If you weren’t specifically seeking out information on high-speed rail (HSR) construction, and you weren’t searching for “track renewal train” and other obscure keywords, you wouldn’t actually know about the status of HSR.
But that’s why you follow my blog – I’ll keep you updated.
Right now, crews are working 10 hour days, working 10 days on, and 5 days off* in Carlinville, Plainview (photo), and Alton, Illinois, to remove existing track and wooden ties and replacing them with concrete ties and continuously welded rail (CWR).
The Harsco Track Technologies Track Renewal Train 909 (TRT-909) does the following:
- Picks up and carries out of the way old rail
- Removes old wooden ties with a robot arm
- Digs up ballast
- Places new concrete ties
- Drops in new rail and heats it so it can be “continuously welded”
- Clamps new rail to new ties
What the beast looks like from afar. Photo of Union Pacific’s TRT-909 in Aldine, Texas, by Matthew Holman.
Thankfully Illinois doesn’t have a growing anti-rail political force like Ohio, California, Florida, or Wisconsin. All of these states have Republican candidates running for governor who say they will stop the train in its tracks. Read more about this unfortunate situation in The New York Times.
*This information comes from a secondary source. I hope to get in touch with someone who knows more about the work.