CSX Opening NO&M Sub on 2/1/06!

Hytec Jan 18, 2006

  1. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    A CSX spokesman just announced on the local TV's live afternoon news show that CSX will re-open the NO&M Sub to regular traffic on February 1st. He said that initially the trains would be running slower than track speed, I assume to allow the track, ballast, and roadbed a chance to settle. He went on to say that after about two weeks, in mid-February, all 34 scheduled trains will have been returned to their "home" rails, and be running at the posted track speeds.

    [​IMG] I don't think I could have survived much more railfan deprivation. :eek: :D
     
  2. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    A train of 8 locomotives and all grain cars came by this evening heading west towards New Orleans. It was after dark so I couldn't ID any of the power, except that it was all CSX, and the last unit appeared to be an MP switcher of some type. I have to assume this means that power is beginning to return to Gentilly Yard.

    The tie and ballast crews are working feverishly for the return of regular traffic by the end of next week. One of the crews appeared to be 1-2 miles west of me this afternoon. I'll try to get plenty of photos when they get nearer. Also, I assume the passage of that train this evening means that the Bay St Louis bridge can now handle some traffic.

    Sure wish that mmi16 could give us some insight.... [​IMG]
     
  3. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    Software to reactivate the Signal sytem on the NO&M is scheduled to be installed on Jan 23. With all field locations having to have been 'new installations' I would expect many hours between Jan 23 and Feb 1 will be devoted to signal testing.


    Full traffic levels will not be returned to the NO&M immediately. Crews that have been relocated to Meridian, MS will be recalled to their home terminals in stages as operations begin to return to normal.
     
  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the update, mmi16.

    Where is the signal software installed? Is it in a central location, or in PROM chips installed in each signal box?
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sounds like great news!

    [​IMG]

    Boxcab E50
     
  6. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Ken, I hope to post photos of the Tie/Ballast Crew operation this evening...all things being equal and the creek don't rise. :D

    Actually, after I post them you might consider copying or transferring the post to a forum that includes MOW. That is, if you think it would be of a more general interest than just CSX....?
     
  7. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    The software is installed in Jacksonville to operate the CADS System. The CADS System is the computer system that is used by the Dispatchers to line signals, switches and issue Direct Train Control instructions and other track occupancy permit. The CADS system makes the multiplicity of signal systems from the predecessor companies seem to the Dispatcher to be a single seamless system throughout CSX. Whenever significant changes are made to signal system hardware in the field, corresponding changes have to be made to the CADS software in Jacksonville, or any other computer control location, so that the field hardware and the control location can communicate the required data in the proper manner. Computers cannot control anything if they can't communicate with the device they control.

    Signal hardware that was on the NO&M prior to Katrina was of mostly L&N design from the late 1960's to early 1980's. Needless to say, what is being installed today is of current 21st Century technology.
     
  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks mmi16. I had noticed that the signals at 7341 were responding differently in the last few weeks, and was wondering what had been changed.

    I wish I had had the opportunity to become more involved with rail traffic control systems similar to CADS. I was involved with many process control systems over my career, but was never with the railroad industry. No doubt it would have been far more interesting than automating cement plants and ships.

    I'm sure that you have been in conversation with Paul (Colonel), one of the Administrators on the International Railways Forum. Paul is a Railway Signals Engineer based near Sydney, Australia, and has posted many interesting threads and photo essays.
     
  9. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    I have never had any contact with Paul.
     
  10. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    The Tie & Ballast Crew came through today, and what a show they put on...! :eek: :cool:

    I couldn't get a shot of the entire crew, but this is everyone from the new tie positioners way in the distance to the spikers up close. The ballast jammers, aligners, shakers, and shapers were behind me.

    [​IMG]


    Positioning the new ties.

    [​IMG]


    Removing the old ties. BTW, the crew that removed and picked up the spikes from the old ties had already passed.

    [​IMG]


    Inserting the new ties.

    [​IMG]


    Now spiking them.

    [​IMG]

    [ January 23, 2006, 09:45 PM: Message edited by: Hytec ]
     
  11. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Now the ballast is jammed under the new ties. Those tines suspended under the orange contraption are constantly vibrating.

    [​IMG]


    Then the rail alignment machine comes along. This dude uses lights (lasers?) that reflect off mirrors mounted on the cart out front to get the rails into vertical and horizontal alignment.

    [​IMG]

    And then there's this monster...! This guy settles the ballast under and around the new ties. You don't see anything moving, just hear a very low rumble and feel the ground vibrate very strongly. Even the branches on the bushes were vibrating.

    [​IMG]


    Finally the ballast shapers.

    [​IMG]


    Hey, even these need a break once in a while...... :D

    [​IMG]
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ballast jammer= A tamper.

    Ballast shaper= A regulator.

    How were the ties being removed? In one piece? Or was the machine cutting them, and shoving the ends out?

    [​IMG]

    Boxcab E50
     
  13. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Some very interesting shots of the track gang at work. Thanks for the continuing updates.
     
  14. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the names, I had no clue...obviously! [​IMG]

    The old ties were gripped at the end, outside of the rail, then drawn out under the rails until the opposite end was clear by about a foot. The photo of the removal machine shows a pile of ballast being pushed ahead of the old tie. Occasionally the grippers would slip off the tie end and the operator would have to re-grab the tie.

    The tie removal machine was immediately followed by a small crane with claws (similar to the crane in the second photo) that grouped the ties into piles near the edge of the ballast margin. The old ties were then picked up and loaded onto a truck running beside the track that had a claw crane built into its bed.

    All in all, it is a very efficient operation. I was told that they were averaging about 3000 ties a day. Their record was a few days ago when they replaced over 4000 ties, or about 3-1/2 miles! They have about 20 more miles to go before they must finish at the Biloxi Bay Bridge before 2/1, when revenue freight starts rolling for good.

    Another interesting item....a rail broke in the middle of this process yesterday. The rail replacement crew said this was only the third rail break since the tie crew started at the Bay St Louis Bridge. Two of the breaks occurred yesterday, and the third was the day before. It's surprising that there are not more breaks during this process, especially seeing how the rails are handled by these machines. :eek:
     
  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hank-

    Is this welded rail? Or jointed? I can't see with certainty in the photos. But am guessing welded.

    [​IMG]

    Boxcab E50
     
  16. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Ken, it's all welded. The ~10' rail section bolted in place yesterday to repair the break should be welded today or tomorrow. I'll try to get some photos.
     
  17. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    This crew is removing the old ties from the ROW. There was a driver in the truck, but the crane operator was controlling the truck's movement.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The crane has a healthy reach....!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    The broken rail patch was welded today at both ends simultaneously by two crews.

    [​IMG]


    Removing the patches by burning the bolts off, then knocking off the plates with sledge hammers.

    [​IMG]


    Then the gaps were shaped, rails wedged into place, the molds mounted, and wet clay(?) jammed into every knook and cranny to prevent spillage. Now the gaps are ready for the pour.

    [​IMG]


    The rail ends and mold must be pre-heated for at least five minutes so the molten metal will weld to the ends of the rails.

    [​IMG]


    Now for the pour. That pot contains the powdered welding alloy along with a substance that burns hot enough to liquify the alloy, but does not mix with it. I think it may be Thermite, but I'm not sure. (Sorry about the mess in the foreground, but that was only place I could get a decent shot without breathing the fumes.)

    [​IMG]


    The molds were removed once the alloy had hardened just enough so the slag and overflow could be removed, but before it had hardened totally and they would have to be ground off.

    [​IMG]


    Then after the alloy had cooled a little more, the railhead was ground to shape.

    [​IMG]


    This is the finished weld. The Foreman told me to photograph this weld because it was the "prettier" of the two. He did the other one.

    [​IMG]


    All in all, it took them about an hour for the whole job, which I think is fantastic considering the amount of work and care involved.
     
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    [​IMG] Fascinating documentation!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  20. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    Good pictorial documentation of the 'forgotten' side of railroading. With out the track structure, all the engines and cars in the world are worthless.
     

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