Railroad Track Training and Track Inspection
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Railroad Track Safety, Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Integrity


Customized Training Modules

Track Guy Consultants provides custom training modules based upon specific topics as outlined in the list below. These modules can be combined to make a custom training program tailored to meet the specific needs of your company. Approximate times are given for each module and some require certain knowledge of Railroad track design, construction or maintenance. NOTE: More detail can be added to each topic and, therefore, the approximate times may vary depending upon the degree of difficulty that the customer would like to see. Call The Track Guy and we'll come to you for a customized training program or choose from any of our standard courses.

1. The History of Railroad Track


We trace the history of Railroad Track from the mid 17th century to today's structure. We discuss the 8 innovations that produced the track structure, showing the increase and decrease of trackage through the years and how we transport people and commodities. We also give a brief history of Metropolitan rail showing the creativity of the inventors and some examples. We offer an explanation as to why the gage is 56½” and why rail is measured in three foot increments as well as why a tie is 8'6” long.


2. Rail and How We Make It


We discusss in detail how rail is made using the continuous casting method with a brief talk on the open hearth and blast furnace methods. We show the meanings of all the nomenclature that is stamped onto the rail and show the technical terms to identify the design of the rail. We show some very important milestones in the production of rail.


3. Definitions


A discussion about the language of the railroad and the specific terms that are used. We use photographs and sketches to help explain each definition.


4. Fasteners


We show the many different types of fasteners and discuss why some have failed and offer new innovations that have come onto the market. This is an open discussion and the sharing of opinions and experiences are encouraged.


5. Types of Track


We show the basic types of track and talk about variations within each. We will briefly talk about some lessons learned and some that have failed.


6. Specialwork Details


We explain how to determine the frog number. We discuss the geometry of a turnout and show the correct way to set a guard rail. We get into the workings of a double slip and discuss all the components and what they do.


7. Wheel/Rail Interface



We begin this topic with an explanation of the 6 basic forms of rail transportation which comprise the 3 categories of our rail network. This is essential for understanding load transfer and the 3 degrees of force that are imposed on the track structure. We further explain the wheel rail dynamics and show the proper orientation of rail and wheel. We give examples on what not to do and share some anecdotal remarks.


8. Load Transfer


We carry a single wheel load in the static condition from top of rail to the sub-grade and show the pressures along the way. We do freight and light rail loading. We stay in the static condition a give a brief explanation when the dynamic forces are imposed onto the track structure, leaving the details to Trackwork 102 Advanced Theory. We further show the importance of tie spacing and ballast depth.


9. Thermal Forces


We explain how to control the thermal forces and explain the importance of shoulder and crib ballast as well as the holding force of the ballast under the tie. We show a couple examples and give limits of force that the track structure can handle. We show how to calculate these forces as well as the gap required for a specific rail temperature. We also give examples of what to look for when walking track to determine if the neutral temperature may be too low or too high.


10. Welding Rail (field & flash)


We explain the difference between the two as well as show the heat affected zones and what this means to proper testing and interpretation of contract specifications. We discuss the procedures for both types of welds.


11. Rail Life


We offer a simple equation to determine the life expectancy of rail using some older formulas and challenge the audience to think about the development of some newer ones.


12. Curves


This module explains the anatomy of a curve and the meaning and importance of spirals. We show how to do string lining and create a graph to determine defects. We show how to calculate radius and middle ordinate.


13. Clearances


We briefly show the importance of clearances on the railroad and how a car body reacts to the changes in alignment and surface.


14. Unbalance


We discuss Unbalance -- what it means and how we deal with it. Examples are given and calculations are offered to determine if the design is within certain limits. We show how to distribute the super elevation in order to achieve good rider comfort. This is a general overview and can be made more detailed.


15. Design Criteria


We present some basic design criteria and show how each property owner may vary.


16. Jerk Rate


This module is a general discussion about Jerk Rate -- what it is and how it relates to rider comfort. We go through a couple examples and show what to look for and determine if there is an issue with alignment as it relates to Jerk Rate.


17. Economics of Track


This is a discussion about how much it costs to build railroad track. We keep this open for discussion and offer basic pricing for Ballasted Track, Direct Fixation Track and Embedded Track with 3 degrees of difficulty per type.


18. Rail & Track Defects


This is a brief discussion and general overview of some rail defects and the limits imposed by the FRA. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 104.


19. FRA Standards


This is a brief discussion and general overview of geometry defects and the limits imposed by the FRA. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 104.


20. AREMA Recommendations


This is a very brief discussion of the AREMA manual and shows the comparison between the FRA and APTA standards.


21. APTA Recommendations


This is a brief discussion and general overview of some rail defects and the limits imposed by the APTA standards for passenger rail. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 106.


22. Building Ballasted Track


We go through the general methodology of constructing ballasted track with an explanation on how a tamper works. This is a brief discussion and can be presented in much more detail with plenty of conversation. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 103 and Trackwork 105.


23. Building DF Track


We go through the general methodology of constructing direct fixation track with an explanation on top down construction. This is a brief discussion and can be presented in much more detail with plenty of conversation. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 103 and Trackwork 105.


24. Building Embedded Track


We go through the general methodology of constructing embedded track with an explanation on top down construction. This is a brief discussion and can be presented in much more detail with plenty of conversation. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 103 and Trackwork 105.


25. Building Specialwork


We go through the general methodology of constructing a turnout the right way. This is a brief discussion and can be presented in much more detail with plenty of conversation. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 103 and Trackwork 105.


26. String Lining


String Lining is a lost art in the industry since we now have geometry cars and computer operated roller gages, but this will give the student an understanding of how to string line a curve and go through the trial and error method of making corrections.


27. Project Management (abbreviated)


This is a quick discussion on managing a track project, showing the different activities that must be watched in order to protect the bottom line and maintain efficiency. A much more detailed approach is in our Trackwork 107 seminar.


28. CWR Maintenance


This covers the means and methods of maintaining and controlling CWR. We go deeper into the theory and offer hands-on examples for calculating gap and stresses. We discuss the proper way to distress rail and the do's and don'ts of working with CWR. This discussion could be lengthier with a field walk.


29. Stray Current


This discussion offers the basics of stray current and the importance of good quality control. It is not meant to be an in-depth talk but will give the student a much better understanding of how it all works.


30. Maintaining Track


This is a brief discussion on maintaining track and how to plan maintenance and prioritize the defects. Offers some methodologies on changing rail, ties and ballast. How to maintain turnouts, crossings and joints. A more detailed version is offered in Trackwork 103 and Trackwork 104.


31. Inspecting Track


This is a more in-depth discussion of the FRA Safety Standards and gives the student a better understanding of what to look for when walking track or inspecting a turnout. Photos are shown and a discussion is encouraged about what may be wrong. This would be the middle approach between FRA Standards (#19) and Trackwork 104


32. The Track Structure as it Works Together


This topic shows the track structure and talks about how it all works together and gives examples of what happens if a certain component is missing. We give examples of material and discuss the properties. We further give the student names of vendors and briefly discuss their products and how they relate to the track structure.


33. Tools


This is a discussion about hand tools and how they work. We offer some safety tips as to how to use them and show the right tool for the job. This can be followed by some safety videos and manufacturers recommended procedures.


34. Equipment


We show the different types of equipment and what they do. Possibly showing some promotional videos to help explain their function. This is not intended to explain how to operate the equipment, just offers the purpose.


35. Roadbed


This is a detailed discussion of the roadbed and how important it is to have a good foundation. We show the pressures that are involved and explain how it all works together. More details are in our Trackwork 103 presentation


36. Ties


We talk about the different types of wood and different materials used in producing railroad ties. We offer advantages and disadvantages of each and stress the importance of using the right product for the application in order to save money over the long term. We do some life cycle cost analysis and compare.


37. Ballast


The different types of ballast are discussed and where they should be used. We discuss handling and load transfer, showing the pressures and interaction with the other components. We show some new products and talk about how they can save money.


38. Rail


This is the most costly asset of the track and we talk about ways to prolong life of the rail and do proper rail management. We discuss the many methods of maintaining rail and how important that each are to the bottom line.


39. Joints


New FRA criteria have surfaced for inspection of joint bars for the prevention of derailments. We talk about this and show the loads that joint bars are expected to carry. We further talk about the proper maintenance and care of joints and what bad joint maintenance can do to a railroad track structure.


40. Gage, Alignment & Surface


Tight gage, wide gage, wiggles and dips can be very detrimental to the track structure. We talk about finding, prioritizing and correcting defects in gage and alignment, as well as surface. We explain proven techniques to correct surface and discuss how to sight the rail and use string lines and lasers.


41. Drainage


This is a topic that can't be discussed enough. Poor drainage has proven to destroy a track structure in a short period of time. We will emphasis the importance of drainage and show methods for correcting poor drainage. The more you wait, the more it costs.


42. Replacing Rail


We offer an interactive discussion on replacing rail and some of the do's and don'ts as well as some Indian tricks. It is recommended that competing companies not attend the same discussion.


43. Crossings


We discuss Crossings -- how to build one (half/half or full) and the importance of the excavation and the compaction as well as the finish running surface for both the railroad and rubber tired vehicles. We will show the dynamics of both and offer some solutions.


44. Vegetation Control


Controlling vegetation is very important to both the track guys and the operation guys. Visibility is extremely important for safety of the general population and organics in the track structure can degrade any track.


45. Derailments


We will briefly discuss derailment investigation and prevention. This is not a comprehensive discussion but will give the student a better understanding of what to look for before and after a derailment.


46. Other Stuff


This is a category that catches the stuff that we missed in other modules. We add to this as newer technology is unveiled in the industry. We will explore some ideas that may be considered strange or not conforming to the industry standards.


47. Statistics


We show some facts and statistics about the Rail industry and look at some possible trends as it pertains to Track. We look at how the industry has become more efficient and streamlined and then we ask the question: "Have we lost some of the foundation that this industry was built on?"


48. Weights and Measures


We explain some common weights of track material and equipment. We will also show a program for doing easy conversions and calculations for activities on the Railroad such as determining neutral temperature, number of ties per mile etc.


49. Training the next Generation


These modules talk about the differences between the generations and what motivates each one. We also discuss how to mix and match generations and the do's and don't when managing the different generations.


50. Lessons Learned


We explore some mistakes that have been made in the past and suggest some possible solutions.


51. Safety


Safety is a predominant factor in all forms of work and the risks are great in the rail industry. We show some safety DVDs and discuss certain tricks of the trade that help workers to be safer on the job. We focus on hand tools, power tools and working around equipment.


52. Vendors


Manufacturers, vendors and suppliers are discussed as to what they make or distribute to the rail industry. We offer some opinions based on our 33 years of dealing with suppliers. We show where you can get some competitive pricing and offer some rough budget numbers.


To Request A Quotea

To request a quote for our Custom Training Modules, please complete the Request For Quote pdf and return it to The Track Guy or call us today and ... Let's talk Track!

For a printed listing of all of our seminars and modules, visit our Training Catalogue a


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