Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Huge Crane in Nashua Putting Derailed Locomotives Back on Track

(SOURCE:  David Brooks, The Telegraph - thanks to Dave Pierson for the link)

NASHUA – Pan Am Railways is bringing in a large crane in to lift a pair of derailed 100-ton locomotives and put them back on the tracks in downtown Nashua.

The two locomotives went off the rails at Main Street around 3 p.m. Tuesday. One was blocking the northbound lane of Main Street for about an hour until the two were pushed back by a bulldozer.

Pan Am Executive Vice-President Cynthia Scarano said a 44-foot long mobile crane, capable of lifting 130 tons, will be driven to the scene from the company’s Billerica, Mass., headquarters this morning. The Kershaw RC-130 crane can travel by road or by rail.

“They should be re-railed by 1 or 2 p.m.,” she said.

The locomotives were not pulling any cars at the time as they travelled at low speed along what is formally known as the Hillsborough Branch line. Nobody was injured in the accident and no obvious property damage occurred.

New Hampshire railroad safety inspector John Robinson said the train apparently was derailed by ice built up along the rails. 

“The ice builds up along the flangeway, which keeps the wheel tracking ... to the point where the wheels steer off the rail,” he said. “It’s not completely unknown.”

The flangeway is a groove that allows the lips, or flange, of the wheels to fit alongside the rail and keep the wheels in place. Ice in the flangeway can lift the wheel up above the rail to the point that it can slip sideways.

Robinson said no formal investigation had been launched. 

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