What Car Do You Drive?
Since I was young I have always loved the 1959 Corvette. If ever there was a dream car for me, this is it. Convertible, of course! What is your dream car? Wouldn’t you maintain it like new “forever”? Would you agree with what Champion puts on its website? “Choose quality parts every time…because safety matters, performance matters and parts matter.”
Your railcar quality is only the sum of its parts, also. Even if you outsource all your repairs and maintenance including preventive maintenance to experts like Iron Horse Logistics Group, some knowledge about parts goes a long way. What are KIPs, and why does it matter how high they are (whatever that means)? Why are turned wheel sets so much cheaper than new ones, and how can I get them on my railcars to save all that money? I know the sound of a bad bearing in my Chevy or Ford, but can I hear that in my railcar?
Does any of this really make a difference? If you have ever been charged for an overload you know the penalty and time that costs. One of the determinants of whether a railcar is overloaded is its bearings. How?
“The gross rail load or the maximum weight that a loaded railcar is determined by journal size. AAR Field Manual Rule 70.B.3.a. titled Lightweights, Weight Limits and Overloading has the load limits based on journal size from 5 ½ x 10 (aka 50 Ton) to 7 x 12 (aka 315,000 lb). All modern cars have roller bearing labeled the appropriate size, 6 ½ x 12 and 6 ½ x 9 are the most common for 100 Ton and 286K cars.”
That’s a lot of detail but important to know. One of the largest repair costs for railcars is wheels. Unlike scheduling your car for an oil change every 5,000 miles you don’t send your railcar in for a wheel change every 50,000 miles. Thanks to technology wheel changeouts are determined in large part by the KIP readings taken by detectors placed at strategic points along the railways. The higher the readings the greater the need to change the wheels.
“For use in the rail industry, the term KIP is engineering slang for 1,000 pounds-force. So, a 90 KIP wheel is a wheel that is generating 90,000 lbs. of force when measured by a wheel impact detector.” How does this impact the wheels? “For comparison, the wheel static load for a fully loaded 296,000 Lb. GRL railcar is 35,750 lbs at each wheel. So the 90 KIP force registered for a single wheel is greater than 2 1/2 times the static load. This force goes two ways. One way is into the track and track structure, not a good thing for the track. This force is also going into the railcar – the old “equal and opposite” equation; also not a good thing for a railcar.”
Parts matter, and parts are expensive. Your railcar might not be your dream car but it probably costs even more! Some knowledge about parts, and choosing the right ones when needed, can reduce your costs significantly.
If you want to let the railroads charge you at their whim, then read no further. But if you want to control your costs, let Iron Horse Logistics Group show you how.
Note: All quotations above are from Randall Thomure at http://railassetadvisors.com/ and used with his permission.