A new piece of equipment designed by Union Pacific Engineering employees is enhancing safety and productivity as rail gangs do crucial work maintaining the railroad’s infrastructure.
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“This is drawing a lot of attention from our crews,” said Bill Titsworth, director-Track Programs, Engineering. “Everyone wants to borrow it.”
So, what’s the buzz all about? A cart, attached to the back of Maintenance of Way equipment, automatically removes e-Clips, which fasten rail to tie plates. This eliminates the current process by hand.
“Without this, re-laying a 2,000-foot-long curve requires a group of eight employees to hit each clip one by one with a maul until all clips have been removed – two clips per tie plate,” Titsworth said.
“Before the cart, we needed to plan our day’s production around clip removal to ensure we had enough crews,” said Justin Phillips, manager-Track Programs, Engineering. “Now, one employee picks up the cart handle, sets it down, stands back and lets the machine remove the clips. It frees up our team to continue the rail-laying process.”
Input from several Engineering employees, including craft professionals, drove improvements with the vendor, adding handrails and improving durability. Currently, the 9102 rail gang is actively using the cart on tracks around San Antonio, Texas. A few additional carts will soon be underway for other Rail South gangs.
“It was all smiles the day we brought it out,” said Jared Monson, manager-Maintenance of Way Equipment Operations, Engineering, who played a big part in the cart’s development. “The main gang foreperson gave me a hug when he saw it in action. It’s a good feeling to see it well-received by everyone.”