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Clearing Train Tracks

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Emans_scapes, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Emans_scapes

    Emans_scapes Member
    Messages: 44

    We have an account that we have been plowing for years. They bring train cars in on a weekly basis with materials they need to extract from them. Starting last year they had us start clearing snow from the area. The pictures will explain more. photo 2.jpg


    photo 1.jpg


    photo (10).jpg

    you can see in the last picture that there are metal tubes running down each track and they never clear out 100%. The rail company is complaining saying they wont service them if they have to walk through snow. Lately we have just been shoveling a path down each side of the cars and throwing it inside the track. What i dont understand is we have been servicing this company for years and now all of a sudden this is an issue. I am sure there are quite a few people who plow business' with this same setup. How do you handle it?

    We have tried a lawn tractor with a blower. There is too much hardware on the sides of the rails that the blower keeps getting hung up on. we have tried a skid loader with a broom, that didnt work. Any ideas?

    photo 2.jpg

    photo 1.jpg

    photo (10).jpg
     
  2. alcoman50

    alcoman50 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    You could do what the contractor who clears the snow in our plant does. A loader with a bucket, loader should have wheelbase that is just wider than the gauge of the rail. They just plow and the wheels leave a nice walkway for us train crews to walk in. From the last picture it should be getting plowed the other direction. Start at the lead track and push in to the tracks. CSX does the same thing in their yard in Syracuse. They use loaders and just "drive" the tracks and pile at the end. I have been at the location I am working at for three winters and the contractor has never hit or damaged anything as far as trackside structures or equipment. A loader will be able to drive across the rails with out any issues. They use a Volvo loader. I don't remember the size but will see it tomorrow and can post it here.
     
  3. Emans_scapes

    Emans_scapes Member
    Messages: 44

    The problem is that there are always cars in there. Where I was plowing in the last pic was just a driveway leading back to the tracks. Our other problem is that all the rails merge in to one and it is a cluster f*** of rails everywhere.
     
  4. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    We do a place like that where the tracks converge and all the "switch plates" ( not sure that's what they are called) are mounted in the ground. We tore them up plowing ..then tried a broom with metal bristles which worked O.K. now we put a bucket on a machine and backdrag across or down the tracks so nothing catches the rails or plates..then we keep it salted good to minimize the snow build up..it never looks perfect though...your situation might be different or you may not be able to keep the track salted as much as needed...this is what works best for us and keeps them happy,
    Steve
     
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Who owns the tracks? I wouldn't put anything on the rails ,you do anything to the rail or a train comes off ,they'll be pointing the finger at you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  6. alcoman50

    alcoman50 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    In the satellite pic of the place you posted you start at the "one" track and push down the longest open track. Then bucket it off to the side. The contractor at our site goes up to within about 10 feet of the cars and buckets back in float. Scoops it away. CSX does the same thing in Syracuse, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester. The loader will follow the tracks pretty well. And the tires will leave an awesome walkway for the guys doing the switching. We average 200+ inches of snow a year in our location, Our yard is even more complicated as our tracks go in both directions off the "one" track. It is doable just takes time. As far as between tracks where you have cars sitting for a "walkway" it sounds as tho the crews are picking nits to avoid having to work the site. We use an Ariens 28 inch two stage blower for those areas but we eat up shear pins like mad. Leaf blowers are awesome for clearing the switch stands.
     
  7. NorthernSvc's

    NorthernSvc's Senior Member
    Messages: 766

  8. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    I take it your kidding but if not, at our site the rail cars are moving about 1-2 mph. If salt derails the cars they have bigger issues going on :laughing:
     
  9. alcoman50

    alcoman50 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    Salting might work where the tracks are in a roadway or a crossing, but in a railyard salt will do more harm than good. The back dragging across or "away" from the cars is the key, it sounds like across would not work in the OP location with the pipes that run along the tracks. At our location the contractor that takes care of the roadways in the plant uses a Doosan loader with a pusher for clearing the areas where the tracks are embedded in the blacktop. 7 tracks. In pretty much every case plants own their own sidings. Just make sure that you are covered in your contract with them in case of damage. Switch stands are what the appartus is called that move the rails so the cars will go down another track.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  10. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    Yeah we have mangled some of them...I believe the plant I plow maintains the rails inside the facility......it's basically whatever it takes to keep them as clean as possible that's why we use so much salt around them
     
  11. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    What about an artic sectional pusher on a skid steer? Sit it down on top of the track. Let center section float up and the outside sections clear along the track?
     
  12. Emans_scapes

    Emans_scapes Member
    Messages: 44

    If you look close in the first picture you will see 3 red things next to the tracks. They had a tent and awning company build covers for the switches. They are easily removed when cars are coming in or out. I will snap a picture next time I'm out there. We use to get called out at all hours of the night if one of the switches was froze up.
     
  13. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Salt isn't likely to derail anything, but it'll eat the hell out of electrical connections. Remember, crossing signals and lineside signals are activated when steel wheels get in the circuit and shunt the current. It doesn't take much to break a bond wire and booger things up badly.

    After a certain depth, snow needs to come out of "the gauge" (the space between the rails), or that can cause a derailment. Long before my company started operating the line, some snowmobiles rode in the gauge and packed down some wet snow that froze before the company that owned the line could clear it out. They ended up with at least one covered hopper (a load of cement) down over an embankment. Not good.

    I think Alcoman has offered some good advice about this stuff.
     
  14. Emans_scapes

    Emans_scapes Member
    Messages: 44


    We have a 10' pusher that has a quick tach to our skid. It has a rubber cutting edge. I think back dragging with that might be the ticket. There are metal plates with tons of bolts that stick above the rails so you can't push with a bucket.
     
  15. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    Just a FWIW....we used a rubber edge the first year and the tracks destroyed it.....literally
    Steve