P.O. Box 6042, Station Centre-ville
Montreal P.Q. H3C 3E4
New Scale Car is
Winner in Winter Weather
26 Number 3
Kotylak, Manager of Scale Operations West, right, and Al Greenwood,
Manager of Operations Development, demonstrate the hydraulic lift and
requires precision. While a few pounds here, a few pounds there, may not
mean much when you step up on the bathroom scale, weight is money to rail
freight shippers and the carriers who handle their business. And absolute
accuracy of measurement is essential to ensure that contracts are
equitable and profit margins are met.
"composite" scale car.
Freight cars must also be weighed to ensure that overloading does not
occur and safety standards are respected.
To handle the job, a new self-powered, four-axle
scale test car has been undergoing tests on CP Rail System since March
1995. The newcomer is the likely successor to the venerable
two-axle composite scale test cars built in the early 1900s
and currently in service on CPRS. The term "composite" refers
to the cars' rigid body and wheel assembly design.
Brian Kotylak, CPRS's manager of scale operations in the West and a member
of the design team, said he is impressed with the new technology.
"The efficiencies of the new car allow it to do the work of three of
the old scale test cars", he said.
The new car is designed by ElectroComGARD Ltd. of Niles, Illinois, and
built by St. Louis Refrigerator Car (SLRC) of St. Louis, Missouri. Some
of its custom features were requested by CPRS for operating in hostile
Canadian winters. These modifications include motors on each of the four
axles, remote control, and an enlarged engine compartment.
Power is provided by a 65-horsepower, four-cylinder
gas engine which in turn powers a motor on each axle.
Eight-wheel drive makes for better traction in adverse
conditions; remote control and a larger engine compartment allow for ease
of operation and more shelter for operators.
Because the new car is self-powered, the need to use switch
engines at the scale sites is eliminated. In addition - unlike the old
test cars which move around the system under speed restrictions - its
more conventional wheel assemblies allow for transportation in regular
freight trains at normal operating speeds, an efficiency that Koylak said
"warms the hearts of our running trades".
The removal of these operating restrictions will mean fewer train delays,
quicker response time, and better service to the customer.
At the scale site, four hydraulic cylinders, or "rams", lift
the car off the rails. The scale is then adjusted to the
49,900-kg (110,000-lb) gross weight of the car.
The precise weight of the car, calibrated in Canada by Industry Canada
Weights and Measures, and in the U.S. by the Department of Agriculture
and state authorities, is maintained by the addition or removal of
ballast from boxes on each side of the engine compartment.
About 200 track scales are located in rail yards and at loading facilities
across CPRS. Nearly 20 percent are owned by the railway, the rest by
customers, most of whom are producers of bulk commodities such as grain,
coal, potash, sulphur, and fertilizers.
This CP Rail System News article is copyright 1996 by
Canadian Pacific Railway and is reprinted here with their permission. All
photographs, logos, and trademarks are the property of the Canadian
Pacific Railway Company.