12,000 railway wheel sets prone to loosen: TSB

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by TinGoat, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    From CBC Website: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/05/train-wheels.html

    Last Updated: Thursday, June 5, 2008 | 11:44 AM ET Comments20Recommend31The Canadian Press

    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says 12,000 wheel sets still in use by Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway and other North American railroads "have a high susceptibility to loosen" and should be replaced.

    They were among 43,000 suspect wheel sets produced at the Canadian National Transcona shop in Winnipeg, many of which have already been removed from service. The Canadian Press originally reported that all 43,000 wheel sets were susceptible to loosening and should be replaced, but later revised the figure to 12,000.

    The board says its finding arose from an investigation into a January 2006 derailment of a Canadian Pacific train near Buckskin, Ont., when a wheel became loose on a curve and shifted inboard on its axle.

    The board says at least 18 wheel sets made with the modified pressure-fit technique have been involved in derailments in Canada.

    It says the risk of failure for the remaining wheel sets increases the longer they remain in service.

    The Buckskin derailment damaged 18 kilometres of track as the train continued on its way until the loose wheel set hit a switch, causing 11 additional cars to derail and 130 metres of track to be destroyed.

    There were no hazardous goods involved and no injuries resulted.
  2. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Oh boy, we have another "U1 wheel inspection dot" coming!
  3. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    More details. Very interesting!

    Recall of faulty wheels falls short
    At least 10,000 in batch linked to 18 derailments are missing, safety board reports

    The Globe and Mail
    June 6, 2008

    A massive recall of faulty wheel sets blamed for numerous train derailments has turned up only about three-quarters of them, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada warned yesterday in a report on one of the accidents.

    Spokespeople for both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways were uncertain what has become of the missing wheel-and-axle combinations. At least 10,000 of them are outstanding, but both companies profess confidence that few are still in service.

    "Our view is that any remaining wheel sets on our cars would have been replaced [through] regular preventative maintenance," said Mike LoVecchio, a spokesman for CPR.

    Bryan Tucker, spokesman for CNR, which made the equipment in its Transcona workshop in Winnipeg, said the number of wheel sets being returned under the recall has slowed to a trickle in recent years. The company takes that as a sign the equipment is rarely being used.

    But that does not satisfy the safety board, which pointed out that there have been five derailments involving the wheel sets in the past 30 months, not including the one that prompted yesterday's report.

    "Because we don't track it, we don't know where these wheel sets are," said TSB inspector Don Mustard.

    The report calls for the complete withdrawal of the wheel sets, noting that since "the mode of failure takes time to develop, the risk of failure for these remaining wheel sets continues to increase the longer they remain in service."

    The board is also calling for the establishment of an industry-wide method for tracking faulty equipment so that it can be identified quickly if a recall is needed. In this case, it has taken years to find about three-quarters of the 43,000 wheel sets of this type made between 1998 and 2001.

    The recall was issued in 2002 after problems appeared with the wheel sets, which were built using what is called a modified wheel-boring process. This process, which met existing Association of American Railroads standards, meant reduced contact area between the wheel bore and axle wheel seat. That led in turn to higher contact stresses, and provoked fretting that caused progressive loosening.

    There have been 18 derailments in Canada attributed to these wheel sets in the past decade. The bulk of them were in Alberta and British Columbia, Mr. Mustard noted, because the equipment faces its greatest strain on steep grades and sharp curves. It is unknown how many derailments occurred in other countries as a result of this equipment.

    CN realized early that there was a problem with the wheels' new design, which was itself adopted to solve an earlier problem of poorly fitting wheel mounts. The company had begun studies by late 2001 to determine why the wheels were loosening and within a month it told Transport Canada it was working with the AAR to develop an advisory.

    The initial warning applied to approximately 5,000 tank cars and was only later broadened to include all wheel sets built at Transcona during the three years in question. More than 30,000 wheel sets have been identified.

    One that was not discovered until it was too late caused the 2006 crash north of Lake Simcoe, Ont., which was the focus of yesterday's report.

    In that crash, according to the report, there was "undetectable" damage to the area where the wheel and axle met. This caused the wheel to loosen "progressively ... until a combination of lateral and rotational forces displaced the wheel inboard."

    The loose wheel damaged 17 kilometres of track before it was dislodged, causing the 11 cars following to derail. No one was injured.
  4. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I can't believe they won't just recall the darned things.
  5. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

    I think they did, but they just don't know where they are :(

    If you don't have the data to begin with it's hard to come up with it after the fact.
  6. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Serial Numbering???

    I thought that most manufactured items would have a serial number.

    Take a dozen summer students and send them out into the yards to check the serial numbers on all the wheelsets and then tag them as RTR or RIP.
  7. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    It's bad enough trying to figure out where the bolsters were manufactured as the train pulls by, but trying to figure out where the wheelsets were manufactured!? Not exactly an easy task!

    Remember that not all of those defective wheelsets would go onto new bolsters. A lot of those wheelsets would be used as replacements for those that failed to pass the hotbox detector. In which case, it's a simple matter of jacking up the car, rolling out the old wheelset, and rolling in the new (defective) wheelset. So, on a car, you could have 3 perfectly good wheelsets, each one manufactured by a different outfit, and one of these defective wheelsets, installed at different time periods that are years apart, all on a bolster that wasn't even manufactured by the same outfit that manufactured any of the wheelsets.

    Today's cars wander all over the North American continent. When a wheelset develops problems, it could have happened in Mexico, Arizona, New Orleans, Vancouver, New York, or even Halifax. So a wheelset put on a car in Winnipeg or Edmonton, could today be in Binghamton New York, or Cancun Mexico. Not an easy job to find those defective wheelsets.

    The next time a train rolls by, look for the reporting marks that indicate when the car was built ("blt mm yy"). Don't be surprised to see cars that were built over 25 years ago. However, it's unlikely the wheelsets are that old.

    The only way to find out who, where, and when the wheelset was manufactured would be to look on the inside of the wheel. And when that wheel is rotating, one could get very dizzy trying to figure out the details.

    Bob M.
  8. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    railwaybob wrote:
    I'm not surprised, with 12000 loose wheel sets.


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