Title:
System, method, and apparatus for railroad turnout and derail lift frog
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A railroad turnout lift frog has a combination tread and flange bearing design that uses two separate castings to form the lift frog and securely bolt it to the main rail. The lift frog allows for a continuous, unbroken mainline track and also has built-in guarding for a safer move.



Inventors:
Hein, Russell R. (Denison, TX, US)
Roberts Jr., Robert C. (Talladega, AL, US)
Weaver, Brian (Burlington, KY, US)
Application Number:
11/175534
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
07/06/2005
Assignee:
Progress Rail Services Corp.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01B7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LE, MARK T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bracewell LLP (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A system for crossing a train on a side track over a main track, the system comprising: a plurality of railroad ties; a main rail having a continuous beam mounted to the ties; a side rail mounted to the ties and crossing the main rail, the side rail being divided into a toe segment and a heel segment that are located on opposite sides of the main rail; and a frog having a toe and a heel mounted to the main rail, the toe being aligned with and secured to the toe segment and the heel being aligned with and secured to the heel segment.

2. A system according to claim 1, a tie plate is mounted to each tie adjacent the frog, and the toe and heel maintain contact with the tie plates mounted to each of the ties over which the toe and heel pass, respectively.

3. A system according to claim 1, wherein the main track has another rail, and further comprising a frog guard mounted adjacent said another rail for retaining a train in a proper lateral position with respect to the frog, the frog guard comprising a guard bar brace and a guard bar mounted to the guard bar brace.

4. A system according to claim 1, both toe and heel have non-uniform cross-sections in a direction aligned with a line of the side rail.

5. A system according to claim 1, wherein a wheel of a train traveling on the side rail makes contact with the main rail as the wheel crosses from the toe to the heel.

6. A system according to claim 5, wherein only a flange of the wheel of the train makes contact with the main rail as the train crosses from the toe to the heel.

7. A system according to claim 5, wherein the wheel of the train simultaneously contacts both the toe and the main rail during at least a portion of the crossing of the main rail.

8. A system according to claim 5, wherein the wheel of the train simultaneously contacts both the heel and the main rail during at least a portion of the crossing of the main rail.

9. A system according to claim 5, wherein the wheel of the train simultaneously contacts all three of the toe, the main rail, and the heel during at least a portion of the crossing of the main rail.

10. A system according to claim 1, wherein each of the toe and the heel has a flangeway for accommodating flanges on train wheels.

11. A system according to claim 1, wherein the toe has an inclined surface and a guard, and the guard and portions of the inclined surface are elevated above a top of the continuous rail.

12. A system according to claim 11, wherein a flangeway of the toe extends continuously between the inclined surface and the continuous beam, and the flangeway has approximately a same vertical depth throughout a length thereof.

13. A system according to claim 12, wherein the guard has a greater length than the inclined surface, such that the inclined surface terminates in length before the guard terminates.

14. A system according to claim 1, wherein the heel has a flangeway that declines to gradually lower the wheel onto a surface of the heel and the heel segment.

15. A system according to claim 1, wherein only a guard of the heel is elevated above a top of the continuous beam, and a contact surface of the heel is a same vertical height as the continuous beam and the heel segment.

16. A frog for crossing a train on a side track over a continuous beam of a main track, the frog comprising: a toe having an inclined surface, a flangeway located adjacent the inclined surface for accommodating a flange on a train wheel, and a guard located adjacent the inclined surface opposite the flangeway for retaining the train wheel on the inclined surface, the toe being adapted to align with and mount to the side track and receive the train wheel from the side track to lift the train wheel over the continuous beam; a heel having a declined surface, a flangeway located adjacent the declined surface for accommodating the flange on the train wheel, and a guard located adjacent the flangeway for retaining the train wheel on the declined surface, the toe being adapted to align with and mount to the side track and receive the train wheel from the toe and transition the train wheel to the side track; and both the toe and the heel have non-uniform cross-sections in a direction aligned with a line of the side track.

17. A frog according to claim 16, further comprising a frog guard mounted adjacent another rail of the side track, the frog guard comprising a guard bar brace and a guard bar mounted to the guard bar brace.

18. A frog according to claim 16, wherein the toe has an inclined surface, and the toe guard and portions of the inclined surface are elevated above a top of the continuous beam.

19. A frog according to claim 18, wherein the toe flangeway extends continuously between the inclined surface and the continuous beam, and the flangeway has approximately a same vertical depth throughout a length thereof.

20. A frog according to claim 18, wherein the toe guard has a greater length than the inclined surface, such that the inclined surface terminates in length before the toe guard terminates.

21. A frog according to claim 16, wherein only the heel guard is elevated above a top of the continuous beam, and a contact surface of the heel is a same vertical height as the continuous beam.

22. 22.-27. (canceled)

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates in general to railway track sections and, in particular, to an improved system, method, and apparatus for a railroad turnout lift frog.

2. Description of the Related Art

A railway frog is employed where one track crosses another. For example, in a turnout, a switch will selectively switch a train from a main track to a turnout track. As the turnout track progresses in a curve from the switch, one of the rails must cross a rail of the main track. The junction assembly at such crossing is called a frog. If two tracks cross each other, four frogs are required, one at each intersection of one rail with another.

There are a number of different types of frogs. One type, referred to as a spring frog, has a fixed wing rail and a movable wing rail. The wing rails converge toward each other in a central area of the frog, and then diverge from each other. If a casting, a point member is located between the diverging portions of the wing rails. The point member has point rails on an end opposite the point that are joined to standard rails of the turn out and main track. A spring biases the movable rail against one side of the point member. The flange of a railcar wheel progressing from the main track onto the turnout enters between the movable rail and the point member, spreading them apart from each other. The tread of the wheel passes from the fixed wing rail onto the point. Similarly, when traversing from the turnout back onto the main track, the tread of the railcar wheel moves from the point onto the fixed wing rail.

In both cases, the tread crosses a gap between the point member and the fixed wing rail, this gap being provided for receiving wheel flanges of railcars that are passing through the frog on the main track. The gap increases the contact pressure of the wheel against the point and the fixed wing rail because the tread will not be fully supported on steel as it passes over the gap. This creates repetitive excessive loads on part of the fixed wing rail and point member that cause them to wear more than other portions of the frog.

The point member is generally formed of austenitic manganese steel because of its ability to work harden under impact loads and its ability to be repaired by welding. The fixed wing rail of the spring frog can be made of conventional carbon steel as normally used in conventional rails, or the wing portion can be integral to the cast point of austenitic manganese steel. Once the wing portion wears to the point, it is not economical to repair, and the entire casting may be replaced. Replacing an entire casting is a time-consuming and expensive task. A rail made of austenitic manganese steel would be too expensive for the lengthy fixed wing rail.

In a bolted rigid frog, neither of the wing rails is movable. A flangeway is located on each side of the point member. Consequently, a gap must be traversed each time the tread of a railcar wheel passes between the point member and one of the wing rails. The wing rails of bolted rigid frogs are also formed with rails of conventional rail steel. Consequently, they also tend to wear in the areas that are contacted by the railcar wheel adjacent the point. A railbound frog is rigid with a manganese wing integral to the point. The impact areas can be repaired to a certain point. However, every subsequent repair shortens the casting's life, and replacement is costly.

Typically, railroad turnout frogs are the highest maintenance item in a turnout. The flangeway or gap in the frog is necessary to allow the wheels of a train to cross a rail. When the wheels cross the gap they generate impacts that adversely affect the frog, wheels, and the track structure. Although each of the foregoing designs is workable, an improved design that further reduces the railroad maintenance would be desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of a system, method, and apparatus for a railroad turnout lift frog allows for a continuous, unbroken mainline track. A combination of a solid, self-guarded, tread and flange bearing design uses two separate castings are used to form the lift frog and securely bolt it to the main rail. The castings may be manufactured from manganese steel. The present invention also has built-in guarding for a safer move. In one embodiment, the present invention is well suited for low speed turnouts that are necessary for equipment or bad order car set out tracks, or an industrial siding with limited use.

The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art, in view of the following detailed description of the present invention, taken in conjunction with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the manner in which the features and advantages of the invention, as well as others which will become apparent are attained and can be understood in more detail, more particular description of the invention briefly summarized above may be had by reference to the embodiment thereof which is illustrated in the appended drawings, which drawings form a part of this specification. It is to be noted, however, that the drawings illustrate only an embodiment of the invention and therefore are not to be considered limiting of its scope as the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of a lift frog constructed in accordance with the present invention and shown installed on main and side tracks;

FIG. 2 is a sectional end view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional end view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a sectional end view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a sectional end view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a sectional end view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a sectional end view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a sectional end view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a side view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken from an inside perspective relative to the main rail; and

FIG. 10 is a side view of the frog of FIG. 1 taken from an outside perspective relative to the main rail.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a main track 21 and a side track 23 are shown crossing each other. For ease of reference, the two rails of main track 21 are labeled outside main rail 21a and inside main rail 21b. Similarly, the two rails of side track 23 are described as outside side rail 23a, and inside side rail 23b. For simplicity, the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1 depicts the inside side rail 23b crossing the inside main rail 21b from left to right. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention is readily adaptable for crossings by other rails in both directions as is commonly known in the art of railroad frogs.

A frog 31 is located at the illustrated crossing to accommodate the transition of a train on the side track 23 past the main track 21. The main track 21 extends continuously through the frog 31. However, the inside side rail 23b is segmented into two separate pieces 23b1, 23b2 that are separated by both the frog 31 and the unbroken inside main rail 21b.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 9, and 10, frog 31 comprises only two components: a front end portion or toe 33 and a rear end portion or heel 35. Unlike some prior art designs (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 328,815), the present invention does not require a multi-tie bed plate or a double wedge-shaped bar to support its toe 33. Frog 31 only utilizes the conventional tie plates 32 (FIGS. 9 and 10) that are used by rails 21, 23 and are no larger than the ties 34 themselves as shown.

The present invention includes raised guards 24 that are integral to toe 33 and to heel 35. This design is similar to a self-guarded frog. This feature is desirable in that the back of the wheel is used to positively guide the flange over the opened flangeway. A guard 26 comprising a guard bar brace and guard bar 28 (FIG. 2) is also positioned adjacent to the outside rail 23a to aid the wheel flange through the heel 35.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-8, a sequential series of sectional end views of a wheel progressing through frog 31 is shown. In FIG. 2, both wheels 41, 43 on a railcar axle 45 are shown. However, for simplicity, the other figures depict only the wheel 43 that progresses through the frog 31. The tread 42 of wheel 41 rides on rail 23a and its flange 44 is guarded by raised guard 24 as shown. Wheel 41 substantially maintains this configuration throughout the transition of wheel 43 through frog 31.

As wheel 43 transitions from rail 23b1 to toe 33 of frog 31 (FIG. 1), the tread 46 of wheel 43 contacts and is elevated on an incline 47 on toe 33 such that its flange 48 is positioned in a flangeway 49 (right side of FIG. 2). Portions of both incline 47 and guard 24 are elevated above (i.e., vertical height) the top of rail 21b. The flangeway 49 extends continuously between incline 47 and rail 21b and has approximately the same vertical depth throughout its longitudinal length. Guard 24 has a greater length than incline 47, such that incline 47 terminates before guard 24 (FIG. 6). FIG. 3 depicts wheel 43 transitioning to the left and being further elevated, as indicated by the arrows, in preparation to lift wheel 43 over rail 21b. In FIG. 4, wheel 43 has been elevated sufficiently such that flange 48 is able to clear rail 21b as wheel 43 continues to move left via frog 31. At this point, wheel 43 may make contact with both toe 33 and rail 21b, as shown.

By the sequence of events shown in FIG. 5, wheel 43 begins to transition to heel 35 of frog 31. For a brief moment during this transition, wheel 43 may make contact with all three elements: toe 33, rail 21b, and heel 35. After wheel 43 (i.e., flange 48) is fully supported by heel 35 (FIGS. 6 and 7) on surface 53, flange 48 of wheel 43 is received by a flangeway 51 (FIG. 8) formed in heel 35. Flangeway 51 declines to gradually lower the tread 46 of wheel 43 onto rail 23b2 (FIG. 1), until the wheels 41, 43 completely transition to track 23. The only portion of heel 35 elevated above the top of rail 21b is its guard 24. Surface 53 is the same vertical height as rails 21b and 23b2 to provide a smoother transition for the tread 46 of wheel 43.

In one application, the frog 31 is designed to be used in a system for crossing a train on a side track 23 over a main track 21. One embodiment of the system comprises a plurality of railroad ties 34, a main rail 21b having a continuous beam mounted to the ties 34, and a side rail 23b mounted to the ties 34 and crossing the main rail 21b, the side rail 23b being divided into a toe segment 23b1 and a heel segment 23b2 that are located on opposite sides of the main rail 21b. The frog 31 has a toe 33 and a heel 35 mounted to the main rail 21b, with the toe 33 being aligned with and secured to the toe segment 23b1 and the heel 35 being aligned with and secured to the heel segment 23b2. Both the toe 33 and heel 35 have non-uniform cross-sections in a direction aligned with a line of the side rail 23b.

A tie plate 32 is mounted to each tie 34 adjacent the frog 31, and the toe 33 and heel 35 maintain contact with the tie plates 32 mounted to each of the ties 34 over which the toe and heel pass, respectively. A frog guard 26 may be mounted adjacent rail 23a for retaining a train in a proper lateral position with respect to the frog 31. The frog guard may comprise a guard bar brace 26 and a guard bar 28 mounted to the guard bar brace 26. The wheel 43 on rail 23b makes contact with the main rail 21b as the wheel 43 crosses from the toe 33 to the heel 35. However, only a flange 48 of the wheel 43 makes contact with the main rail 21b while crossing from the toe 33 to the heel 35. In addition, the wheel 43 simultaneously contacts both the toe 33 and the main rail 21b during at least a portion of the crossing of the main rail 21b. Moreover, the wheel 43 may simultaneously contact both the heel 35 and the main rail 21b during at least a portion of the crossing of the main rail 21b. Furthermore, the wheel 43 may simultaneously contact all three of the toe 33, the main rail 21b, and the heel 35 during at least a portion of the crossing of the main rail 21b.

In other embodiments, the toe 33 has an inclined surface 47 and a guard 24, and the guard 24 and portions of the inclined surface 47 are elevated above a top of the continuous rail 21b. The flangeway 47 of the toe 33 extends continuously between the inclined surface 47 and the continuous beam 21b, and the flangeway 47 has approximately a same vertical depth throughout a length thereof. The guard 24 has a greater length than the inclined surface 47, such that the inclined surface 47 terminates in length before the guard 24 terminates. The heel flangeway 51 declines to gradually lower the wheel 43 onto a surface 53 of the heel 35 and the heel segment. Alternatively, only a guard 24 of the heel 35 is elevated above a top of the continuous beam 21b, and a contact surface 53 of the heel 35 is a same vertical height as the continuous beam 21b and the heel segment.

While the invention has been shown or described in only some of its forms, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible to various changes without departing from the scope of the invention.