Performance of Elastic Fasteners on an 8-Degree Curve in Revenue Service [Research Results]
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Performance of Elastic Fasteners on an 8-Degree Curve in Revenue Service [Research Results]

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      A test of elastic rail fastening systems was conducted on an 8-degree curve in the Norfolk Southern (NS) Mega Site as part of the Revenue Service Test Program, which is jointly sponsored by the Association of American Railroads and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). From June 2005 to January 2010, two types of elastic fasteners (AirBoss and NorFast) were tested and subjected to 260 million gross tons of mostly heavy axle load (HAL) traffic. Their performances were compared with an NS-standard cut-spike fastening system. The elastic fastening systems tested outperformed the cut-spike system based on the gage strength test results: (1) The two sections of wood-tie track fitted with the elastic fastening systems and screw spikes provided three times higher gage strength than the track fitted with the NS-standard cut-spike system; and (2) The elastic fastener test zones did not use additional gage restraint hardware; however, two gage rods were installed in the cut-spike control zone in May 2009. The lateral rail restraint measured in the elastic fastener zones was over three times higher than in the cut-spike control zone. The lateral deflection on the low rail measured throughout the cut-spike control zone, under HAL cars operating at track-speed, was almost twice that measured on the same rail in the elastic fastening system zones. Eleven of the 360 NorFast rail clips were fractured under the rail clip keeper portion of the tie plates. The results of the laboratory test on NorFast rail clip samples from the installations at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing and the mega site showed that these fractures were incidental, and removal was not necessary. Cut-spike uplift of more than 1 inch occurred in almost 4 percent of the spikes in the cut-spike control zone (five spikes per tie plate). In the elastic fastener zones (four screw spikes per tie plate), none of the Lewis Bolt & Nut screw spikes significantly uplifted or fractured during the test.
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