2019 Heavy Haul Session
Tracking the Evolution of Rail Grinding and Milling
Iron Moustache Consulting
This presentation examines the pivotal changes in direction that have taken railways and transits from the early days of using rail grinders to clean up existing rail surface defects, through maintenance rail grinding, rail profile grinding, to the current best practice of preventive crack control. The presenters will discuss how the equipment has evolved in lockstep with our understanding of the opportunities to control wheel/rail contact conditions and how this control can balance between perfecting rail profile control and mitigating rail crack growth. Best practice will be defined in holistic terms of achieving the highest effectiveness in extending rail life and maintaining the integrity of rail flaw detection at the lowest operating costs, using practical examples from CSX’s rail management program.
The presentation will then take a look forward to a future where grinding will be both preventive and proactive, where the status of rolling contact fatigue is mapped and trended curve by curve. This vision will show how rail grinders could be pre-programmed to execute the right rail profile and depth of metal removal on a site-specific basis while being deployed according to grind planning algorithms that optimize their utilization across broad territories. This vision will also present how a total rail management program over a large railway might employ a combination of production rail grinders, gap grinders, switch and crossing grinders, high speed grinding and rail milling, dependent upon the status of their various rail conditions.