Norfolk Southern Railways USA
One heavy haul railway which has helped to shape the specification of heavy haul tie plates was Norfolk Southern Railways. For this project, Pandrol worked with Norfolk Southern Railways to pioneer the development of a standard asymmetrical 18” tie plate in locations where reverse rail cant was an issue. The railroad used timber ties, but all the tie plates available at the time on the market with elastic fasteners had a smaller footprint. The challenge was driven by higher locomotive horsepower, dynamic breaking, more MGTs per year, larger rail sections and tie strength variation, which when combined meant a new specification was needed for a heavy haul tieplate design.
The most critical of these specifications were maximum bearing area contact with the tie, increased bearing area contact with the tie, increased bearing area asymmetry toward the field side, a clip housing that centres on the tieplate, space for four screw spikes and two cut spikes and ultimately financial savings over a cast plate.
Pandrol introduced the VICTOR plate, which had the same footprint as a standard asymmetrical 18” AREMA tie plate and incorporated a cast swaged-in shoulder that utilised a standard Pandrol e-clip to secure the rail to the plate. The VICTOR plate is designed to accommodate high axle loads on wood ties.
The location was in a 6.0 degree curve (290m radius) on a 0.09% grade with a 3.5% (90mm) of super elevation, which carried mainly coal trains totally around 40 MGT annually. Pandrol VICTOR plates incorporated the use of cut spikes to secure the plate to the ties on this primarily cut spike railroad. The VICTOR plate was monitored and found to perform well with respect to reduced tie plate cutting and gauge widening, which lowered maintenance requirements for this curve.
The VICTOR tieplates provide maximum bearing area, while the use of Pandrol fasteners provides the heavy haul railroads with resilient fasteners with superior holding power, preventing rail rollover and reducing maintenance.
Norfolk Southern railways has specified the use of Pandrol’s VICTOR plates with screw spikes for bridge applications too. To date, Norfolk Southern Railways has installed over 3m VICTOR plates. These plates have proven to be beneficial in reducing plate cutting, reverse rail cant and gauge widening conditions, as well as providing rail roll-over restraint. By addressing these factors, the rail operator has been able to reduce maintenance costs and increase efficiency.