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Author Topic: Trivial question
Stephen W
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Watching an episode of "Extreme Trains" last night there was a piece when our intrepid presenter (what is he on?!) was with a track maintenance engineer in a car that had been converted to run on rails going up through the Donner Pass. I was wondering how they turn the car around or does the engineer have to reverse the whole way back to his depot? It's the sort of thing you think about when you are getting old and don't have a life!!
Posts: 211 | From: Norfolk England | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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Hy-Rails enter or leave the rails at grade X-ings. I realize those are few and far between in the Mother Country, but the Colonists still have all too many.
Posts: 9389 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stephen W
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Sorry to continue my ignorance but what are grade crossings please?
Posts: 211 | From: Norfolk England | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Henry Kisor
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Grade crossings = road crossings over railroad tracks. "Grade" in this context merely means that the highway crosses over the tracks on the same grade, or level.

In the United States, a favorite method of disposing of one's mobile home is to park it at night on a remote grade crossing and claim it was stolen.

Pow! No more payments to the bank.

Another trick American drivers enjoy is to see if they can beat an oncoming train to the grade crossing.

Pow! No more American driver.

Sorry, I got carried away.

Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RR4me
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Actually, Henry, you gave me an excellent idea! I have a circa 1970's Motorhome (piece of junk) that was left on my property when I bought it. Junk yards have refused to take it, the County people have no ideas, and I've even been turned down my the monster-truck, crush-the-wrecks people. I have been despairing of how to get rid of it...
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Geoff Mayo
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Stephen, the UK equivalent is a level crossing. Most are equivalent to either AHBs (automatic half-barriers), lights only, or have nothing much of substance except a sign.

Hi-rail is a shortened version of highway-rail vehicle; Hy-rail is a trademark is Harsco.

Geoff M.

--------------------
Geoff M.

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Stephen W
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Thank you Geoff - I think I understand it much clearer. Now, where did I park that old caravan?
Posts: 211 | From: Norfolk England | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rresor
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Let me amplify just a bit. Hi-rail vehicles have small railroad wheels mounted at the extreme ends of the vehicle (in front of the front wheels and behind the rear wheels). To get on the track, the hi-rail driver finds a level crossing that is wide enough that the vehicle can get parallel to the rails, with its rubber tires sitting on them. Then the railroad wheels are lowered (either manually or hydraulically) and they raise the vehicle slightly so that most of the weight of the front end, and some of the rear end, is carried by the railroad wheels. The rear tires rest on the rails and provide propulsion.

You are correct that there is no way to turn around. In the absence of a handy level crossing, the vehicle has to reverse. I once backed more then 10 miles on a remote branch in West Virginia after we were stopped by a washout and there was no closer level crossing. Not fun.

Hi-rails have completely replaced those scenic little "track speeders" formerly used by maintenance gangs, because the hi-rails can set on or off at any highway crossing. The typical vehicle is a Chevy Suburban (a large SUV), although one Class I railroad had a fleet of hi-rail Chevy Blazers and track inspectors typically use hi-rail pickup trucks so they can carry track tools with them.

There are even large hi-rail vehicles equipped with cranes and such.

A hi-rail doesn't "shunt" the signal system (its rail wheels are insulated), so it will not actuate highway crossing protection and needs a special "track car permit" for protection from trains.

Some hi-rails are equipped with "exciters" that can be turned on and off to activate crossing protection.

There -- everything you always wanted to know about hi-rails.

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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by rresor:
Hi-rails have completely replaced those scenic little "track speeders" formerly used by maintenance gangs...

Oh but Mr. Resor, I can remember well various journeys taken into MILW's Montana Sixteenmile Canyon (near Three Forks) on such a vehicle. The view sure beats any available from the back seat of a hi-rail ('fraid I was never high up enough on any inspection party I went on to get to sit up front) and even beats what the paying patrons saw from a Super Dome.
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Railroad Bob
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Chiming in with a story of my own to go with Mr. Norman's recollection above^^^-->back in old '78, I rode with the Gang Foreman in what my railroad called a "motorcar" (I believe it was a Fairbanks-Morse 'speeder') to a place called Island Mountain tunnel, to deliver a hammer (yes!) to a gang working there. I recall there being no suspension at all in this simple machine. We put it on the tracks MANUALLY with two long arms that could be extended out from the vehicle, then pushed back into place. I figured I would always remember this trip, and to this day I do.
A bone-shaking marvelous ride along the main of the NWP; at that time running under the flag of the SP.

Posts: 588 | From: East San Diego County, CA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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