies provide commuters with trainservice from one location to another. For example,Amtrak (Figure 1) offers people train service allaround the country. To ensure safe and reliable travel,these companies need to maintain the railroad tracks.A key task in maintaining the tracks is ensuring thattrack 
ties
are secure and in good condition. If thetrack ties are not secure or are in poor condition,
slack
develops and causes the train to move violentlyand potentially derail. Hence, it is critical thatcompanies replace track ties when needed. Replacingtrack ties is a three phase process that uses both track equipment and manual labor to replace ties.
Figure 1. Amtrak train 
 
Process of Replacing Ties
 Replacing track ties is an essential track maintenance process. Track ties are replaced wheneverthe ties begin to rot, wear, or break down. During tie replacement, the track is taken offline sothat work can be done. When a track is taken offline it changes the train schedule, so work isnormally done early in the morning or late at night on the weekends. It is important to replaceties efficiently to reduce the impact on commuters. Replacing track ties occurs in three majorphases.
Phase I: Removing Ties
Track ties are removed in two steps. The two steps for removing ties are removing the
spikes
andpulling the tie out.
Removing Spikes:
Before ties can be pulled out, they need tobe separated from the rails. Rails are securedto track ties with spikes. Spikes are removedby track workers. Track workers use a
spikepuller
(Figure 2A) to pull most of the spikeout. Once the spike is loose, the track workers use a crowbar to pry the remainderof the spike out (Figure 2B).
Pulling the Tie Out:
Workers prepare to pull the tie out bymoving
ballast
away from one end of thetie. The ballast is moved to prepare for the
Tie Crane
. The Tie Crane uses a hydraulicarm on its side to grab onto one end of thetie. After it has a secure grip, the armextends out, which pulls the tie out (Figure3). All of the old ties that are removed areput into a pile together to be discarded.
Figure 2A. Spike Puller Figure 2B. Crowbar Figure 3. Tie Crane sliding tie out 

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