Mark Robak
Tim Starostka
Pat Phillips
Ryan Karr


overcoming seasonal challenges in track railroad track maintenance, concept image.

Overcoming Seasonal Challenges in Railroad Track Maintenance

Did you know that each season presents unique challenges for railroad track maintenance? Understanding these challenges and how to overcome them is crucial for ensuring the safety and efficiency of railways. In this article, we’ll explore the specific hurdles faced during different seasons and provide practical solutions for maintaining railroad tracks year-round. Keep reading to learn how to keep your tracks in top condition with insights from R&S Track.

Understanding Seasonal Challenges in Railroad Track Maintenance

Winter: Battling the Cold

Winter is a particularly tough season for railroad track maintenance. Low temperatures and snow can cause significant issues:

  • Ice and Snow Accumulation: Ice can obstruct switches and crossings, while heavy snow can cover tracks, making them difficult to navigate.
  • Frozen Ballast: The ballast, which supports the tracks, can freeze, reducing its effectiveness and stability.
  • Thermal Contraction: Rails contract in cold weather, which can lead to cracks and breaks.


  • Use de-icing agents and heated switch points to keep critical areas clear of ice.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain heating systems for switches.
  • Conduct frequent inspections to detect and repair any rail damage promptly.

Spring: Dealing with Thawing and Rain

Spring brings its own set of challenges, primarily due to thawing snow and increased rainfall:

  • Waterlogging: Thawing snow and rain can saturate the ballast, leading to weakened track stability.
  • Mudslides: Increased rainfall can cause mudslides, obstructing tracks and causing potential derailments.


  • Enhance drainage systems to ensure water is efficiently removed from the tracks.
  • Regularly inspect and clear drainage ditches and culverts.
  • Use geotechnical engineering solutions to reinforce slopes and prevent mudslides.

Summer: Managing Heat

High temperatures in summer can cause several issues for railroad track maintenance:

  • Rail Expansion: Heat causes rails to expand, which can lead to buckling.
  • Wildfires: Dry conditions increase the risk of wildfires, which can damage tracks and surrounding infrastructure.


  • Implement rail grinding to reduce the likelihood of buckling.
  • Schedule regular inspections during peak heat periods to monitor rail conditions.
  • Clear vegetation around tracks to minimize wildfire risks.

Fall: Handling Leaves and Debris

Autumn presents challenges like fallen leaves and increased debris:

  • Slippery Rails: Wet leaves can create a slick layer on the tracks, reducing train traction.
  • Blocked Drains: Fallen leaves can clog drainage systems, leading to water buildup and track instability.


  • Use leaf blowers and specialized track-cleaning trains to keep tracks clear.
  • Conduct frequent inspections and maintenance of drainage systems to prevent blockages.

Best Practices for Year-Round Railroad Track Maintenance

Maintaining railroad tracks requires a proactive approach, regardless of the season. Here are some best practices:

  • Regular Inspections: Conduct thorough inspections before and after each season to identify and address potential issues.
  • Predictive Maintenance: Utilize technology to predict and prevent track failures before they occur.
  • Employee Training: Ensure maintenance crews are well-trained in seasonal challenges and the latest maintenance techniques.

Staying Ahead of Railroad Track Maintenance with R&S Track

Understanding and addressing seasonal challenges in railroad track maintenance is essential for safe and efficient railway operations. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, you can ensure your tracks remain in optimal condition throughout the year. For expert maintenance and support, trust R&S Track to provide reliable solutions and keep your railway running smoothly. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you overcome your maintenance challenges.

Railroad repair, concept image.

The Importance of Timely Railroad Repair

Are you aware that neglected railroad tracks can lead to catastrophic accidents and significant disruptions in rail transportation? In the bustling world of railways, ensuring timely repairs is not just about maintaining infrastructure; it’s about safeguarding lives and keeping operations running smoothly. In this article, we dive into the critical importance of railroad repair, highlighting its benefits and offering actionable insights. Discover how prioritizing maintenance can enhance safety, efficiency, and overall performance on your railway. Let’s explore the vital role of timely repairs in the realm of railroads.

Why Timely Railroad Repair Matters

1. Safety First: Ensuring the safety of passengers, employees, and cargo is paramount in the railroad industry. Neglected tracks are prone to wear and tear, leading to potential derailments and accidents. By prioritizing timely repairs, you mitigate these risks and create a safer environment for everyone involved.

2. Operational Efficiency: Smooth, well-maintained tracks facilitate efficient train operations. Timely repairs minimize disruptions and downtime, allowing trains to travel at optimal speeds and schedules. This not only enhances overall efficiency but also improves customer satisfaction by delivering goods promptly and reliably.

3. Cost Savings: Addressing minor issues promptly can prevent them from escalating into costly repairs or replacements down the line. By investing in timely maintenance, you avoid unexpected expenses and minimize the impact on your budget. R&S Track offers cost-effective solutions to keep your railroad infrastructure in top condition.

The Process of Railroad Repair

1. Inspection and Assessment: Regular inspections are essential for identifying potential issues before they escalate. Our team of professionals conducts thorough assessments to pinpoint areas in need of repair or maintenance, ensuring comprehensive coverage of your railway infrastructure.

2. Planning and Scheduling: Once the inspection is complete, we develop a tailored repair plan based on our findings. This includes prioritizing repairs based on urgency and allocating resources efficiently to minimize disruptions to your operations.

3. Execution and Monitoring: Our experienced technicians execute the repair plan with precision, utilizing advanced equipment and techniques to ensure quality workmanship. Throughout the process, we provide regular updates and monitor the progress closely to ensure timely completion.

The Benefits of Partnering with R&S Track

1. Expertise and Experience: With decades of experience in the railroad industry, we bring unparalleled expertise to every project. Our team consists of highly skilled technicians who are trained to handle various repair challenges effectively.

2. Customized Solutions: We understand that every railroad system is unique, which is why we offer customized repair solutions tailored to your specific needs. Whether you require routine maintenance or emergency repairs, we have the knowledge and resources to deliver exceptional results.

3. Cutting-Edge Technology: We leverage the latest technology and equipment to optimize our repair processes. From state-of-the-art inspection tools to innovative repair techniques, we stay ahead of the curve to ensure the highest standards of quality and efficiency.

Enhancing Railway Performance with R&S Track

Prioritizing timely railroad repair is not just a matter of maintenance; it’s a strategic investment in safety, efficiency, and cost savings. By partnering with R&S Track, you gain access to industry-leading expertise and solutions tailored to your specific needs. Take proactive steps today to safeguard your railway infrastructure and unlock its full potential. Contact us to learn more about our comprehensive repair and maintenance services and elevate your railroad operations to new heights.


Sustainable Practices in Railroad Maintenance

In the current global push towards sustainability, maintaining railroad tracks efficiently and responsibly has become paramount. For companies in the rail industry, adopting sustainable practices in railroad track maintenance not only serves environmental goals but also boosts operational efficiency, safety, and financial viability. This approach ensures that rail operations can meet today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to manage their own needs.

The Importance of Railroad Track Maintenance

Effective maintenance of railroad tracks is absolutely essential for the safe and efficient operation of railway systems. This complex task involves regular and thorough inspections that help identify potential problems before they lead to serious issues. 

Timely repairs and the systematic replacement of worn or damaged components are crucial for preventing accidents and maintaining a smooth operational flow. These preventive measures are pivotal in safeguarding against potentially catastrophic derailments and other safety hazards.

Moreover, consistent maintenance is vital for preserving the structural integrity of the railway. It ensures that tracks are properly aligned and that ties and ballast are in good condition, which is essential for supporting the heavy loads carried by trains. This care extends the lifespan of rail assets significantly, reducing the likelihood of costly emergencies and unscheduled repairs that can disrupt service.

For freight companies, reliable track maintenance means that goods can be transported on schedule without unexpected delays, thereby maintaining supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction. For passenger trains, it enhances comfort and safety, factors that are crucial for passenger retention and the overall reputation of railway operators.

Additionally, well-maintained tracks contribute to energy efficiency. Trains running on well-maintained tracks require less energy to operate, as poor track conditions can increase rolling resistance and, subsequently, fuel consumption.

Sustainable Practices in the Industry

When it comes to sustainability, the rail industry has embraced several innovative maintenance strategies. One key practice is the utilization of recycled materials, such as ties and steel, which significantly reduces the industry’s demand for natural resources and its waste output. 

Another practice is the strategic use of green technology, including machinery that emits fewer pollutants and the incorporation of renewable energy systems in maintenance depots. 

Predictive maintenance technologies leveraging big data and AI are also increasingly employed to predict when and where maintenance will be needed, thereby optimizing resource use and minimizing environmental disturbance.

Benefits of Adopting Sustainable Railroad Maintenance Practices

The benefits of integrating sustainable practices into railroad track maintenance are manifold. Economically, these practices reduce operating costs by enhancing the efficiency of maintenance operations and extending the service life of infrastructure. 

Environmentally, they lessen the ecological footprint of rail operations by minimizing resource depletion and pollution. Socially, sustainable practices bolster public and regulatory approval by demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship and community health.

Sustainability, Safety, and Compliance

At R&S Track, safety and compliance are at the core of our operations, setting the standards for industry excellence. We are steadfast in our commitment to upholding the highest safety protocols, which every member of our team rigorously adheres to. 

Furthermore, we are fully licensed and insured, and we are MSHA Part 46 Compliant, FRA Part 243 Compliant, and FRA Part 219 Compliant. Our meticulous approach to safety and compliance underscores our approach to sustainability since well-maintained railroads are not prone to accidents that can cause environmental disasters! 
To learn more about our services or to get an estimate, Contact us today.

happy railroad worker sitting on the track. Railroad jobs, concept image.

5 Reasons Working in Railroad and Track Construction is a Great Career Move

The allure of the railroad has been a fundamental part of America’s history, symbolizing progress, connectivity, and the spirit of adventure. Today, railroad jobs and track construction are more relevant than ever, offering a unique blend of tradition, innovation, and job security. Here are five reasons why pursuing a career in this field is not just a job choice, but a strategic career move.

1. Skilled Labor with Comprehensive Training

Working in the railroad industry means you’re not just an employee; you’re a skilled professional. Companies like R&S Track, Inc. invest in their employees, providing comprehensive training in track construction, maintenance, and safety protocols. This not only ensures you’re equipped with the necessary skills but also fosters a culture of professionalism and safety.

2. Learning a Trade with Long-term Benefits

Railroad and track construction careers offer more than just immediate job openings; they present a path to mastering a specialized trade that’s invaluable across various sectors. This field combines technical skills with hands-on experience, ensuring that workers are not only proficient in the specifics of rail systems but also develop a versatile skill set applicable to numerous engineering and construction roles. 

Moreover, the knowledge gained here paves the way for advancements within the industry, opening doors to supervisory and managerial positions. This adaptability and room for growth make it a career with enduring benefits, underscoring the significant advantages of acquiring such a focused and demanding trade. With infrastructure at the heart of economic development, your expertise will remain in demand, securing your professional future in an ever-evolving workforce landscape.

3. Evergreen Demand for Rail Infrastructure

Railroads are an essential part of the global supply chain, facilitating the movement of goods and people. With the federal government allocating billions for rail infrastructure improvements, the demand for skilled workers in railroad construction and maintenance is set to grow, ensuring long-term job security.

4. Outdoor Work Environment

For those who hate being cooped up inside all day, a career in railroad and track construction offers the perfect workplace. It allows you to work in different outdoor locations and provides a dynamic work environment that is far from the monotony of a 9-to-5 office job.

5. A Pathway to a Rewarding Career

Choosing a career in this field is not just about the job at hand; it’s about being part of a larger mission. You contribute to building and maintaining the infrastructure that keeps the country running. It’s a career that offers satisfaction, pride, and a sense of accomplishment.

Your New Career is Calling! 

A career in railroad and track construction is a smart choice for those seeking a rewarding profession that offers job security, skill development, and the chance to work outdoors. With significant investments in rail infrastructure, the industry is poised for growth, making it an opportune time to start a career in this vital sector. 
Looking for railroad jobs? The best news of all is that R&S Track is hiring! Join the ranks of skilled professionals who keep the wheels of progress turning and consider a career in railroad and track construction today. Fill out an application today to jumpstart your future!

sunrise over a railroad. Railroad transportation, concept image.

The Future of Railroads And Railroad Tracks in The US

In an era dominated by automobiles, it’s easy to overlook the lasting significance of trains in the United States. Despite the rise of alternative modes of transportation, railroad transportation remains as relevant as ever, playing a crucial role in the movement of goods and people across the country. As America continues to grow and evolve, railroads and railroad tracks have the potential for continued expansion and development.

Cost-Effectiveness and Efficiency

One of the key reasons why railroads are as relevant as ever is their unmatched efficiency in transporting large and heavy cargo over land. Compared to other modes of transportation, such as trucks or airplanes, railroads offer a more economical and environmentally sustainable solution for moving goods over long distances. With the capacity to carry massive loads of freight, including commodities like coal, grain, and automobiles, railroads play a vital role in supporting various industries and supply chains.

Infrastructure Needs for Growth

As America’s population and economy continue to grow, the demand for new infrastructure, including railroad tracks, will only increase. The expansion and maintenance of railroad tracks are essential to accommodate the growing volume of freight and passenger traffic across the country. Investments in rail infrastructure not only support economic growth and job creation but also enhance the efficiency and reliability of the transportation network as a whole.

High-Speed Rail Expansion

The Biden Administration has made significant commitments to support the expansion of high-speed rail in the United States. In December 2023, President Biden announced he would allocate $8.2 billion in funding for high-speed rail projects. This funding will support the development of new rail corridors, the modernization of existing rail infrastructure, and the implementation of high-speed rails to improve passenger travel and freight movement.

Environmental Sustainability

Railroads offer significant environmental advantages compared to other modes of transportation in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating air pollution. By shifting freight from trucks to trains, railroads help alleviate traffic congestion on highways and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-haul transportation. Additionally, the use of hybrid locomotives and alternative fuels further enhances the environmental sustainability of rail transportation.

Technological Innovation

The future of railroads in the US is also shaped by ongoing technological innovations. From advancements in signaling systems and track maintenance technology to the development of autonomous trains and predictive maintenance algorithms, railroads are embracing innovation to enhance their capabilities in the transportation industry. These technological advancements will play a crucial role in shaping the future of rail transportation and ensuring its continued relevance in the years to come.

R&S Track: Supporting The Expansion Of Railroads In The US

Railroads remain a vital component of transportation infrastructure in the United States. As the most cost-effective way to move large and heavy cargo over land, they support economic growth, facilitate trade, and reduce impact on the environment. R&S Track is committed to serving the track maintenance and expansion needs of the Midwest. Please call (402) 563-2350 for information.

beautiful train stations in America - RSTRACKINC
Architecture & Building

America’s 5 Most Beautiful Train Stations

In the vast tapestry of America’s railway history, certain train stations stand out as architectural masterpieces that capture the essence of a bygone era.

From the beauty of Beaux-Arts design to the timeless allure of Art Deco and Neo-Classical styles, these stations are more than points of transit; they are living testaments to the nation’s architectural heritage.

While beauty is subjective, there are several beautiful train stations in America known for their architectural charm, historical significance, and overall aesthetics.

Join us on a journey to explore the five most beautiful train stations in America, where each structure tells a story of craftsmanship, history, and the artistry of travel.

Grand Central Station – New York City

Grand Central Station in New York City is the most well-known train station in the United States.

With 44 platforms and 67 tracks on two different levels, it is one of the largest train stations in the world.

Completed in 1913, the Beaux-Arts design includes a ceiling adorned with constellations, marble staircases, and a main concourse with its famous Grand Central Clock.

It is not only a transportation hub but also a cultural and dining destination.

Make sure to check it out on your next trip to The Big Apple, or dive into this video and discover the secrets in the details of Grand Central Terminal. 

Union Station – Washington, D.C.

Union Station in Washington, D.C., is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece.

Completed in 1907, the station features a grand façade with Romanesque and Classical influences.

The interior contains a stunning main hall with a vaulted ceiling and a central fountain.

The arched ceilings are covered with 23-karat gold leaf.

Thanks to plenty of restorations and efforts to expand the terminal, the station serves as both a transportation hub and a retail destination today.

Union Station – Chicago

Chicago Union Station was designed by Daniel Burnham and opened in 1925.

It is the third busiest train station in the country.

Union Station showcases a mix of Beaux-Arts and neoclassical architectural styles.

The Great Hall is particularly impressive with its towering columns, intricate details, and a soaring barrel-vaulted ceiling.

It was named a Chicago Landmark in 2002.

Today the station is owned by Amtrak and has been revitalized through plenty of restoration efforts. 

30th Street Station – Philadelphia

30th Street Station in Philadelphia is a blend of Art Deco and Neo-Classical design.

The massive 71-foot-high columns on the exterior of the building make it look like one that belongs in Washington D.C. Completed in 1933, the station features a monumental façade, a grand waiting room with high ceilings, and sculptures representing transportation modes.

The station was also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Denver Union Station – Denver

Denver Union Station is a beautifully restored Beaux-Arts train station with a modern twist.

The station was originally built in 1881 and was known as the largest structure in the West with a 128-foot clock tower.

A devastating fire in 1894 led to a redesign which was completed in 1914.

The station underwent another major renovation a century later in 2014, preserving its historic charm while incorporating contemporary elements.

The iconic Great Hall boasts high ceilings and large arched windows.

Railroad Construction in the Midwest: R&S Track

These beautiful train stations in America not only serve as transportation hubs but also stand as architectural marvels.

Their historic significance and timeless beauty make them destinations in their own right. 

R&S Track has been committed to keeping railroads in the Midwest safe for over 30 years.

Our services include maintenance, inspections, new track construction, and more.

Call our office at (402) 563-2350 for more information.

why doesn't the us have high-speed rails - RSTRACKINC

Why Doesn’t The US Have High-Speed Rails?

Many European and Asian countries use high-speed rail systems with trains traveling over 200 mph, making long-distance travel easier and decreasing the dependence on automobiles.

So why can’t we do this in the United States?

While regional projects are in the works, the limited development of high-speed rail in the United States can be attributed to a combination of economic, political, and logistical challenges. 

Cost and Funding of High-Speed Rails

Implementing a high-speed rail network requires a massive upfront investment in infrastructure.

Building dedicated high-speed rail lines, upgrading existing tracks, and constructing stations involve significant costs.

Securing funding for a project this big can be challenging, especially with so many other competing priorities for limited government resources.

Political Challenges of High-Speed Rails

Infrastructure projects this big often face several political challenges.

The bureaucratic hurdles and ever-changing priorities of different administrations can hinder the long-term planning and sustained investment required for high-speed rail projects.

Competition with Other Transportation

The United States already has a well-established and heavily used highway system, as well as a comprehensive domestic air travel network.

These existing transportation modes are deeply ingrained in American culture, and there may be resistance from citizens and competing companies to invest in high-speed rails as an alternative.

The Population Density Problem

High-speed rails are most effective in regions with high population density, where there is a significant demand for frequent and fast transportation between major urban centers.

In the U.S., population density varies across regions, and some areas may not have the critical mass of passengers needed to make high-speed rail economically viable.

Shared Tracks and Infrastructure

High-speed rails would either need to share tracks with existing freight and commuter rail services or build their own tracks altogether.

This video illustrates the challenges and difficulties of infrastructure in the US and why it’s difficult to build high-speed rails.

Coordinating schedules, upgrading infrastructure, and addressing safety concerns associated with shared tracks can complicate the implementation of high-speed rail.

Size of the Country

The sheer size and environmental obstacles of the United States pose a unique challenge for high-speed rail.

Covering long distances quickly is more challenging in a country of this scale compared to smaller, more densely populated nations where high-speed rail has been successfully implemented.

Regional High-Speed Rail Projects in the Works

Recently, the Biden Administration announced $8.2 billion in grants to improve existing high-speed railways and create new high-speed railways across the country.

One of the biggest objectives is to create a brand-new high-speed rail system from Nevada to Southern California, which could serve an estimated 11 million passengers annually.

Other states receiving major upgrades include Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maine, Montana, and Alaska.

R&S Track Construction in the Midwest

While there have been many proposals for high-speed rail projects in the U.S., overcoming these challenges requires a concerted and sustained effort from the government, private sector entities, and the public.

It seems like things are progressing under the current administration, but only time will tell if these projects will be completed. 

R&S Track Maintenance has been serving the railroad maintenance and construction needs of the Midwest for over 30 years.

Contact us at 402-563-2350 for more information.

how are railroad ties replaced? Railroad contractors working on railroad tracks concept image.

How Are Railroad Ties Replaced?

Railroad ties are the primary support beams for the rails themselves. They are laid perpendicular to the rails and hold them upright. Railroad ties are typically made of wood or concrete and must be replaced periodically due to wear and tear. The frequency of replacing them can depend on the type of ties used, the level of traffic on the rail line, and the local climate. Overall, wood can be obtained in such high quantities for a low cost, which is why you see them used on the majority of railways.

However, wooden ties generally have a shorter lifespan than concrete or composite ties and may need to be replaced every 7-10 years. Concrete ties are more durable and can last up to 30 years. Here is a step-by-step process of how railroad ties are replaced. 

Inspecting the Railroad Ties

Not all ties get replaced at once. Before replacement, the maintenance crew at R&S Track will perform manual railway inspections to identify ties that have deteriorated or have been damaged. Ties may be assessed for signs of rot, splitting, or other structural issues, especially for wood. Once faulty ties are identified, their location is marked for replacement. 

Planning and Preparation  

After the faulty railroad ties are identified and marked, planning and preparation for the replacements can begin. The maintenance team will gather specialized equipment to remove the old ties, procure the replacement ties, and schedule maintenance work for the track. The section of track where ties are being replaced must be cleared of any trains, which means there will be temporary track closures to allow maintenance crews access to the area.

Removal and Installation of New Railroad Ties

The old ties are removed using specialized equipment known as a spike puller, which removes the nails from the rail. New ties are then put in place and are aligned properly to maintain the track’s gauge (the distance between the rails) and secured in place.

The ballast, which is the layer of gravel or crushed stone under the ties, may also need to be adjusted and replaced. Properly maintaining the ballast is crucial for giving the track a stable and level foundation. 

Quality Control and Inspection

Once the repairs are complete, the track is thoroughly inspected again to ensure it meets safety and operational standards. This includes checking for proper alignment, gauge, and fastening of the rails. Once the quality control and inspection are complete, the track can be reopened for trains. 

Use R&S Track for Railroad Tie Replacements 

R&S Track has been a leader in railroad maintenance throughout the Midwest since 1987. Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • Consulting
  • Surveying
  • Project Design
  • Track Maintenance
  • Railroad Tie Installation
  • New Track Construction

Please contact us at (402)-564-1801 for any questions or if you want a price estimate.

high speed rail - high speed rail concept image.

How Does Railroad Construction Differ For High-Speed Trains?

High-speed rail tracks are designed to accommodate trains that travel at much higher speeds than traditional trains. There is no standard classification for them, but these trains typically travel at speeds of over 100 mph. Many countries in Europe and Asia have utilized high-speed railway networks for more efficient ground-based transportation. The first country to implement a high-speed rail system was Japan in 1964, with its world-famous “bullet train”. 

In the United States, new high-speed railways are being built, such as the Brightline in Florida and Amtrak’s nationwide railway network. Companies like R&S Track Maintenance are helping build high-speed railways in the Midwest to give Americans another mode of long-distance transportation. To support these high speeds, the tracks must be built differently than freight tracks. 

What Makes High-Speed Rails Go Fast?

The speed at which a train can travel is usually limited to the type of track it’s on. Because of this, high-speed trains can not share the same tracks as freight trains. To exceed speeds of over 100 mph, many trains must travel through overhead electrical power rather than diesel. Electric power is used for several reasons, it gives the train greater control of acceleration and deceleration, is quieter than a diesel engine, and is more energy efficient than diesel fuel. 

If high-speed tracks are going to compete with other forms of long-distance travel, they need to be able to transport people quicker than driving or flying. In order for a train to maintain its speed, the track needs to be built mostly straight and flat. Additionally, these tracks need to have minimal stoppages so the train can travel at its top speed for a significantly long distance. To do this, dedicated high-speed tracks need to have fewer train stops at a very long distance apart. 

How is High-Speed Railroad Construction Different?

Track Alignment

Unlike freight lines, high-speed rails can not have many tight turns or changes in elevation. So, they are normally built in a straight line and have longer curves to maintain high speeds. This helps reduce friction, energy consumption, and wear on the train components. 

Track Gauge

Similar to freight trains, high-speed trains normally operate on standard gauge (width) tracks, which are about 4 feet 8.5 inches wide. But these tracks are well-maintained with exceptional precision to ensure smooth train operation. 

Bolted vs. Welded Rails

The traditional method of joining segments of rails is to bolt them together using metal fishplates, producing jointed tracks. For high-speed trains, the rails are welded together to form a continuous welded rail. At R&S Track Maintenance, we use thermit welding to create tracks that are much stronger and need less maintenance than traditional rails. 


To ensure safety and performance standards are met, high-speed tracks need to be inspected and maintained very often. R&S can keep your tracks running smoothly with our general maintenance services. 

High-Speed Rail Construction in the Midwest

R&S Track Maintenance has been serving the track maintenance and railroad construction needs of the Midwest for over 30 years. Contact us at 402-563-2350 for more information.

what is thermit welding - tracks being welded concept image.

What Is Thermit Welding and How Does It Work

Welding is a useful process that can help join two pieces of metal together. There are several different methods of welding that cater to different applications. One popular type is known as thermit welding. This process uses molten metal to bind one piece of metal to another. But how exactly does it work, and what are its real-world applications? 

R & S Track Maintenance is here to explain the process of thermit welding, and how it can be used to improve the safety of your city’s railway system. 

How Does Thermit Welding Work? 

Thermit welding, also known as thermite welding or exothermic welding, is a process used to join two pieces of metal together by creating a chemical reaction that produces intense heat. The heat in this reaction can rise to temperatures up to 4500 F. This heat is generated by a chemical reaction between a mixture of powdered metal oxide, which is usually iron, and a reducing agent, which is normally aluminum. The reaction releases a tremendous amount of heat, and the high temperature causes the surrounding metal to melt and fuse together with the other piece. 

What Are the Applications of Thermit Welding? 

Thermit welding has several different applications. It is often used for heavy industrial projects where a reliable and strong joint is required, such as connecting metal plates, pipelines, structural steel, and more. This process is used for welding the hulls of ships, by connecting thick metal plates to each other. This process is also widely used to weld railway rails together. 

Is Thermit Welding Safe? 

While effective, thermit welding can be slower than other methods of welding such as flash butt welds. It is also a dangerous and messy process due to the immense amount of heat and molten metal created from the exothermic reaction. Special facial and bodily protection are always needed for the job. Additionally, this process releases hazardous materials like aluminum and iron oxide, which can be harmful to humans and the environment if they are not disposed of. So, thermit welding requires careful handling and the right training for the project to be done safely and properly. That is why the trained professionals at R & S Track Maintenance are the best people for the job.

Keep Your Railroads Safe with R & S Track Maintenance, Inc 

Expert railroad track maintenance is critical for ensuring safe, dependable, and efficient train operations. R&S Track can lengthen the lifespan of track infrastructure through frequent inspections, track cleaning, ballast maintenance, rail grinding, thermit welding and scheduled maintenance. We provide customized railroad track construction services in the Midwest region, certified by the Railroad Industry Association, ensuring safe and secure rides for passengers and freight. To see the results of our track maintenance and other railroad projects, please visit our gallery. We also provide services for consulting, surveying, project designing, track rehabilitation, new track construction, derailment services, and more. Contact R&S Track Maintenance today for safe and reliable railway systems.

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