Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Tie Clearance and Giant Claw Action

Some of you may recall that back in June, Union Pacific came through and replaced the track and the mainline switch leading into the Fernley House Tracks across from our house. In the wake of that job they left a pile of junk railroad ties (sleepers). Yesterday, UP finally cleared the ties, using a variety of interesting equipment.

Tie Clearance

Tie Clearance

A crew came by and used this crane truck to pick up some of the ties and load them on the truck's flatbed to haul them away for disposal. I don't know where they take these discarded ties, although it might be to a large tie-disposal site located at Hazen. Railroad ties are difficult to dispose of, as they're soaked with creosote and other noxious chemicals to preserve the wood.

Later in the day, a set of small self-propelled maintenance of way equipment consisting of a mini-gondola and a transport car holding an excavator that appeared to also supply the power for the transport car eased into the Fernley House Track, after which I got to see equipment moves that I'd not seen before.

Self-Unloading Loader

The excavator used its own bucket-arm to ease itself off of the carrier.

Giant Hand Action

It then disengaged its bucket and tied on to chains attached to the carrier and lifted the carrier completely off the rails and set it aside next to the dwindling pile of ties.

Giant Hand Action

It repeated this action with the gondola. Note that the wheels on these pieces of equipment are very small compared to a standard railroad car.

Clawing Away

Having gotten the equipment off the rails, the excavator reattached the bucket-claw and went on to clear the remaining ties into a Union Pacific dump truck.

MOW at Rest

With most of the remaining junk ties cleared away, the crew buttoned up stuff for the night and left.

This morning, the crew were back to get moving down the railroad to their next job. After negotiating a work window with the dispatcher after Amtrak came through (running almost ten minutes early), it was time to reverse the steps from yesterday.

Giant Claw Action

Here, the excavator has already re-railed the gondola and is putting the transport car back on the rails, after which one of the crew will re-attach it to the gondola with a link-and-pin drawbar arrangement.

Self-Loading Excavator

The excavator was then able to push itself back onto the transport car.

Ready to Roll

I did not see exactly how it worked, but it appears that the excavator is attached to the transport car in some way and provides the power to move it (slowly) out of the House Track.

Self-Propelled Excavator Train

Here's about thirty seconds of footage of the mini-train pushing itself out of the House Track onto the main line at Fernley. At the very end you will see one of the crew moving to close the switch off the main line to the House Tracks.

Having put itself back together and with a maintenance window in which to work, the crew slowly rolled away to their next task.

I'm glad to have the ties gone, but I suspect that the chipmunks and rabbits that appeared to be have been using the pile as a nest were less than pleased.
Tags: maintenance of way, trains, union pacific

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