Rail Replacement with CWR

Between August 1997 to January 1998, both the north bound and southbound tracks from the San Jose station to Lawrence Expressway have been replaced with Continuous Welded Rail. Almost all of this work has taken place on weekends. The pictures in this archive are of some of the machines in action, some parked; and some leaving after the job has been completed.


The first step in this process is to bring in the new rails; I missed this step, about 9 months ago. There were two center beam UP flat cars with different size ties brought in for replacement of the bad ties.

A couple of gondolas of snap track were also brought in for use.

The first step is to remove the bolts and the bars that hold the rails together, but only on one of the rails at a time. Quite a few of these are rusted, and must be cut off with the welding torch on the right most trailer. The tie bars are then stacked on the left most trailer,

Slightly different shot, maybe a little clearer.

Adzer, trailer with the cutting torch and the spike puller, parked at the end of the day.

All of the spikes are removed, by a spike puller.

Next, the old rail and all of the tie plates are lifted to the side by the magnet attached to this highrail crane. A generator mounted on the crane powers the magnet.

Another shot of the highrail crane, but this time parked.

Here is a close up of the electro manget, when not in use. For comparison, not the size of the 55 gallon drum to the right.

The tops of the tops are adzed, and then sealed and then new tie plates are manually placed, and a speedswing is used to place the new cwr in place.

The speedswing is used to do many different things, like hold the rail in place while it is cut. The black bags pilled near the rail contain new tie plates.

Then the spiker comes along and hammers the spikes into the ties.

Before the two section of the rail are joined, they are first heated for the joining process.

After the rail is heated up, and then the two sections are welded together.

After the welding is finished, the joint is ground down to a smooth profile.

This neat machine picks up the old spikes, and places them in the dumpster on the trailer. Any other rail bars are also picked up now, and placed on the racks on the right front.

It never fails, one of the unusual pieces comes out when the sun is facing the camera, and I could not get on the other side of the tracks. This highrail vehicle was used to bring out the trailer loaded with tools and supplies. There were working on a switch at this location. A clear shot of this highrail vechicle is below.

The used tie plates and spikes are picked up and recycled.

The used rail is also picked up and recycled. Some of it is converted into CWR.

At the end of the day, some of the equipment is loaded up and transported back to the storage area.

Parked, and ready for movement back to the storage area.

This parked machine is used to compact the ballast.

A tamper.

This is a switch tamper.

This is another switch tamper. I know that it is a UP one, but it was working on this project.

A broken supply trailer.

This supply trailer is sometimes used to carry barrels of spikes.

Supply trailer sometimes seen carrying scrap rails.

Supply trailer sometimes seen carrying scrap rails.

A better shot of the above highrail, ready for transport.

Loaded and ready to move to the next job.

Loaded and ready to move to the next job.

A close up of the spike pickup machine.

A couple of work trailers, and the trailer for the rail joints leave the work site by truck.

One of the highrail crane leave the work site by truck.