BRC Maintenance of Way crews are tasked with the ongoing responsibility of keeping tracks in good condition to support production and velocity. They replaced 1,922 feet of rail off 80th Street Interlocking from Milepost 15.0 to 15.4 June 18-20.
The project was aimed at repairing normal wear and tear on the track.
On the first day, crews cut rail, moved high rail to replace low rail and installed new high rail. Due to track curvature, the low rail carries more weight and flattens more quickly than the high rail. This makes it possible to replace one rail instead of both.
The next day, crews adjusted the rail using diesel-soaked cotton ropes to bring the rail to 95 degrees.
“That is the magic temperature to avoid sun kinks here in Chicago,” said Lino Villafuerte, senior track inspector.
Once the rail reached the proper temperature, employees made their final adjustments and welded the rail in place. They came through with a tamper and regulator to finish the job on the third day.
Michael Martinez, track foreman, said the process went smoothly. Three combined section gangs and two welders worked on a team of about 15 employees.
“We have so much heavy freight that comes through,” Villafuerte said. “We are constantly keeping up on maintenance.”