Sign up
Title:
TURNTABLE ASSEMBLY SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a turntable assembly system for moving railcars adapted to be concentrically positioned among a plurality of radially aligned pairs of outer railways, comprising: (a) a rotatably mounted platform having a central railway in the form of a plurality of perpendicularly crossing railway tracks; (b) an azimuthally rotatable annular frame with inner and outer ends having a spaced plurality of radially disposed intermediate railways segregated into aligned pairs for selectively aligning with different pairs of said outer railways at the outer ends and aligning with at least one of said perpendicular crossing railway tracks at the inner ends; said azimuthally rotatable annular frame concentrically circumscribing said rotatably mounted platform; and (c) an integrated computer dispatch control system capable of detecting and identifying railcar type information and track destination information.


Inventors:
Wertz, Frederick H. (Sparta, NJ, US)
Palffy, Szilard E. (Walden, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/103656
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
04/15/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61J1/00
View Patent Images:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven, Stein B. (114 OLD BLOOMFIELD AVENUE, PARSIPPANY, NJ, 07054, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A turntable assembly system for moving railcars adapted to be concentrically positioned among a plurality of radially aligned pairs of outer railways, comprising: a. a rotatably mounted platform having a central railway in the form of a plurality of perpendicularly crossing railway tracks; b. an azimuthally rotatable annular frame with inner and outer ends having a spaced plurality of radially disposed intermediate railways segregated into aligned pairs for selectively aligning with different pairs of said outer railways at the outer ends and aligning with at least one of said perpendicular crossing railway tracks at the inner ends; said azimuthally rotatable annular frame concentrically circumscribing said rotatably mounted platform; and c. an integrated computer dispatch control system capable of detecting and identifying railcar type information and track destination information.

2. The turntable assembly system according to claim 1, further comprising a computer controlled operating mechanism capable of directing rotation of the annular frame and the platform into a position for selectively aligning with at least one of said perpendicular crossing railway tracks.

3. The turntable assembly system of claim 1, further comprising at least one position sensing device.

4. The turntable assembly system of claim 1, wherein the computer dispatch control system is further comprising a visual turntable display, capable of displaying the relative positions of the railcar and the turntable track.

5. The turntable assembly system of claim 2, further comprising at least one operator interface, wherein an operator directs the computer controlled operating mechanism.

6. The turntable assembly system of claim 1, further comprising a railcar equipment identification reader system capable of identifying railcar equipment by reading an electronically coded identification tag affixed to the railcar equipment.

7. The identification tag of claim 6, wherein the tag comprises a radio frequency identification (RFID) device.

8. The identification tag of claim 6, wherein the tag comprises a global positioning system (GPS) device.

9. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 1, wherein the center platform is not less than 200 feet in diameter.

10. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 1, wherein the center platform is non movable, said platform further is comprised of a frame of I-beams in a 4 cross track diamond configuration.

11. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 1, wherein the annular frame is about approximately 200 feet internal diameter at the inner end and about approximately 400 feet external diameter at the outer end.

12. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim wherein said railway tracks are atop I-beams.

13. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 12 wherein said mounting is in the form of welding, supporting struts, by an overlying or underlying panel thereby providing structural connection between said I-beams.

14. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 12 wherein said I-beam is arranged in the form of a group of concentric regular polygons.

15. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 1 wherein said annular frame also comprises I-beams providing primary support structure to said frame.

16. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 1 further comprising: a plurality of circuitous channels bedded below said annular frame at its perimeter and throughout entire base area; at least a guide member depending from said annular frame and projecting into said circuitous channel for guiding said annular frame.

17. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 15 wherein said guide member is a concrete guide member that provides circuitous channels for the rail bed.

18. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 15 wherein said guiding member(s) is comprised of high strength concrete (6000 p.s.i) designed for Cooper E-80 loading plus 60% impact.

19. The turntable assembly for moving railcars as claimed in claim 15 wherein said guiding member is pie shaped and placed at 110 ft. and 490 ft radius respectively.

20. An azimuthally rotatable annular frame for a turntable assembly having a rotatably mounted platform with railway tracks, adapted to be concentrically positioned among a plurality of radially aligned pairs of outer railways, having a spaded plurality of radially disposed intermediate railways segregated into aligned pairs for selectively aligning with different pairs of said outer railways and at least one of said railway tracks, said azimuthally rotatable annular frame concentrically circumscribing said rotatably mounted platform and provides for moving railcars efficiently thereby reducing railcar dwell time; and an integrated computer dispatch control system capable of detecting and identifying railcar type information and track destination information.

Description:

The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/135,723, filed on May 25, 2005, and claims priority to application Ser. No. 11/135,723, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to turntables, and more particularly it relates to a computer mediated, sequencing turntable assembly system having a plurality of radially aligned outer railways in conjunction with a plurality of central and intermediate railways configured for reducing rail car dwell time by physical distribution, transportation, and efficiently handling railway railcars in rail yards.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Rail system congestion indicates a real need for improved handling and classification at terminal facilities. An article, dated Mar. 31, 2004, titled “Freight-Car Congestion Is Worrying Union Pacific” published in the New York Times, states several reasons for railroad congestion. One reason that prods the sequencing turntable development is rail yard time on a weekly average per rail car is 49.0 hours at West Colton rail yard in Southern California during March, 2004.

Rail yard time is dwell time for a rail car when it's not being sorted and spotted for newly formed blocks for the next destination. A stationary rail car is costly to the shipper, the railroad carrier, and to the economy.

Railway trains are often composed of a number of railcars having different destinations. Ideally railcars with the same destination will be placed consecutively, so they can be easily parsed as a group. Because railcars having the same destination may themselves come from different sources, it is difficult to place these railcars in sequence. Often a train is dispatched with the desired railcars out of sequence. When this happens, much effort must be spent on decoupling randomly distributed railcars and directing them to a spur or other railways servicing a destination. In railroad depots, rail yards, and repair shops, a turntable is often used to quickly direct a railcar or other vehicle to sheds or hangers that can be arranged around the turntable in a circle. These arrangements are used to save space and to quickly move railcars.

Attempts were made in the present field to address the issue of reducing the rail car dwell time. The prior arts closely related to the present invention include the following: U.S. Pat. No. 889,372, discloses a turntable with a single track that can rotate to one of several radially disposed tracks. The U.S. Pat. No. 889,371 discloses a normal surface turntable comprising circular tracks sunk in a normal surface and a table composed of a plurality of self sustaining sections, each section comprising longitudinal members and a revolving support. A disadvantage with such turntables is the limitations associated with employing only a single track on a single table. When a railcar is placed on such a turntable, the table must be rotated and the railcar on the table must be removed before the table can be repositioned to accept a new railcar.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,732,551, discloses a method of assembling and installing a turn table comprising assembling the center bearing of the turn table with the radially extending stringers, assembling the outside rollers on the stringers, spacing the stringers, securing the track of the underside of the rollers and flowing concrete beneath the turn table to grip and secure in position the track, and releasing the track from the rollers. This invention does not address the issue related to efficient handling of railcars for physical distribution, transportation and warehousing and the reduction of rail car dwell time in rail yard.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,452,426, discloses a building including in combination an annular series of storage spaces, each of said annular series of storage spaces providing a passage-way, and a turn table disposed within and encircled by said series. The building including in combination a plurality of annular series of storage spaces, each of said annular series of storage spaces providing a passage-way, and a turn table disposed within and encircled by the innermost series, certain of said series of storage spaces being movable with respect to other series of storage spaces. This invention does not specifically address the handling of railcars in rail yard and does not disclose a system for reducing rail car dwell time and physical distribution, transportation, and efficiently handling railway railcars in rail yards.

It is well understood that a great amount of space is wasted in storage buildings, such as garages, rail yards, in that it is necessary that each vehicle disposed therein must be readily available. Further, it is difficult to place railcars in sequence which may come from different sources and having the same destination. Often a train is dispatched with the desired railcars out of sequence and then much effort must be spent on decoupling randomly distributed railcars and directing them to a spur or other railways servicing a destination. The features of the afore cited prior art disclose a complex design of turntables and bulky structural indices that hinder their performance. The above cited prior art does not specifically address the handling of railcars in a rail yard and does not disclose reducing rail car dwell time. Further, the above cited prior art does not provide an improved turntable assembly having simple structural indices and multiple tracks for reliable operation by allowing placing of multiple railcars on turntables simply by repositioning the turntables to accept new railcars without removing existing railcars. Moreover, in the prior art, the railcars on railways cannot be removed from the turntable, while new railcars are loaded onto the turntable from the feeder railway, and the cited turntables in the prior arts are not capable of acting as a bypass for traffic on the feeder track.

Accordingly, there is a need for an improved combination of convenient and utility for reducing rail car dwell time in rail yards, physical distribution, transportation, and efficiently handling railway railcars in rail yards, to place the railcars in sequence which have same destinations and may come from different sources, to save space, and to quickly move/direct railcars.

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the above-described prior arts, the general purpose of the present invention is to provide an improved combination of convenience and utility, to include all the advantages of the prior arts, and overcome the abovementioned disadvantages and drawbacks of the prior arts. The present invention is an improvement over the method for the assembly and installation of turntables as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,245,929, issued to the inventors of the present invention.

The principal aspect of the present invention is to provide a computer mediated system and method of sequencing turntable for reducing rail car dwell time in rail yards, physical distribution, transportation, and efficiently handling railway railcars in rail yards, to place the railcars in sequence which have same destinations and may come from different sources, to save space, and to quickly move/direct railcars.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying Summary, Drawings and Descriptive Description of the Invention in which there are illustrated exemplary embodiments of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a turntable assembly system for moving railcars adapted to be concentrically positioned among a plurality of radially aligned pairs of outer railways, comprising: (a) a rotatably mounted platform having a central railway in the form of a plurality of perpendicularly crossing railway tracks; (b) an azimuthally rotatable annular frame with inner and outer ends having a spaced plurality of radially disposed intermediate railways segregated into aligned pairs for selectively aligning with different pairs of said outer railways at the outer ends and aligning with at least one of said perpendicular crossing railway tracks at the inner ends; said azimuthally rotatable annular frame concentrically circumscribing said rotatably mounted platform; and (c) an integrated computer dispatch control system capable of detecting and identifying railcar type information and track destination information.

The present invention further provides an azimuthally rotatable annular frame for a turntable assembly having a rotatably mounted platform with railway tracks, adapted to be concentrically positioned among a plurality of radially aligned pairs of outer railways, having a spaded plurality of radially disposed intermediate railways segregated into aligned pairs for selectively aligning with different pairs of said outer railways and at least one of said railway tracks, said azimuthally rotatable annular frame concentrically circumscribing said rotatably mounted platform and provides for moving railcars efficiently thereby reducing railcar dwell time; and an integrated computer dispatch control system capable of detecting and identifying railcar type information and track destination information.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the improved sequencing turntables in accordance with the principals of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged plan view of the middle and most center turntables;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view of the four rail track/crossing or crossing (diamond);

FIG. 4 is an elevation sectional drawing illustrating the railcar axle-wheels assembly on trucks and the steel I-beam/s supported at right angle by the railcar trucks;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional, elevation view of the turntable of the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a detailed elevation view of a wheel support;

FIG. 7 is a diagram showing a third steel rail cross section of the left most of three all wheel truck assemblies;

FIG. 8 shows a complete high strength structural concrete panel;

FIG. 9 illustrates a typical concrete panel abutment joint;

FIG. 10 illustrates one of eight galvanized steel inserts per panel.

FIG. 11 shows a plan view of the high strength structural concrete panels.

FIG. 12 shows a plan view of the high strength structural concrete panels.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a turntable assembly system for moving railcars adapted to be concentrically positioned among a plurality of radially aligned pairs of outer railways, comprising: (a) a rotatably mounted platform having a central railway in the form of a plurality of perpendicularly crossing railway tracks; (b) an azimuthally rotatable annular frame with inner and outer ends having a spaced plurality of radially disposed intermediate railways segregated into aligned pairs for selectively aligning with different pairs of said outer railways at the outer ends and aligning with at least one of said perpendicular crossing railway tracks at the inner ends; said azimuthally rotatable annular frame concentrically circumscribing said rotatably mounted platform; and (c) an integrated computer dispatch control system capable of detecting and identifying railcar type information and track destination information.

According to an embodiment of this invention, the provided turntable assembly system is further comprising a computer controlled operating mechanism capable of directing rotation of the annular frame and the platform into a position for selectively aligning with at least one of said perpendicular crossing railway tracks. According to one embodiment of this invention, the computer is attached to an electronic network. According to another embodiment, the computer system is wireless. According to yet another embodiment, the computer system is portable.

According to yet another embodiment of the present invention, the turntable assembly system further comprises at least one position sensing device. The position sensing device may be mechanical or electronic, but is generally capable of identifying the relative position of the tracks and/or the railcar(s). According to still another embodiment, the provided computer dispatch control system is further comprising a visual turntable display, capable of displaying the relative positions of the railcar and the turntable track. According to a preferred embodiment, the visual turntable display is a computer monitor. Still another embodiment of the present invention further provides at least one operator interface, wherein an operator directs the computer controlled operating mechanism. According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, the interface is a computer keyboard, wherein an operator can enter instructions in order to direct the computer controlled operating mechanism. According to another preferred embodiment of this invention, the interface is a computer joystick, wherein an operator can direct position instructions in order to direct the computer controlled operating mechanism. According to still another preferred embodiment of this invention, the interface is a computer display touch screen, wherein an operator can graphically direct position instructions in order to direct the computer controlled operating mechanism. In this way, an operator can direct movement and rotation of the relative position of track and rail car.

According to yet still another embodiment of the present invention, the turntable system of the present invention is further comprising a railcar equipment identification reader system capable of identifying railcar equipment by reading an electronically coded identification tag affixed to the railcar equipment. According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, the tag comprises a radio frequency identification (RFID) device. According to another preferred embodiment, the tag comprises a global positioning system (GPS) device.

RFID is the acronym for “radio frequency identification.” These are electronic devices that consist essentially of a small computer chip and a transmitting antenna. The RFID device serves as a unique identifier tag. Alternatively a magnetic strip could be used. An RFID tag has a distinct advantage for this invention over other methods because the RFID signal can be detected at a distance, albeit a short distance, thereby facilitating the handling of large amounts of local information. RFID technology is also extremely cost effective. RFID media greatly facilitates the solutions of the present invention to the problems of the prior art.

GPS is an acronym for Global Positioning System, which is a satellite-based navigation system, capable of determining position anywhere in the world. Some GPS receivers can transmit position information in order to relay position information to another user or data center.

According to still another embodiment of the provided turntable assembly system the center platform is not less than about approximately 200 feet in diameter. According to alternative embodiment, the center platform is non movable. According to another alternative embodiment, the center platform is movable.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the platform is further comprised of a frame of I-beams in a 4 cross track diamond configuration. According to another embodiment, of the present invention, the annular frame is about approximately 200 feet internal diameter at the inner end and about approximately 400 feet external diameter at the outer end. According to yet a further embodiment of this invention, the railway tracks are atop I-beams. According to alternative embodiments of this invention, the mounting is in the form of welding, supporting struts, by an overlying or underlying panel thereby providing structural connection between said I-beams. According to another embodiment of this invention, the I-beam is arranged in the form of a group of concentric regular polygons. Still according to another embodiment, the annular frame also comprises I-beams providing primary support structure to said frame. Still yet further, another embodiment of the present invention provides the provided turntable assembly further comprising: a plurality of circuitous channels bedded below said annular frame at its perimeter and throughout entire base area; at least a guide member depending from said annular frame and projecting into said circuitous channel for guiding said annular frame. According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, the guide member is a concrete guide member that provides circuitous channels for the rail bed. According to an alternative embodiment of this invention, the guiding member(s) is comprised of high strength concrete (about 6000 p.s.i) designed for Cooper E-80 loading plus about 60% impact. According to still another embodiment of this invention, the guiding member is pie shaped and placed at about approximately 110 foot and about approximately 490 foot radius respectively.

Finally, the present invention provides an azimuthally rotatable annular frame for a turntable assembly having a rotatably mounted platform with railway tracks, adapted to be concentrically positioned among a plurality of radially aligned pairs of outer railways, having a spaded plurality of radially disposed intermediate railways segregated into aligned pairs for selectively aligning with different pairs of said outer railways and at least one of said railway tracks, said azimuthally rotatable annular frame concentrically circumscribing said rotatably mounted platform and provides for moving railcars efficiently thereby reducing railcar dwell time; and an integrated computer dispatch control system capable of detecting and identifying railcar type information and track destination information.

The exemplary embodiments described herein detail for illustrative purposes are subject to many variations in structure and design. It should be emphasized, however that the present invention is not limited to a particular sequencing turntable assembly system shown and described. Rather, the principles of the present invention can be used with a variety of turntable configurations and structural arrangements. It is understood that various omissions, substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstances may suggest or render expedient, but is intended to cover the application or implementation without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims of the present invention.

As a stationary rail car is costly to the shipper, the railroad carrier, and to the economy, the present invention provides a system and method of sequencing turntable for reducing rail car dwell time by physical distribution, transportation, and efficiently handling railway railcars in rail yards thereby saving the cost for the shipper, the railroad carrier and in turn the economy at large.

The present invention provides a system and method of sequencing turntable assembly system for reducing rail car dwell time in rail yards, to place the railcars in sequence which have same destinations and may come from different sources, to save space, to quickly move/direct railcars to their destination tracks, physical distribution, transportation, and efficiently handling railway railcars in rail yards. Further, the present invention provides for an improved turntable assembly system having simple structural indices and multiple tracks for reliable operation by allowing placing of multiple railcars on turntables simply by repositioning the turntables to accept new railcars without removing existing railcar. Railcars on railways may be removed from the turntable, while new railcars are loaded onto the turntable from the feeder railway, at the same time the turntable can act as a bypass for traffic on the feeder track.

Turning now to the figures, FIGS. 1-7 shows the turntable assembly. A central platform 10 is mounted concentrically and rotatably within a rotatable annular frame 12. Central platform 10 has a central railway in the form of two pairs of perpendicularly crossing railway tracks 14. Platform 10 is rotatably mounted on circuitous railway 16 as shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 5. The diameter of central platform 10 is preferably 200 feet, although this dimension can be varied depending upon the expected size of the railcar and the desired capacity of the platform.

Annular frame 12 is shown supporting twenty four equiangularly spaced, intermediate railways 1B shown as twelve aligned pairs of railways. This spacing allows each pair to operate with railway tracks 14 as a bypass. The intermediate railways 18 are preferably 300 feet long, but may have a different length, depending upon the capacity of the assembly and the expected size of the railcars.

A plurality of outer railways 25, 25A are illustrated in FIG. 1. Outer railways 25A, shown in this view in the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions, are part of the feeder track used to bring railcars to and from the turntable. In each quadrant six outer railways 25 are equiangularly spaced at 15 degree intervals.

In other embodiments the outer railways 25 can be fewer or lesser in number and can be distributed at almost any convenient position. It is advantageous however, to have some of the outer railways 25 align with the intermediate railways 18, when two of them are aligned with the feeder railway 25A. Under these circumstances, railcars on intermediate railways 18 may be removed from the turntable, while new railcars are loaded onto the turntable from the feeder railway 25A. At the same time, the turntable can act as a bypass for traffic on the feeder track 25A.

Annular frame 12 is rotatably supported on circuitous tracks 20 and 22. As shown in FIG. 1. A number of wheeled carriages 24 ride on circuitous tracks 20 and 22, respectively as shown in FIG. 4. Wheeled carriages 24 are trucks, much like those on railroad railcars, and may have a pair of axles, each axle having a pair of flanged wheels of the conventional type. Referring to FIG. 1 and more particularly to FIG. 5, a circuitous railway 16 is shown as a conventional rail bedded below central platform 10. Central platform 10 is composed of a frame of I-beams 2B. I-beams 28 can be arranged in a grid or in a parallel group much like floor joists. Alternatively, the I-beams 28 can be arranged in concentric polygons. These I-beams 28 can be either welded together or can be joined by supporting struts or by an overlying or underlying panel. Central platform 10 is also shown including previously mentioned railway tracks 14 mounted atop the I-beam 28.

In some embodiments, the space between the railway tracks 14 can be covered by reticular structure such subway grating or “Diamond” plate. The grating or plate need not necessarily be part of the supporting structure but in some embodiment will.

Similarly, I-beams 34 can provide the primary support structure for the annular frame 12. Again, the I-beams 34 can be arranged in a grid or in a group of concentric regular polygons. As before, struts or connecting plates or grates can provide the structural connection between the I-beams 28 or 34.

A pair of powered trucks 36 are shown in FIG. 4 mounted on diametrically opposite sides of annular frame 12. The figure shows the sub-soils and hi-strength structural concrete panels containing the evenly spaced railroad tracks. The railcar axle wheel assembly on trucks which contain AC electric traction motors at the perimeters of the annular frame 12 and outer railways. The steel I-beam 28 (not shown in the figure) is supported at right angles by the railcar tracks which are double or tri axle. Trucks 36 drive along circuitous track 22. In this embodiment, powered trucks 36 can be much like the powered trucks found on diesel locomotives or subway railcars, that is the wheels on the trucks can be turned by electric motor. Alternatively, a diesel engine can be mounted on trucks 36 to directly power these trucks or to power a generator that drive the motors that move trucks 36.

In FIGS. 5 & 6 platform 10 is shown connected to drive shaft 38 which supports a drive gear 40. Motor means 42 can drive gear 40 to turn drive shaft 38 and platform 10. Motor means 42 can be an electric motor, a diesel motor, or other appropriate motor means.

The rotation of annular frame 12 and platform 10 can be performed by manually actuating electrical switches that power or de-power the drive source moving platform 10 and annular frame 12. Alternatively, platform 10 and annular frame 12 can have position sensing devices similar to those employed in elevators, so that annular frame 12 and platform 10 can rotate until they reach a position marker indicating the need to decelerate and stop in registration with the appropriate track.

To facilitate an understanding of the principles associated with the foregoing assembly, its use is briefly described. A train can be driven along main feeder railway 25A as shown in FIG. 1. When a railcar destined for turntable 10, 12, the railcar is positioned on annular frame 12 either to the upstream or downstream side of annular frame 12. Once thus positioned, the railcar is decoupled at both ends and the adjacent railcars are moved away.

Next, powered tracks 36 as shown in FIG. 4 and FIG. 7 are started to turn annular frame 12 in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. In some instances, two railcars can be placed on annular frame 12 on either side of platform 10. Annular frame 12 is rotated either to place the just removed railcar in alignment with a railway 25 destined to receive that railcar or otherwise the annular frame 12 is just incremented to the next position, so that the next available intermediate railway 18 aligns with feeder railway 25A.

If a previously removed railcar now aligns with its destination railway 25, two operations can occur simultaneously. First, the previously removed railcar can be shunted from annular frame 12 toward the end of it destination railway 25 and secondly another railcar is positioned on annular frame 12. A railcar can be moved onto and along its destination railway 25 by well known portable rail railcar movers, although in some instances a small locomotive, a cable hauling line, or other apparatus may be used to move the railcars.

In the foregoing operation, the central platform 10 remained in position and did not rotate. Indeed in some embodiments platform 10 will be stationary by design. In some cases however, an extremely long railcar may exceed the width of annular frame 12 so that the railcar may actually need to straddle platform 10. In this case, the extra long railcar can still be handled, but the central platform 10 must turn together with annular frame 12. When platform 10 must rotate, motor means 42 as shown in FIG. 5 is energized to drive gear 40 and drive shaft 38 to rotate the platform 10. Thus, once turntable 10, 12 is in alignment with the destination railway 25, the extra long railcar can simply travel over the still aligned railways on platform 10 and annular frame 12 to reach the destination railway 25.

By employing a separate central platform 10, a relatively large number of intermediate railways 18 can be achieved, twenty four as in the disclosed embodiments. With a large number of intermediate railway 1B, a central platform 10 along with annular frame 12, can accommodate a large number of railcars. In fact, twenty two railcars can be stacked onto annular frame 12, still leaving the central platform 10 and the annular frame 12 open to feeder railway 25A.

The third steel ran cross section of the left most of three rail wheel truck assemblies is shown in FIG. 7. A line from the electric motor to third rail web carries the electric power from the substation to the AC electric traction motors.

FIG. 8 shows a complete high strength structural concrete panel of 6000 p.s.i Cooper E 80 loading plus 60% impact. Underneath this panel is a prepared cementitious flow-filled poured mixture which reinforces the sub soils and provides a dead level based to support high strength structural concrete panels.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate a typical concrete panel abutment joint. The top half is formed to provide a basin to fill the space with a neoprene and composite proofing compound. FIG. 10 illustrates one of eight galvanized steel inserts per panel that are each placed into the concrete prior to pour and set to accommodate receiving steel fasten clips to hold the railroad rail into gauge required place and spacing.

FIGS. 11 and 12 shows a plan view of the high strength structural concrete panel formed at a time of pour to maintain the circuitous varying degrees to track curvature. There are some 20 plus 360° circle tracks which support the sequencing turntable assembly system.

It is to be appreciated that various modifications may be implemented with respect to the above described preferred embodiments. While the platform 10 and annular frame 12 are shown supported by rails and wheels, in some embodiments, the rails may be replaced with flat road bed over which support wheels travel. Alternatively, a number of small support wheels mounted along the outer and inner perimeter of the annular frame 12 or platform 10 can ride in V-shaped channels to support the structure. On the other hand supporting roller can be mounted in the ground and the platform and annular frame 12 roll over the rollers. While a powered truck is shown turning the annular frame 12, in other embodiments, the annular frame 12 can be turned by a ring gear circumscribing the outer perimeter of the annular frame 12.

Alternatively, a chain or cable system can engage a rack or groove encircling the annular frame 12. Also, the number and the angular orientation of the railways on and off the turntable can be varied, depending upon the desired size, capacity and strength of the system. Furthermore, in some embodiments the turntable will not be located inside of a building but centrally among a group of outbuildings or other facilities.

The integrated computer control system creates advances the efficiency of the system by identifying car types and track destinations. Moreover an operator uses real time visual display of train location with manifest as well as turntable operation. Computer aided dispatching capabilities is used to automatically classify and control the turntable mechanism. Moreover, computer use of position sensing devices assures that no car or portion of a car is spanning a moveable segment of the turntable before permitting the turntable to rotate. Further, the system operates the mechanism to rotate the turntable to the proper target track and ensures that the rails are properly aligned. The system also enhances safety by indicating to operators, drivers and engineers when it is safe to move. The system also provides an interlock adjacent to the turntable to permit flexibility in providing main line locomotives and long haul trans access to the turntable.

In an example, first the system identifies the car type and track destination by utilizing an automatic equipment identifier (AEI) type reader at the car entrance so that data is directly linked to the computer control system via communications cable, fiber optic or radio link.

Second, there is a real time visual display for operation of the turntable. An overview screen of the turntable is displayed showing train and car positions on the turntable and its approaches (inbound inspection) and it's feeding tracks. All signal aspects are displayed as well as other device states and sensor status. This screen is also display any alarms or advisories from the field. This system also provides “blue flag” protection to prevent misroutes and track workers. (A blue flag on a train designates that workers are on, under or between moving parts, and that the train cannot be moved except in certain circumstance). A second tabular display is provided that displays the car classification priority, and car locations on each track, much like a hump list in a hump classification yard. The dispatcher positions the turntable based on information from the classification list. According to an alternative embodiment, this process is computer automated. According to another alternative, the process is remotely operated. The turntable can only be reposition only if the system provides the operator with a clear status, that all cars are clear, sensors and signal aspects being observed and that track alignment and turntable are aligned and turntable locked. A third display provides the departure track status and the schedule priority and what/how many more cars are required to finish the train. According to this Example, the display is windows based which provides the operator with drag and drop capability. The operator-dispatcher has a closed circuit display to monitor the activities of the train, crews, pin pullers, and track cars and crews.

The Computer aids in dispatching. The Real Time Turntable display is integrated with the mainline Computer Aided Dispatch system to allow the operator to see inbound trains as well as coordinate outbound departures. By utilizing a non-intrusive detector system to sense car location, each track on each segment of the turntable can be assured that neither a car nor a mobile railcar mover such as a Trackmobile® is spanning two moveable portions of the turntable. Non-intrusive detectors such as radar, ultrasonic or infrared are a simple, reliable and cost effective way to detect the movement of vehicles over a track. Each detecting device transmits the required data to a vital micro-processor unit either through serial communications or by way of discrete I/O. The method of data transmission is largely dependent upon the detection device a controller processes the information delivered from the presence detectors and, combined with information from each of the other detectors, either permits or prevents the turntable from spinning.

The turntable is rotated to the desired target track. To ensure that the turntable rotates to the desired target track, full integration is required between the computer control system and a wayside alignment sub-system. Each track on the stationary (land) side of the turntable is numbered in a logical manner to expedite train movements in and out of the yard. The moveable rings of the turntable are likewise be numbered from 1 to 24. To enable automatic spin and align, once a car is shoved onto a track on the turntable, an inductive loop is used to indicate to the office the track number the car is occupying. The manifest information for that car is known to the system and the destination track identified. Conditions permitting, the table rotates to the targeted track. When the table reaches the target track, an indication to the Trackmobile® that the destination track is reached and it is safe to shove the car off of the table to the track will be delivered. Identifying each track is accomplished with vital proximity or position detectors which are arranged to provide a unique input when the tracks are aligned. It is understood that access and egress from each track is monitored and identified in this manner. Logic in the computer control system economizes movement of the table to minimize the degree of rotation required for car disembarkment.

It is also important to ensure that the rails on the target track are properly aligned. Before delivering an indication to the locomotive or Trackmobile® that it is safe to proceed, all rails on the target track are properly aligned within a precise tolerance. To achieve this goal, proximity sensors are used just as for track identification. The proximity sensors report to the same vital Object Controller as used to detect track occupancy. From the vital Object Controller, the data from the sensors are delivered to the computer control system.

Similarly, it is important to prevent the turntable from rotating while moving cars. A microprocessor such as the MicroLok Il® vital processor, processes the data received from each of the Object Controllers situated around the turntable and comes to a logical conclusion on whether it is safe to allow the turntable to rotate. Radio transmission by the Tracknobile® is sent to the MicroLok 11® which will indicate if the Traclcmobile® is in motion or stationary. When it is safe, a discrete output from the MicroLok II® enables the operating mechanism to rotate the table. If the processor determines that there is a safety issue on the table, it disables the table operating mechanism.

Once the safety issue is addressed, the system provides an indication that it is safe to move. Delivery of indications to the Trackmobile or locomotive are accomplished in two ways: (a) Trackmobiles receive an indication from within the cab which will designate to them when it is safe to proceed or when to stop. The signal is delivered via radio from a vital MicroLok II processor to the individually addressed Trackmobile® on the turntable. In a more advanced application, the Trackmobile® is equipped to display track position and destination or other dynamic yard information indicators.

Indications to the Trackmobiles® is enabled irregardless of their position on or off the track.

Locomotives proceed onto or across the turntable only on a signal indication or by permission transmitted from the control dispatcher. To secure the safety of the train or locomotive, no other vehicle may occupy the turntable when a train or locomotive is occupying a turntable track. Before allowing a signal to be displayed onto the turntable, all tracks must be vacant and the turntable must be properly aligned, and secured from moving.

In order to expedite train moves and to provide flexibility for moving on and off the turntable, vital processor interlocking are provided, which are integrated into the computer control system. Each interlocking is furnished with wayside components including switch machines and state of the art LED signals. Each interlocking has local control capabilities to allow manual operation in the event of disruption of communication or computer control.

Many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise then as specifically described. The preferred embodiments described herein detail for illustrative purposes are subject to many variations in structure and design. It should be emphasized, however, that the present invention is not limited to the particular sequencing turntable shown and described. Rather, the principles of the present invention can be used with a variety of sequencing turntable configurations and structural arrangements. It is understood that various omissions, substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstance may suggest or render expedient, but is intended to cover the application or implementation without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims of the present invention.

Indeed, this invention may be embodied in other forms or carried out in other ways without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present disclosure is therefore to be considered as in all respects illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended Claims, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency are intended to be embraced therein.