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 Post subject: Metal/Frame Fatigue In RR Equipment.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2024 1:28 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:46 pm
Posts: 137
A lot of times while out watching trains, I try to look at the build date on passing cars and notice a chunk of them have markings going back to the early 70's. I try to photograph these cars because they only have a handful of years left until they are forcibly taken out of interchange service due to the FRA rule that any car above the age of 50 must be substantially rebuilt.

Given this rule, it made me wonder why the service life maximum is 50 years. Are cars really beat to the point of no return at this stage? have you ever faced a problem in the preservation world where a cars frame was shot or severely damaged not necessarily from an accident, but from continuous use over the years?


The only time I've heard of this happening was with the GG1. I believe I read a comment some years ago that the GG1's weren't retired because of age, but because they had been so worn out over their roughly 50 years of continuous use in electric freight and passenger service that they had to be forcibly retired. This could be completely false as i have not looked into it enough. Interesting nonetheless.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal/Frame Fatigue In RR Equipment.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2024 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:15 pm
Posts: 1471
Location: Henderson Nevada
As it was explained to me by a FRA inspector, freight cars roam the US (and Canadian and Mexican) railroad system, in some cases rarely returning home. As a result, they are not routinely inspected or upgraded.

Passenger cars on the other hand generally operate in captive service… so get more attention.

The “freight cars” (a boxcar based HEP car, three box car based excursion cars and our cabooses) used in our excursion train which were over 50 years old required a “comprehensive inspection” every two years as part of our FRA waiver. During those inspections we found one cracked knuckle, a cracked draft gear carrier, a couple of broken body center plates and a cracked and broken frame at the bolster… over two cycles… so long term wear and tear is a real issue. Those issues were separate from any mandatory air brake inspections… All were addressed...

There have been rumors suggesting there could be a museum exemption from the 50 year rule... but the cars still need to be inspected...

_________________
Randy Hees
Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City, Nevada, Retired
http://www.nevadasouthern.com/
https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfNevadaSouthernRailway


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 Post subject: Re: Metal/Frame Fatigue In RR Equipment.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2024 9:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2578
Location: Strasburg, PA
All of the Strasburg Rail Road's antique freight cars are well over fifty years old, and I understand operate under waivers both for age, and in order to avoid having to put reflective tape on the sides of them. I don't know what other details might be behind any waivers.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal/Frame Fatigue In RR Equipment.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 1420
Location: Philadelphia, PA
For the G's (and the P5a's) the problem was the cast truck frames. The welders at Wilmington Shop were excellent and saved PRR's, PC's, AMTK's and CR's bacon.

Remember, USS Missouti (BB-63), the last USN battleship completed, is newer than the last GG1.

Phil Mulligab


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 Post subject: Re: Metal/Frame Fatigue In RR Equipment.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 8:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2370
Kelly Anderson wrote:
All of the Strasburg Rail Road's antique freight cars are well over fifty years old, and I understand operate under waivers both for age, and in order to avoid having to put reflective tape on the sides of them. I don't know what other details might be behind any waivers.


There was a proposed rule to incorporate waiver requests from THREEP —Tourist, Historic, Excursion, Educational, Recreational, or Private operators FRA did not anticipate; I didn't see that it was final.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... ng-waivers

Unrelated, but interesting:

Apparently a throttle time program is being considered by SRR

https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... compliance


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