Clamping Down: Fastener Suppliers Try to Tighten Grip on Rail Market by Introducing Stronger, Easier-to-Install Products

Suppliers are responding to railroads' demand for track fasteners and fastening systems that are easy to install, cut installations costs, and reduce vibration and noise. Some new items include those that address rail metallurgical changes for higher axle loads. Several have also developed direct fixation techniques to permit track to be attached without using ballast, but more research is needed to achieve all the goals set out by railroad operators. Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) has been studying concrete-tie captive fastening systems and has begun in-track tests of one model that includes pads, clips and insulators that are pre-assembled on concrete ties at the plant. It installs concrete ties on less than 10 percent of its track, but when building new ones, they are commonly used. Union Pacific is looking at another captive system with pads designed for a particular site. Other fastening systems with potential are also described, including those aimed at transit agencies, which are especially concerned about reducing noise and vibration. A near-term forecast suggests that the fastener industry's outlook is good, given that freight railroads are carrying heavier trains and cars, while passenger railroads seek to reduce noise and vibration.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01014977
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2005 6:08PM