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Railroad track level?

jaw123

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
Looking for some input. Just picked this up because I thought it was near. Was told it was a railroad track level. Can not find anything that looks quite like it. Do you agree? Is it something else? It is 6' long

Thanks
James
 

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jaw123

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Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
Guess I did not look hard enough. Here is an old catalog page that shows a couple

James
 

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Railroads

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Or possibly donate it to the NJ URHS. It's a cool piece with possible connections to NJ RR history.

Robert
 

DustyBar

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Last Subscription Date
01/14/2020
The different steps were for setting super elevation in curves
I was told railroads used parabolas as well as super in curve layout (unlike typical highway designs only using arcs). I saw some very fancy printed layout tables and these levels and templates would have been very handy.
 

dkamp

eMail NOT Working
In my classes on wheel/rail interface, one of the first things I challenged my students with (experienced railcar maintenance people) was "Can anyone tell me where the STEERING WHEEL is on this train?"

They'd all laugh.

I'd repeat it.

They'd kinda chuckle.

I'd repeat it again...

They'd look at me like I was nuts.

EVERY WHEEL is a steering wheel.

--What??--

What keeps the wheels on the track?

Uh... the flange..

NO. The wheel's profile. It's tapered.

Then I'd put a dixie cup on the table, give it a push, and it'd roll in a circle.

That's what railroad wheels do. One dixie cup on each end of a pencil, and two rails on the table- as long as the wheels are centererd... meaning, each rail rolled on each dixie cup at the SAME DIAMETER POINT, it'd go straight.

Start it off with it being higher on one side than the other, it'll FIND center... because the smaller diameter would not WANT to travel as far as the larger, the wheelset STEERS itself to center.

In a curve, the tracklayer must start the inside arc of a curve BEFORE the outside, so that it draws the inner wheel to smaller diameter of the wheel profile. This causes the axle... and every axle AFTER it... to 'steer' in an arc.

This is why there's stepped notches on that level- it's not to find level, it's to cause a correct arc in a curve.

There's a matching wheel profile gauge... so that the taper of the wheel matches the geometry that level creates.:D
 

dkamp

eMail NOT Working
And yes, Dusty- the proper geometry is not just a simple arc. The curve of a section of 'high speed' track, depends on a half-dozen 'critical' things, and another fist full of 'not-so-critical' things, in order to provide a smooth, stable pass through... including, but not limited to bank inclination, with of the railhead centers, width of the wheels, height of wheel flange, wheel face taper, wheel diameter, distance between centers of axles on the TRUCKs, distance between trucks, center of gravity of the railcar, polar moment of the railcar, primary and secondary suspension (axles are suspended at the truck frame, carbody is suspended at the truck pivot), overhang distance from coupler pivot to truck pivot... minimum bend radius of the right-of-way, clearance to adjacent track operating envelope (can't have two passing trains bumping heads)...

The history of track geometry goes back a LONG way. Early railcars with just single axles at each end of a flat chassis were hideous at traversing curves- those axles couldn't pivot, so they banged flanges relentlessly. Tandem trucks offered much better manners, but the above factors meant that if there was something wrong amidst the combination, the trucks would find some speed at which oscillation would occur... 'truck hunting'. It is NOT an uncommon characteristic, and in many cases, it simply cannot be avoided, because one particular speed happens to be the perfect recipie. A perfect example is the EMD/ASEA AEM-7 design... a great machine, but it would exhibit truck hunting at a predictable point in it's normal service speed... it's been a while, but I think it was around 62-65 mph or so... the solution was, never operate IN the zone... accellerate or brake through it, but operate at 60 or 70... not between.

Every once in a while, we'd come across a guy who'd know 'just enough' to be dangerous... recut the wheel faces with a different taper, thinking he'd be doing a favor, making the axle more responsive, or less responsive to track... yeah... ... no. Way Bad Idea... Use the flange profile inspection gauge..
or saving money by cutting one axle's wheels a little bit less than it's partner, to extend axle life... also bad. Makes for erratic truck handling, and when there's two AC tracton motors sharing the same power feed, the motors fight BAD... because they're running at enough of a frequency differerence that the propulsion drive electronics can't figure out what slip compensation angle (voltage to current phase angle) actually is... :crazy:

Wouldn't life be simpler if it was just a damned level? Where'd I put that darned Penberthy Injector? Ah... right there next to the tri-cocks. Hand me my sight-glasses please... and close off that fire-grate, I'm feeling a bit of a draft at my feet... :salute:
 

LCJudge

Subscriber
Age
60
Last Subscription Date
12/14/2019
In my classes on wheel/rail interface, one of the first things I challenged my students with (experienced railcar maintenance people) was "Can anyone tell me where the STEERING WHEEL is on this train?"

They'd all laugh.

I'd repeat it.

They'd kinda chuckle.

I'd repeat it again...

They'd look at me like I was nuts.

EVERY WHEEL is a steering wheel.

--What??--

What keeps the wheels on the track?

Uh... the flange..

NO. The wheel's profile. It's tapered.

Then I'd put a dixie cup on the table, give it a push, and it'd roll in a circle.

That's what railroad wheels do. One dixie cup on each end of a pencil, and two rails on the table- as long as the wheels are centererd... meaning, each rail rolled on each dixie cup at the SAME DIAMETER POINT, it'd go straight.

Start it off with it being higher on one side than the other, it'll FIND center... because the smaller diameter would not WANT to travel as far as the larger, the wheelset STEERS itself to center.

In a curve, the tracklayer must start the inside arc of a curve BEFORE the outside, so that it draws the inner wheel to smaller diameter of the wheel profile. This causes the axle... and every axle AFTER it... to 'steer' in an arc.

This is why there's stepped notches on that level- it's not to find level, it's to cause a correct arc in a curve.

There's a matching wheel profile gauge... so that the taper of the wheel matches the geometry that level creates.:D
I know absolutely nothing about the rails / wheel profiles, etc. even though I serve on the Ky Railway Museuem Board of Directors.

Thanks, you've taught me a few basics that helps me understand all this better.
 
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