San Diego MTS, ARM Ink Rail Maintenance Contract

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Advanced Rail Management will review existing wheel/rail profile compatibility; analyze rail profile and wear conditions; and design and execute a rail grinding program to remove defects, enhance vehicle steering through curves and reduce noise for San Diego Trolley.

Advanced Rail Management will review existing wheel/rail profile compatibility; analyze rail profile and wear conditions; and design and execute a rail grinding program to remove defects, enhance vehicle steering through curves and reduce noise for San Diego Trolley.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has signed a five-year contract with Advanced Rail Management Corp. (ARM) for the San Diego Trolley Inc. (SDTI) rail maintenance program, including rail grinding on all open and embedded track sections and special trackwork.

The SDTI program will cover a review of the existing wheel/rail profile compatibility; analysis of rail profile and wear conditions; and design and execution of a rail grinding program to remove defects (controlling defect development, surface fatigue, gauge-corner fatigue and corrugation), enhance vehicle steering through curves and reduce noise.

ARM, a wheel/rail interface consultant, will use its optical rail measurement system to conduct a pre-grind survey; develop a five-year grinding strategy; implement and oversee the annual grinding program; and conduct an annual post-grind assessment to ensure that the grinding plan is meeting SDTI objectives, according to ARM President Gordon Bachinsky. ARM will also conduct optical rail measurement programs at the mid- and end-points of the contract to assess rail wear and surface condition trends for long-term maintenance planning.

Additionally, along with project subcontractor National Research Council of Canada (NRC), ARM will review new and worn wheel profiles “to ensure that they are compatible with the existing rail profile design,” Bachinsky said. NRC will then develop grinding templates that “enhance steering in curves and generate multiple wheel/rail contact bands to distribute wear in tangent track.”

“The ultimate goal of the current five-year grinding plan is to help the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System move from a corrective to preventive grinding plan,” Bachinsky said. “Along the way, the program will reduce rail and wheel wear, noise and vibration, and derailment potential. And it will improve ride quality for passengers.”

“We are excited to work with the professionals at ARM again,” SDTI Superintendent of Wayside Maintenance Fred Byle added. “During the previous contract, ARM developed a rail grinding plan to remove surface defects and control the contact band on a curve with 90-pound rail that was experiencing severe gauge-face wear. ARM’s efforts significantly reduced the wear rate, allowing us to get two additional years of life out of the rail. This additional time allowed MTS to get a rail replacement contract in place and remove all the 90-pound rail on the system.”

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