Title:
Railroad switch stand having flood protection structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flood protection structure for supporting a switch stand comprises a flood protection base, and at least one flood protection prop upstanding from the flood protection base. The flood protection prop is sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water. The flood protection structure further comprises an interface mounted over the at least one flood protection prop for attachment to a base of the switch stand.



Inventors:
Sargis, Isaac (Morton Grove, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/805434
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/23/2007
Assignee:
United Steel and Fasteners
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
246/406, 246/489
International Classes:
B61L5/02; B61L5/06; B61L11/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MCCARRY JR, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A flood protection structure for supporting a switch stand, the flood protection structure comprising: a flood protection base; at least one flood protection prop upstanding from the flood protection base, the flood protection prop sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water; and an interface mounted over the at least one flood protection prop for attachment to a base of the switch stand.

2. The flood protection structure of claim 1, wherein the interface comprises a welded connection.

3. The flood protection structure of claim 1, wherein the interface comprises a flat plate bolted to the base of the switch stand.

4. The flood protection structure of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of flood protection anchoring supports, wherein the flood protection base rests on the plurality of flood protection anchoring supports.

5. The flood protection structure of claim 1, wherein the at least one flood protection prop comprises a tubular shaft cover upstanding from the middle of the flood protection base, the tubular shaft cover having an upper end that supports the base of the switch stand.

6. The flood protection structure of claim 5, wherein the at least one flood protection prop further comprises a plurality of flood protection rods upstanding from the flood protection base, each of the plurality of flood protection rods having a lower end and an upper end.

7. The flood protection structure of claim 6, wherein the lower ends of the plurality of flood protection rods are disposed at a periphery of the flood protection base, and the upper ends of the plurality of flood protection rods support the base of the switch stand.

8. The flood protection structure of claim 1, wherein the flood protection base has a hole in the middle thereof and the flood protection prop is secured to the flood protection base in the hole.

9. The flood protection structure of claim 1, wherein the flood protection prop is secured to the flood protection base through a welded connection.

10. The flood protection structure of claim 1, wherein the flood protection prop has a flat lower surface that is bolted to the flood protection base.

11. The flood protection structure of claim 1, wherein the flood protection base and the at least one flood protection prop are each independently made of a material selected from a group consisting of wood, steel, concrete or a combination thereof.

12. A switch stand having a flood protection structure, the switch stand comprising: a switch stand base; a housing resting on the switch stand base; a shaft mounted for rotational movement within the housing; and a flood protection structure, the flood protection structure comprising a flood protection base; at least one flood protection prop upstanding from the flood protection base, the flood protection prop sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water; and an interface mounted over the at least one flood protection prop for attachment to the switch stand base.

13. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the interface comprises a welded connection.

14. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the interface comprises a flat plate bolted to the switch stand base.

15. The switch stand of claim 12, further comprising a plurality of flood protection anchoring supports, wherein the flood protection base rests on the plurality of flood protection anchoring supports.

16. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the at least one flood protection prop comprises a tubular shaft cover upstanding from the middle of the flood protection base, the tubular shaft cover having an upper end that supports the switch stand base.

17. The switch stand of claim 16, wherein the at least one flood protection prop further comprises a plurality of flood protection rods upstanding from the flood protection base, each of the plurality of flood protection rods having a lower end and an upper end.

18. The switch stand of claim 17, wherein the lower ends of the plurality of flood protection rods are disposed at a periphery of the flood protection base, and the upper ends of the plurality of flood protection rods support the switch stand base.

19. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the flood protection base has a hole in the middle thereof and the flood protection prop is secured to the flood protection base in the hole.

20. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the flood protection prop is secured to the flood protection base through a welded connection.

21. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the flood protection prop has a flat lower surface that is bolted to the flood protection base.

22. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the flood protection base and the at least one flood protection prop are each independently made of a material selected from a group consisting of wood, steel, concrete or a combination thereof.

23. The switch stand of claim 12, further comprising a lever arm affixed to the shaft.

24. The switch stand of claim 23, wherein the lever arm comprises an elongated bar.

25. The switch stand of claim 23, wherein the lever arm comprises a handle grip.

26. The switch stand of claim 23, wherein the lever arm comprises a handle shovel.

27. The switch stand of claim 23, further comprising a first cradle upstanding from the switch stand base; and a second cradle upstanding from the switch stand base, wherein the first cradle and the second cradle are separate from the housing.

28. The switch stand of claim 27, further comprising a locking device mounted on each of the first and second cradles that secure the lever arm to one of the first and second cradles.

29. The switch stand of claim 16, further comprising: an extension link connected to the shaft, the extension link disposed within the tubular shaft cover; a spindle connected to the extension link and projecting beneath the housing; and a connecting rod attached to the spindle and configured for axial movement relative to the shaft.

30. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the shaft is rotatable manually.

31. The switch stand of claim 12, wherein the shaft is rotatable by an electrical motor.

32. The switch stand of claim 31, wherein the electrical motor is powered by a solar cell assembly.

33. A switch stand comprising: a switch stand base; a switch means for switching rails of a railroad track, the switch means resting on the switch stand base; a handle means for actuating the switch means, the handle means movable from a first position to a second position; an actuator means coupled to the handle means; and a flood protection means, the flood protection means comprising a flood protection base; at least one flood protection prop upstanding from the flood protection base, the flood protection prop sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water; and an interface mounted over the at least one flood protection prop for attachment to the switch stand base.

34. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the interface comprises a welded connection.

35. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the interface comprises a flat plate bolted to the switch stand base.

36. The switch stand of claim 33, further comprising a plurality of flood protection anchoring supports, wherein the flood protection base rests on the plurality of flood protection anchoring supports.

37. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the at least one flood protection prop comprises a tubular shaft cover upstanding from the middle of the flood protection base, the tubular shaft cover having an upper end that supports the switch stand base.

38. The switch stand of claim 37, wherein the at least one flood protection prop further comprises a plurality of flood protection rods upstanding from the flood protection base, each of the plurality of flood protection rods having a lower end and an upper end.

39. The switch stand of claim 38, wherein the lower ends of the plurality of flood protection rods are disposed at a periphery of the flood protection base, and the upper ends of the plurality of flood protection rods support the switch stand base.

40. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the flood protection base has a hole in the middle thereof and the flood protection prop is secured to the flood protection base in the hole.

41. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the flood protection prop is secured to the flood protection base through a welded connection.

42. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the flood protection prop has a flat lower surface that is bolted to the flood protection base.

43. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the flood protection base and the at least one flood protection prop are each independently made of a material selected from a group consisting of wood, steel, concrete or a combination thereof.

44. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the shaft is rotatable manually.

45. The switch stand of claim 33, wherein the shaft is rotatable by an electrical motor.

46. The switch stand of claim 45, wherein the electrical motor is powered by a solar cell assembly.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to railroad switching stands and particularly to railroad switch stands having a flood protection structure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Railroad yards generally have manually and/or automatically operated switching devices for switching railroad cars from one track to another. These switching devices are well-known in the art and have been described for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,652,849 and 4,337,914, both of which are incorporated by reference herein.

Generally, a pair of stationary rails and a pair of switching rails are arranged so that the switching rails can be moved to keep a train on a main track or to divert the train to a branch track. The switching rails are moved by a switching device which includes a connecting rod that extends beneath the tracks to connections with the switching rails.

The switching devices typically include a switch stand to one side of the rails that can be operated either manually or automatically. When operated by hand, the switch is moved to a switch point by throwing a lever arm 180 degrees. For example, a weighted lever arm lying horizontally on the ground or at the base of the switch stand is lifted and thrown 180 degrees to the opposite side of the switch stand where it rests again horizontally on the ground or switch stand base. The weight and horizontal position of the lever arm prevents bouncing and accidental repositioning of the switch which could cause derailment.

The switching devices typically are installed at one side of the railroad, so that the bottom of the unit housing rests near ground level. This configuration, however, exposes the switching devices to standing water in low-elevation environments or where there is flooding. Exposure to the standing water in turn may cause corrosion or other damage to the switching devices, reducing the life span of the same.

It is therefore one object of the present invention to significantly reduce the risk of damage caused by flooding near or around railroad switch stands.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one embodiment of the present invention, a flood protection structure for supporting a switch stand comprises a flood protection base, and at least one flood protection prop upstanding from the flood protection base. The flood protection prop is sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water. The flood protection structure further comprises an interface mounted over the at least one flood protection prop for attachment to a base of the switch stand.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a switch stand having a flood protection structure comprises a switch stand base, a housing resting on the switch stand base, and a shaft mounted for rotational movement within the housing. The switch stand further comprises a flood protection structure. The flood protection structure comprises a flood protection base, and at least one flood protection prop upstanding from the flood protection base. The flood protection prop is sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water. The flood protection structure further comprises an interface mounted over the at least one flood protection prop for attachment to the switch stand base.

According to yet another embodiment of the present invention, a switch stand comprises a switch stand base, and a switch means for switching rails of a railroad track. The switch means rests on the switch stand base. The switch stand further comprises a handle means for actuating the switch means. The handle means is movable from a first position to a second position. The switch stand also comprises an actuator means coupled to the handle means, and a flood protection means. The flood protection means comprises a flood protection base, and at least one flood protection prop upstanding from the flood protection base. The flood protection prop is sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water. The flood protection means further comprises an interface mounted over the at least one flood protection prop for attachment to the switch stand base.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a railroad switch stand with an angled and elongate handle;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the switch stand of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the switch stand of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a railroad switch stand;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation of the switch stand of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the switch stand of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a railroad switch stand with flood guard according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is another plan view of the railroad switch stand with flood guard of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a side view of a part section of the railroad switch stand with flood guard of FIG. 7; and

FIG. 10 is an illustration of a handle shovel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A conventional railway switch stand 2 is shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. The switch stand 2 is provided with a housing means 4 having an angled and elongate lever arm or handle 6 with a handle grip 8. A bar member extends from one side and is bent with two approximate right angles to define a closed area and a portion for grasping or gripping the handle. The handle 6 may be locked into a first position or a second position resting in elevated retaining means such as cradles 10a and 10b by locking means such as the locking devices 12a and 12b mounted on the cradles 10a and 10b of the switch stand base 14. Movement of the handle 6 from one position to the other operates to move a conventional connecting rod 16 secured by conventional means to a pair of switch points on a pair of alternative railroad tracks (not shown). When the handle 6 is in a first position resting in cradle the 10a, a train moves along one set of tracks, and in a second position in the cradle 10b, along a set of branch tracks. An optional shaft 18 extends upwardly from the housing 4 which has a signal 20 which moves with the switch operation to indicate the position of the tracks.

The switch stand 2 may be operated by a switchman releasing the locking devices 12a and 12b by pressure on the foot rest portions 12c and 12d whereby the handle 6 is moved from a first position at the cradle 10a to a second position at the cradle 10b. The locking devices 12a and 12b then lock the handle into its second position.

The handle 6 is mounted to a switch operating mechanism such as a drive shaft 22 by conventional means such as a toggle 24 and a toggle washer 24a. The switch operating mechanism shown comprises the drive shaft 22 which extends to an opposite end of the housing 4 by a conventional linkage such as a link 26 connected to a fork 28 which is connected to a spindle assembly 30. The spindle assembly 30 moves the connecting rod 16 via a crank 32.

As shown in FIG. 3, springs 26, which are activated upon removal of the handle 6 from its first position, facilitate automatic repositioning of the handle 6 in the second position.

The movement of the lever arm or handle in the conventional switch stand can be a completely manual operation. As shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, the switch stand 40 comprises a housing 42 having an angled and elongate lever arm or handle 44 with a handle grip 46. The locking device 48a holds the handle 44 in a first position in elevated retaining means such as the cradle 50a on the switch stand base 52 until released by pressure on the foot rest portion 48c. Upon release of the locking devices 48a and 48b, the handle can be manually moved to a second position in the elevated cradle 50b. The handle 44 is mounted to a drive shaft 54 by conventional means. The drive shaft 54 extends to an opposite end of the housing by conventional linkage which is connected to a spindle assembly 56. The spindle assembly 56 moves the connecting rod 58 via a crank 60. However, the entirely manual movement of the handle 44 will operate to move the connecting rod 58 which, in turn, moves the switch rails (not shown) from a first setting to a second setting.

In the conventional railroad switch stand, the handles can be conventional handles for railroad switch devices. The switch stand comprises the angled and elongate handle 6 or 44 which requires movement of less than 180 degrees from the handle's first position to its second position. In general, it is contemplated that the movement required to move the handle from a first position to a second position is about 120 degrees or less. Preferably, the handle is held in its resting, locked first or second position at an angle of from about 40 to 45 degrees from the ground on which the switchman is standing during operation of the switch. This angled handle position enables the switchman to avoid bending, stooping, and shoulder lifting in throwing the switch from one position to another, thus avoiding leg and back injuries.

Further, the arm is elongated to a length of about 36 inches or more from the fulcrum of the handle, for example, at the connection of the handle 6 to the drive shaft 22 in FIG. 3. This elongated handle design further operates to reduce injurious movement of the switchman during the switch throwing operation. Moreover, since the locking devices hold the handle in a resting, locked position, the handle of the switch stand of the invention need not be significantly weighted, that is, the handle or lever arm does not have to have weight added to keep the handle from bouncing or vibrating into another position as in the prior art. This reduction in weight adds to the ease of use of the switch stand and the avoidance of injuries. Also, the locking devices prevent accidental movement of the improved handle, such as from vibration of a train, which could cause derailment.

Now referring to FIGS. 7-10, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a railroad switch stand 80 comprises a switch stand base 92, a housing 82 resting on the switch stand base 92, and a shaft 97 mounted for rotational movement within the housing 82. The housing 82 has a lever arm or handle 84 with a handle grip 86. The lever arm or handle 84 preferably has a handle shovel 87. A locking device holds the handle 84 in a first position in elevated retaining means such as a cradle 80a on the switch stand base 92 until released by pressure on a foot rest portion 102. Upon release of the locking device, the handle 84 can be manually moved to a second position in an elevated cradle 80b. The handle 84 is mounted to a drive shaft 97 by conventional means 95. The drive shaft 97 extends to an opposite end of the housing 82 by conventional linkage such as a link 99 connected to a fork 93 which is connected to a spindle assembly 86. The spindle assembly 86 moves a connecting rod via a crank, which, in turn, moves the switch rails (not shown) from a first setting to a second setting. The shaft 97 can be rotated either manually or by an electrical motor.

Preferably, the railroad switch stand 80 is elevated by and rests on a flood protection structure 100. The flood protection structure 100 comprises a flood protection base 130, and at least one flood protection prop 120. The flood protection prop 120 rests on the flood protection base 130 and supports the switch stand base 92. The flood protection prop 120 is sufficient to extend above a level of expected standing water. The flood protection prop 120 may be secured to the flood protection base 130 in the middle thereof by conventional means, such as a welding connection, fasteners or a flat plate bolted to the flood protection base 130. The flood protection base 130 rests on a plurality of flood protection anchoring supports 150a and 150b.

The flood protection prop 120 comprises a tubular shaft cover 170 upstanding from the middle of the flood protection base 130. The tubular shaft cover 170 has an upper end that supports the switch stand base 92 and a lower end that is secured in the middle of the flood protection base 130. The flood protection prop 120 further comprises a plurality of flood protection rods 110a and 110b. The plurality of flood protection rods 110a and 110b upstands from the flood protection base 130. Each of the plurality of flood protection rods 110a and 110b has a lower end and an upper end. The lower ends of the plurality of flood protection rods 110a and 110b are disposed at a periphery of the flood protection base 130, and the upper ends of the plurality of flood protection rods 110a and 110b support the switch stand base 92.

Preferably, the flood protection base 130 has a hole 180 in the middle thereof and the flood protection prop 120 is secured to the flood protection base 130 in the hole 180. The flood protection prop 120 is preferably secured to the flood protection base 130 through a welded connection. Alternatively, the flood protection prop 120 may have a flat lower surface that is bolted to the flood protection base 130.

The switch stand having the flood protection base 130 further comprises an extension link 190 connected to the shaft 97 and a connecting rod 140. The extension link 190 is disposed within the tubular shaft cover 170. A spindle is connected to the extension link 190 and projects beneath the housing 82. The connecting rod 140 is attached to the spindle and configured for axial movement relative to the shaft 97.

The components of the flood protection structure 100, such as the flood protection base 130 and the at least one flood protection prop 120, can be made of wood, steel, concrete or other suitable types of material known in the art.

It is important to note that the flood protection structure 100 as described herein can be utilized with various switch stand configurations and types known in the art, including these described herein. For example, electrical railroad switch stands, solar-powered electrical railroad switch stands, or any other railroad switch stands known to one skilled in the art can be installed on the flood protection structure 100 as described in the above embodiments. Representative electrical railroad switch stands and solar-powered electrical railroad switch stands are described herein and in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,470,035 and 6,042,060 to Sargis, both of which are incorporated by reference herein.

While the invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments, other features may be included without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and that it be understood that it is the following claims, including all equivalents, that are intended to define the spirit and scope of this invention.