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On page 125 (top right corner) of the Feb issue of Garden Railways magazine, there is a photo in the ad for "Trains" magazine.  I assume that they are expanding a line and building new switches, but I can't help but find it interesting that these look a bit like the drop-in sectional switches that we use on our model railroads.  So it prompts me to ask the stupid question, are switches built away from the site and dropped in place by a crane or something, or are they built on-site as I have always assumed and this is just an illusion because they build them first and then connect all the straight track?  ;)
 

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RE: Real Life "Drop-In" Sectional Switches?

All the switches they put in for our new Sprinter rail line from Escondido to Oceanside were prebuilt and delivered on flatcars...stacked three high...concrete ties and all. I watched a hydraulic crane lift one off at the downtown Escondido yard, move it to it's resting place, and place them approximately where they were to go. A bull dozer was used to push them into their final place on a pregraded spot. They sat like that for months while the new concrete ties were set for the track on the new roadbed. Prior to all this...long segment of rail had been laid on each side of the roadbed before the roadbed was rebuilt...using the preexisitng track. When all was ready, they brought in a track laying machine and ballast tamper....and started in Escondido and went west for 21 miles...putting in the new rail and getting the final alignment adjustment done.

The road crossings were kits too...prebuilt and brought in and installaed. Using this technique, they were able to tear out the track at a road crossing...regrade...and place the new track kit within a weekend. Most of the road crossings were done on weekends to keep traffic moving during the work week. There was one crossing in Oceanside where I guess the kit approach didn't work as they took a month to get that one in.

The Sprinter opens for public use on Wednesday...and I may just go take a 42 mile ride.
 

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Ed,

 That's the way old UP dose it on the mainline.  UP carries them on a 89' flatcar standing up, on the long side of the straight side. They have like a center beam car and they put them on.
 

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Yup I got photos of a section that sat near our local yards fro years up until recently. Not sure tehy ever installed it even. That yard recently was transferred from Conrail/Norfolk Southern to Western New York & Pennsylvania RR. Lots of things that had not moved for years is gone now. 


A shot from the road bridge that goes over the double track entrance to the Yard from the west looking East/North East


Another shot from the road bridge zoomed in a bit closer. You can just see the maintenacne facilities in the distance.


A zoomed in shot of the switch from the road bridge.


Taken from back by where I parked the Van. The green car you saw earlier was someone shagging golf balls from the tracks as there is a golf course near the tracks here. Many folks park there to shag lost balls. As it's ON railroad property I did NOT park there. This became a HUGE issue later when they used this staging area to offload Gas pipe for a huge natural Gas line project that wen thru Western NY and Western PA. Hired armed security gaurds patrolling 24/7 to insure no one tampered with the gas pipes as they were stored there.


A shot showing a little more of the switch.


A few more pieces stacked up.

I believe this is one switch? It's been broken down into 3 smaller pieces for ease in shipping to the final location. 

Chas
 

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RE: Real Life "Drop-In" Sectional Switches?

It only makes good sense, not only from a construction aspect, but economicaly also. Having spent more than a few summers working on a rail & tie gang on the ICG I can tell you from personal experience that building a switch on site is a labor intensive colossal pain in the *** . By pre manufacturing a switch in the shops the Railraods can use jigs and some automation to produce the turnouts more quickly with far fewer manhours involved. For the total labor cost involved in on site construction they can probably produce six or seven switches in the shop AND transport them to the site. By producing them in a controled environment they can also build them to better tolerances and produce a better quality product that should be more durable and operate more efficiently as well.
 

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Don't stub your toe on that one/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif
 

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Posted By wchasr on 01/14/2008 8:06 AM
Yup I got photos of a section . . .







Thanks for sharing these. It never occurred to me that the switches would be built whole in advance.


My regards,

--Ron in CC
 

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RE: Real Life "Drop-In" Sectional Switches?

I gotta add a stupid question/s cause no post would be complete without one.
Is it possible that these aren't prefabricated? I mean, when they expanded the line, could they have just removed the original switches whole so as to reuse them?
They look awful dusty and rusty, not something I would expect to see roll off a shop floor.
If they are prefab, where do they make them and how?
 

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Richard said
 "They look awful dusty and rusty, not something I would expect to see roll off a shop floor. "

Agreed about being rusty etc. but please note that I said that they had been sitting for quite a while upwards of three or four years when I took the photos./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif The gas line project I mentioned I had only a window of opportunity to take photos for one summer and still didn't make it./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif I know of at least one friend that got shots though./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif

Chas
 

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RE: Real Life "Drop-In" Sectional Switches?

They are actually called Panels. They are also for derails when they need track now to get the line operational fast to start moving trains!
 

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Centerpoint properties in Elwood IL is home to the largest inland port in the nation, they had 1.2 million container moves last year, i had my own truck at the time and hauled soooo much stone in there, and got to watch the rails being laid, never saw anything like it, they had cement ties all laid out and had a machine drag off rails off these special cars, they were so long and just fit right on the ties as they went, and all the switches were premade also. Just a little bit of info, BNSF/ UP has rails that go directly to California, they are going to put 2 more mainlines in, they are going to build 2 more container yards up to 3100 acres of land. Right now 300-500 trucks come out of Elwood a day, if your ever in the neihborhood you ought to see this yard, it is truly amazing, there are no people around, everything is done by scanners, and they tell you where to go over speakers. 

tom h
 

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Most RRs now days do the switch pannels as it really saves on time and money.  I'd wish tho back when they first started doing it I'd taken pics of what happend you  would not believe all the way side signals and other structures that got wiped out.  Thats how they came up with specialized cars.  Live and learn:)  Later RJD
 
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