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Adapting with the Climate


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Given the fact that it seems we are getting longer and hotter summers with more heat waves and more variable winters I think its obvious that our climate is changing something which scientists are telling us we can expect more of.

A general question I was to pose is how do we adapt our rail systems for these conditions?

I know GO Transit deals with frequent sun kinks in hot weather due to the tensioning of the tracks so here are some questions:

  • Is track tensioning changed between Winter and Summer typically? 
  • How will a greater temperature range affect service? (Ottawa has a massive temperature range from <-20 C to >+30 C that's greater than 50 C of range!)
  • One benefit of something like the Toronto Subway that's heavily tunnelled vs. something like the Vancouver Skytrain is that there isn't the issue of direct sunlight heating the rails i.e. less kinking, how do we think Ottawa will fair with this down the line 20+ years?
  • Does anyone have any proposed solutions to these issues? (Are there any kind of rails that have less of a thermal expansion issue?)
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Good Day. Ref: show-clearance machine - FEDCO-2018-06-05_EN_FINAL.pdf , pdf pg. 34 , internal pg. 33 . Ref: snowy track east guideway - FEDCO-2018-03-06_EN_FINAL.pdf , pg. 28 (switch in the

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I was wondering about this as well. I wasn't sure myself as to what they had designed into the tracks to deal with it. But this clearly shows there are steps and design traits built in to accommodate for track expansion and movement.

Side question perhaps related, the inner tracks serve what function? Do they interact with the train in any way or are just to help reinforce the track or the track ties?

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3 hours ago, Shane said:

Side question perhaps related, the inner tracks serve what function? Do they interact with the train in any way or are just to help reinforce the track or the track ties?

They're guard rails. In the event of a derailment, they are supposed to catch the flanges/wheels of the train to prevent the train from completely going off the track (i.e. off a bridge or into a tunnel wall).

There are another type of inner rail (I know you can find them at the curve going into Lees among other places) that are much closer to the actual rail than the ones in the photo which I think serve another purpose. I don't know for sure what it is, but if I were to guess these ones are meant to help guide the wheels around curves (via the flanges) to try and reduce the amount of grinding that occurs as the train goes around the bend.

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It is very impressive the amount of detail and information found in these documents. On a sidenote, the alternative routings for the Kanata LRT are quite elongated, looping out farther than would seem necessary, and afterwards passing through at the present low density areas, no doubt to encourage growth and construction.

Some of the main points to consider from the document are:

  • Extreme heat, which would increase chance of steel rail buckling.
  • Overhead wire design to consider projected temperatures to avoid the wire sagging, and also to consider increased freezing rain events and effects on the wire.

It does state a low risk for power distribution systems, communication and retaining walls.

At over 200 some pages, it will take a while to really go over the document to pull what is of interest.

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On a sidenote, I know that alot of trains have a sandbox and the capability to shoot a fine stream of sand down to their steel wheels and rail to aid with traction in wet and slippery conditions.

Do we know if the Citadis Spirit trains have this capability? And what about the LINTs?

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7 hours ago, Shane said:

On a sidenote, I know that alot of trains have a sandbox and the capability to shoot a fine stream of sand down to their steel wheels and rail to aid with traction in wet and slippery conditions.

Do we know if the Citadis Spirit trains have this capability? And what about the LINTs?

IIRC both have sandboxes. In the past I have seen piles of sand on the Trillium Line rails at either Carleton or Bayview(?). I think I also remember reading that the Spirits would also have sandboxes, but I can't remember where.

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Another point is snow fall and accumulation.

The trains are quite low to the ground, and they don't seem to have a built in or integrated snow plow on the front. Is one planned for the winter service or will they operate other vehicles to clear the snow between trains?

The fronts of the trains just don't look like they would function well or even accommodate some sort of snowplow.

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Good Day.

Indeed this topic was raised elsewhere with this exact concern. I believe the consensus was that :

for everyday normal snowfall, the continuous operation at comparatively high frequency is sufficient to keep the tracks / switches clear.

for excessive snow events, that a special piece of equipment is dispatched to assist, as it would be before beginning morning operations.

RTG should have had some exposure and experience with this over the preliminary operations last winter on the eastern leg open for testing at that time.

We Shall See.

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22 hours ago, Charlie said:

In one of the FEDCO power point presentations they had a picture of the machine with a snowplow attachment. It was one from a couple of months ago if you would like to find it.

Good Day.

Ref: show-clearance machine - FEDCO-2018-06-05_EN_FINAL.pdf , pdf pg. 34 , internal pg. 33 .

Ref: snowy track east guideway - FEDCO-2018-03-06_EN_FINAL.pdf , pg. 28 (switch in the mid-distance).

Ref: snowy track at an outdoor open station - FEDCO-2018-03-06_EN_FINAL.pdf , pg. 3 .

EnJoy!

SnowyStation.png

SnowyEastRail.png

SnowMachine.png

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I saw this article on CBC today. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ttc-noise-complaints-1.4885206

It has to do with increasing noise along Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth line) of the TTC Subway. It is caused by a phenomenon called "Wheel Flats". This is when there isn't enough friction between the wheels and rails (no doubt slipping or sliding), that causes the train's control computer to initiate an emergency stop, thereby causing the train wheels to slide on the tracks. The sliding flattens the wheels, and reduces it's roundness. Obviously being no longer perfectly round creates increasing noise levels.

The wheels can be repaired by grinding back to a circle.

The article mentions that this can be caused for example by rain and falling leaves on the tracks, reducing friction levels between wheel and rail.

By the very design, this would seem to be an issue anywhere, and it is through regular maintenance and proactive repairs when it becomes an issue that this situation can be dealt with. Will be interesting to see how it plays out and how well it is dealt with on our system in Ottawa.

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