Fantasy Railroad Trip—The Horseshoe Curve Railroad Line
We ordinary people have the impression that the general railroad lines are straight through the tunnel and over the mountains. But did you see a railroad line with big angle of rotation, such as horseshoe curve railroad line? When mentioned in horseshoe curve railroad line, which we have to say is Norfolk Southern (NS) horseshoe curve railroad line in Pennsylvania, USA.
This horseshoe curve railroad line with a length of 2375 feet (724 meters), slope of 1.34% (13.4 ‰), built on a 9°15 ' curve. The radius of the curve railroad line is about 200 meters, and the altitude at the end of the curve railroad line is about 40 feet (10 meters).
There are three tracks on the horseshoe curve, using 136RE type of seamless rail (weight 136 lb/yd, about 67.5kg/m). Curve track is the key point and difficulty during the whole seamless rail, so we through strengthen the analysis of rail diseases and prevention can effectively prolong the life of the rail, reduce the number of rail replacement, furthermore save the maintenance cost of the vehicle and rail, reduce the energy consumption of train operation, reduce the wheel/rail vibration and noise. From a security point of view that strengthens the curve track diseases analysis and prevention can eliminate the security risks caused by diseased rail, reduce safety accident occurrence probability which caused by rail damage, then greatly improve the safety of the train running on the horseshoe curve railroad line.
In nowadays, there about 51 freight trains and 1 pair of passenger trains travelling between Pittsburgh and New York every day. If you count the local trains and helpers, the passed trains will reach more than 100.
This horseshoe curve railroad line was started to build at 1850 by Pennsylvania Railroad, after three years’ construction, be completed in 1854. Along with the railway company’s merger and split, the owner of this railroad line from Penn Central, Conrail to Norfolk Southern. Now it is the part of NS Railroad Company’s Pittsburgh line, also to be the only path to climb the Allegheny Mountains. This horseshoe curve railroad line was designated as National Historic Landmark in 1966, and also designated as National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 2004. There is a visitor center inside the horseshoe curve railroad line; the local government built a viewing platform and a museum for tourists to visit.
Today, we can find railroad lines like horseshoe curve everywhere in the world, not a unique engineering marvel also. But the important point of this horseshoe curve railroad line is that it was started building in 1850. In 160 years ago, there was not any large machinery, just using artificial power to hew out a horseshoe curve railroad line, enough to make it a great engineering marvel.
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