Mark Robak
Tim Starostka
Pat Phillips
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Tag: railroad contractor

How to Choose a Railroad Contractor
Blog, Uncategorized

How to Choose a Railroad Contractor

There’s little room for error for a railroad contractor in the world of railroad construction. Choosing the wrong railroad contractors near me puts you at risk for delays, needless expenses or even lackluster safety standards.

Whether you’re looking for someone to construct a new piece of track or repair an existing railway, it’s crucial you look for someone with the expertise and reputation to suit your needs.

5 Questions You Should Ask a Railroad Contractor

  1. Are they experienced?

One of the first things to look for is whether the contractor’s experience lines up with the requirements of your project.

Try to get a sense of the methodology they use to manage projects and the type of work they’ve done with companies like yours in the past.

Ask them about their project success rate, their track record for concluding projects on time and within budget. Find out their criteria for communication. Will they provide regular updates and detailed reports? Finally, ask if they have their own specialized equipment.

  1. Are they safe?

Railroad construction and repair can be dangerous, which is why it’s vital to pick a midwest railroad contractor who closely follows industry safety standards and who keeps their workers up to date on safety protocols.

The contractor will be responsible for making sure their employees and work sites are safe, but it’s still in your best interest to see that work is done to the highest safety standards to ensure the project passes inspection.

  1. How is their environmental record?

Like all transportation work, railroad construction projects need to meet the standards set by government environmental policies.

That’s why it’s important to choose a contractor who can effectively deal with possible environmental incidents and perform remedial actions to protect the environment. Look for a provider that has a long record of environmental sustainability.

  1. Can they think on their feet?

In a perfect world, every railroad construction or repair project would go off without a hitch. But there’s no way to predict things like extreme weather events.

What if flash flooding causes a subsidence near one of your bridges? What if a snowstorm closes down construction?

You need a midwest railroad contractor who can respond to these issues when they occur. Look for someone who can offer a range of services, not only construction but also design, maintenance and inspections.

Look for someone with local expertise. A railroad contractor who’s only done work in, say, Arizona may not be familiar with dealing with midwestern winters.

  1. What do other people say about them?

A dependable railroad contractor is one who won’t mind turning over their references. Speaking to their past clients is the simplest way to get a sense of what it will be like to work with them.

Once you’ve made contact with these references, ask them things like: Did they understand your needs? Were you satisfied with their overall work? Were they responsive to questions and requests? Did they meet safety and/or environmental regulations? And perhaps most importantly, would you work with them again?

We like to think our clients would answer yes to those questions. As a premiere midwest railroad contractor, R&S Track has spent nearly 30 years helping businesses who needed:

We Are Railroad Contractors Near Me

We have a 100 percent track record of customer satisfaction as the midwest railroad contractors near me and are happy to provide references. Contact us at 402-564-1801 for service inquiries and price estimates.

train crash derailment
Blog, Uncategorized

How Train Derailments Happen and How to Prevent Them

If you’re a Nebraska railroad contractor, the idea of a train derailment is frightening, which is why it’s important to know how to prevent train derailment.

When a train derails, it’s the type of thing that makes the news, often with footage of emergency responders, survivors walking around in a daze.

But in truth, train derailments that lead to injuries are very rare, as most trains in America carry freight rather than passengers, and train cars are designed to survive impacts.

Writing in his book Train Wreck: The Foresnics of Rail Disasters, George Bibel says:

Most derailments are relatively benign, and can be compared to a person walking down the street, tripping, getting back up, and continuing on her or his way. Unless derailed cars crash into houses, strike passenger trains, or release hazardous material into a neighborhood, derailments do not normally affect civilians.

In addition, train derailments are becoming less and less common over the past 40 years due to upgrades in track technology.

Still, that doesn’t mean that track safety and efficiency isn’t something Nebraska railroad contractors should ignore.

Here are a Few Tips on How to Prevent Train Derailment

1. Inspect your tracks

Every inch of track in your facility should undergo a quarterly inspection by a Nebraska railroad contractor who is qualified to perform inspections.

You should perform regular, consistent maintenance on rail infrastructure and instruct your team on how to spot hazards and defects along the tracks.

2. Wide gauge tracks

Maintaining the correct width between rails — otherwise known as “gauge” — is important to ensuring safe conditions.

The standard gauge is 56.5 inches. Anything beyond this width is known as wide gauge and may lead to derailments. You can inspect your lines for a wide gauge track by looking for loose or missing bolts and joint bars.

3. Inspect Broken Railroad Ties

In addition, you should keep an eye out for broken railroad ties, spikes that have come loose or gone missing, or tie plates that have cut into the ties.

Check for places where mud is sitting atop the ballast, which could signal a feeble foundation and improper drainage.

4. Look for Broken Switch Points

Look for broken switch points, as these can put a gap between the rail and point and allow the wheels of a car to move along the wrong track.

5. Look for Flagging Structural Integrity

Finally, look for signs of flagging structural integrity (poor spike quantity or tie conditions) that could lead to a buckled or rolled rail.

Preventing sideswipes

Stopping sideswipes in your facility can help guard against derailments. Sideswipes can happen when rail cars are allowed to go past their clearance points and workers don’t know the tracks are obstructed.

You can prevent these incidents with clearance cone markers, which indicate where cars can be spotted without blocking an adjacent track. It’s also a good idea to paint two railroad ties 15 feet back along the cones.

How Often do Trains Derail

Trains derail much more often than you would expect all across the United States of America. The statistics are quite staggering according to McAleer Law. According to McAleer Law:

  • Trains derail every hour and half across the US
  • Every two weeks a train that has hazerdous cargo onboard derails from the train tracks

Annual Railroad Maintenance is Necessary to Prevent Derailments

Every year you should be inspecting and maintaining your railway for the most common causes for railroad derailment which include:

  1. Railroad ballast derailment: the ballast is the underlying rock around the tracks that maintain the height of the soil. If the ballast is laid wrong, the tracks can go deeper into the soil and warp the tracks as well as cause unwanted vibrations that can cause derailments. Laying your ballast properly at the proper depths is very important to the entire structure of your railway.
  2. Railroad sleeper derailment: Generally railroad sleepers, also called railroad ties, transfer loads to the track ballast and subgrade, hold the rails upright and keep them spaced to the correct gauge. The railroad ties keep provide stability for the rails on your railway. Without a stable railway your likely to derail at high speeds.

R&S Track Maintenance: Expert Nebraska railroad contractor

For more than 30 years, companies seeking safe, efficient rail services have turned to R&S Track Maintenance, a Nebraska railroad contractor who provides far more than rail maintenance and railroad construction.

Our services include surveying, consulting, track maintenance and repair, and inspections. Our experts know what red flags to look for and can recommend the steps you’ll need to take to prevent train derailment. Contact us today to learn more.

rail safety

Federal Government Updates New Railroad Testing Rules

We came across a piece of news regarding railroad safety recently that we think is of interest to anyone in the railroad construction field and interested in rail testing.

Late in August, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it had updated its rules to allow railroads to use ultrasonic inspection technology — augmented with GPS — for continuous rail testing.

Continuous Rail Testing for Greater Safety

These updated rules will make it easier for railroads to test their rails more often and identify flaws, thus improving safety.

“This rule will allow railroads to use the latest technology to continually monitor safety, which is a big step forward in strengthening safety and reliability on our nation’s railroads,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in an FRA news release.

Thanks to this rule, rail testing vehicles can move without stopping along the track, thereby reducing the number of freight and passenger delays typically connected to inspections.

“Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao is a strong advocate for safety through innovation, and these modernized standards will allow railroads to implement innovative inspection methods without the burden of applying for individual waivers with well-established safety records,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said in the news release.

Over the past decade, the FRA has issued waivers to railroad engineering experts at larger companies to use this technology. It has led to a 27-percent decline in broken rail-caused train accidents between May 2019 and May 2020.

Giving all railroads the chance to use this technology can improve the safety record of the entire railroad industry.

These new regulations focus more on performance-based outcoming instead of dictating how companies carry out effective testing.

Rail Testing With New Technologies is the Future

According to the FRA, railroads will be expected to use established methods for required rail inspections but will also have the freedom to use new technologies and methods once they’re proven effective and safe.

Continuous rail testing uses cars outfitted with GPS and ultrasonic technologies examining rails internally and without stopping.

As they move along the track, these cars collect imaging and location data, which they then transmit to monitoring sites so analysts can identify internal rail defects. Depending on how serious the defect is, carriers have 36-84 hours to send out an on-site railroad inspector.

If the railroad inspector verifies the defect, federal regulations call for immediate action, whether that’s repairing or replacing the rail, slowing trains over the defect or taking the track out of service until repairs are made.

The original regulations required vehicles conducting ultrasonic rail tests to repeatedly stop and manually inspect possible defects within four hours.

These frequent starts and stops can slow down train traffic and delay passenger and freight lines and only allows for 20 miles of testing per day. With continuous rail testing, a railroad inspector can test four to eight times as many miles of track per day.

The FRA estimates that one rail car using continuous testing could replace as many as five stop-and verify cars, saving the industry nearly $122 million in 10 years.

We Offer Rail Testing for Midwest Railroads

Have you identified problem areas on your track? R & S Track can help. We pride ourselves on track maintenance and rehab for a variety of industries. Contact us today to learn more or to receive a price estimate.

Industries That Rely on The Railroad System - railroad railroad track inspection

How the Growth of Railroads Transformed Six Key Industries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Railroads haul the most freight of any transport type in the US when you consider both the amount of weight carried as well as the sheer distance it must travel on the railroad system. It’s clear that without the railroad system, many industries would cease to operate as the sheer volume of their output would be impossible to carry by other means of transportation. Supporting the claim that the railroad system is an integral part of the economic backbone of the country, the BLS also states that the railroad system is a great barometer of how well the economy is doing. Nevertheless, here are 3 industries that strongly rely on the railroad system to have their needs met.

1 – The Automotive Industry

It would be all too easy to state that the coal or steel industry relies on railroads the most, that would be a given. Who relies on steel? There are two “essential” industries that we will list below, but this is a good example of an industry that is more commercially oriented but strongly relies on freight. Not only are cars great, big pieces of steel put together well, but they’re also reliant on rail transport to get to where they need.

The Automotive Industry Relies Heavily on the Railroad System to Meet Their Needs

Sure, when you visit a dealership and they need to deliver your car before you can drive it home, perhaps that one car may be driven down or towed to your location, but how does all of the inventory get there? Multiple dealerships with hundreds of cars, they are not manufactured on location of course! These are things civilians outside of the industry do not consider. There are 40+ automotive plants in the United States alone, consider how many cars are produced in the country by the leading manufacturers. The railroad system carries all of their output to the respective states they need to end up in.

2 – Construction

Without train freight, construction would occur at a pace far too slow for anyone’s needs. Construction is always ongoing, as society continues to modernize to the latest advancements in architectural standards, developing new land, or renovating existing infrastructure, train freight supplies the materials. Steel, stone, wood, plastics, and minerals all heavy cargo and without powerful locomotives and well maintained tracks, they’d never make it there. According to the AAR (Association of American Railroads), freight railroads moved 1.5 million carloads of lumber, steel, and other materials in 2018. Not only that, but 20% of all steel products

3 – Agriculture

Before railroads, agriculture was a primarily localized affair. Farmers could only sell what could be consumed in nearby markets, limiting both their reach and their income. The arrival of railroads changed the game entirely. For the first time, perishable goods like meat and dairy could be transported over long distances, thanks to innovations like refrigerated cars. This opened up larger markets for farmers and made seasonal fruits and vegetables available year-round in places they weren’t grown.

Railroads also facilitated the mass importation of inexpensive agricultural equipment and fertilizers, enabling farmers to cultivate land more efficiently. As railroads branched further into rural areas, farming communities gained the means to move large quantities of produce swiftly to cities, thereby increasing their earning potential and paving the way for the modern agribusiness model we see today.

The Agriculture Is Another Great Example that Relies Heavily on the Railroad System

While freight carries many things relevant to farming such as fertilizers or goods such as canned foods, grain is one of the most important things transported. Things such as corn, oats, wheat, rice, barley, etc, are used in just about every food industry you can think of. These base ingredients are the essence of the country’s dietary needs; consider how much grain is needed to feed livestock alone.

4 – Manufacturing

Before the growth of railroads, manufacturing was a fragmented industry. Producers were constrained by the limited availability and high costs of transporting raw materials and finished goods. Railroads brought uniformity and speed to this process. Manufacturers could now reliably procure materials from distant places, which not only drove down costs but also allowed for greater specialization. For instance, a factory in the Northeast could use southern cotton for textile production at a significantly lower cost and higher speed than before.

This seamless flow of materials and goods also meant that manufacturers could distribute their products across a much larger territory. In doing so, railroads helped establish national markets and encouraged the development of mass production techniques, like assembly lines, which thrived on high volumes and economies of scale.

5 – Mining

Mining industries experienced a renaissance of sorts with the advent of railroads. Extracting valuable materials like coal, iron, and copper was an arduous task that required immense capital and labor. The isolated locations of many mines further complicated the logistics, making it cost-prohibitive to transport these resources to where they were most needed.

Railroads solved these problems by providing a fast and reliable way to move mined resources to factories, ports, and refineries. For example, coal, vital for the steel industry and electricity generation, could now be moved in large quantities to meet burgeoning demand. This not only made mining operations more profitable but also fueled industrialization in a symbiotic relationship.

6 – Retail

Railroads had a transformative effect on the retail industry by inspiring the inception of the department store. These large retail establishments, often situated near railway stations in bustling city centers, offered a wide variety of goods, from clothing and furniture to foodstuffs. Before railroads, maintaining such diverse inventory would have been a logistical nightmare. However, the efficient transportation network allowed for quick restocking and a greater variety of goods, attracting consumers from far and wide.

The ease of transportation also influenced consumer behavior. Weekend excursions to large cities for shopping became a popular activity, giving rise to the concept of ‘shopping as entertainment.’ Moreover, mail-order catalogs grew in prominence, as retailers could promise quick and reliable delivery of goods via rail.

railroad safety standards

What Industries Benefit From Railroads?

Railroads opened up new markets for many different industries, including agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. Farmers could now ship their crops to cities and other states more easily and cheaply than ever before. Minerals and other resources could be transported from mines to factories more efficiently. And finished products could be shipped to distant markets quickly and affordably. All of this led to increased production and profits for many businesses, as well as more jobs for workers. Railroads are important for increasing profits.

What industries could benefit from our railroad services? The answer is that many businesses can, and still do benefit from our services. We offer a fast, reliable, and relatively inexpensive way to move people and goods around. This has led to increased production and profits for many businesses, as well as more jobs for workers. Many different types of businesses have benefited from the development of railroads, including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and even tourism. Railroads have helped farmers ship their crops to markets more easily and cheaply than ever before. They have helped miners transport minerals and other resources from mines to factories more efficiently. And they have helped manufacturers ship finished products to distant markets quickly and affordably. All of this has led to increased production and profits for railroad companies across the United States.

Other questions that people have about railroad companies and how they are used across industries are as follows:

  • What are the types of businesses that have benefited from railroads?
  • What are the products that have been transported by railroads?
  • What are some of the advantages of using railroads for transportation?
  • What are some of the disadvantages of using railroads for transportation?
  • What is the future of railroads in America?

Only time will tell what the future holds for railroads in America. But one thing is certain: they have played a vital role in the development of our country and will continue to do so for many years to come. That’s why we strive to be the best Midwest Railroad Contractor in North America. Some of our railroad services include consulting, surveying, track installation, track rehabilitation, & track maintenance.

Midwest Railroad ContractorR&S Track Inc.

At RS Track, we pride ourselves on our track rehabilitation and maintenance. When the tracks are down, so too are these industries (and many more) that make up much of the country’s need for raw materials.

If you are seeking a qualified railroad track contractor, look no further than R&S Track. We boast a 100% customer satisfaction policy and are a compliant and certified Railroad Track Contractor.

Contact us today to receive price estimate or if you have any questions you’d like to ask us!

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