Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ben_issacs

Point (switch) heaters in Chicago.

Recommended Posts

ben_issacs

Folks, 

I see on the local news that the very heavy snowfalls in the Eastern USA have required the use of point (switch) heaters on the railways in Chicago.

An illustration shows one operating, it is said to be gas fired, but the orange flames don't seem to be the usual blue flames that one gets when burning gas.

Now, how are these heaters ignited?

I've seen similar installations in parts of Japan, these all seem to be use electricity to heat the points.

Regards, 

Bill, 

Melbourne.

 

Share this post


Link to post
bill937ca
Socimi

88 Miles per Hour!

 

s104682408.JPG

https://www.wptv.com/news/national/when-its-this-cold-chicago-sets-its-train-tracks-on-fire

 

Jokes apart,

In Italy we use rather less-spectacular electrically-based heating systems, known as "scaldiglie" (a technical railway-only term that cannot be translated correctly in english, it means circa "something small that heats"), wich are electrical resistors between 5 and 10 meters long and 2 to 5 cm wide and are applied on the side of the rails.

When they're powered, they dissipate electricity into heat, wich melts ice and snow and prevents the switch from getting stuck.

 

This is a TV report from the italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Italian systems are nearly identical.

https://www.tvsvizzera.it/tvs/ferrovie-svizzere_pronti-gli-scambi-ferroviari-autoriscaldanti/42812832

 

Share this post


Link to post
chadbag

Note in Chicago it is not snow and ice, but rather extreme cold they are dealing with, as far as I understand it.   So called polar vortex of arctic air.   Extra cold causes extra contraction on the rails and points which messes things up, according to an article I read.  

 

It also mentioned both kerosene soaked rags and gas powered heating.  Maybe different parts of the system using different things and the videos seen are just the kerosene part.  

Share this post


Link to post
ben_issacs

Folks, 

Thanks for all that info, including the video clips.

Kero soaked rags burning!

Modern technology in action!

Interesting comment about the contraction of the rails in low temperature conditions.

I don't think that there is anywhere here in Australia that requires point heaters or anti-rail contraction action.

Some lines in parts of Vic., Tas. and NSW do get snow in the winter, but from photos that I've seen, nothing that requires point heaters or snow ploughs.

Regards, 

Bill. 

Melbourne.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
bill937ca
11 hours ago, Socimi said:

In Italy we use rather less-spectacular electrically-based heating systems, known as "scaldiglie" (a technical railway-only term that cannot be translated correctly in english, it means circa "something small that heats"), wich are electrical resistors between 5 and 10 meters long and 2 to 5 cm wide and are applied on the side of the rails.

When they're powered, they dissipate electricity into heat, wich melts ice and snow and prevents the switch from getting stuck.

 

I don't think Italy gets the extreme cold North America is getting. Too far south.  Temperatures at night have been -20C to -30C with windchills in the -35C and colder. Frostbite in minutes.  It always been a problem when it gets this cold. Track contracts and joints come apart. Overhead contracts and if there is not enough slack it breaks. A prime example was the days of streetcars in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Modern electronics does like the extreme cold and quite often fails.

Edited by bill937ca

Share this post


Link to post
katoftw
2 hours ago, ben_issacs said:

Folks, 

Thanks for all that info, including the video clips.

Kero soaked rags burning!

Modern technology in action!

Interesting comment about the contraction of the rails in low temperature conditions.

I don't think that there is anywhere here in Australia that requires point heaters or anti-rail contraction action.

Some lines in parts of Vic., Tas. and NSW do get snow in the winter, but from photos that I've seen, nothing that requires point heaters or snow ploughs.

Regards, 

Bill. 

Melbourne.

 

 

We get the oppoosite. Extreme heat causing expansion and buckles.

Share this post


Link to post
bill937ca
52 minutes ago, katoftw said:

We get the oppoosite. Extreme heat causing expansion and buckles.

We get that too.  Life living near the Great Lakes.

Share this post


Link to post
ben_issacs

Folks, 

On the rail expansion-contraction subject, I've noticed during my travels in Japan, sliding expansion joints on some lines.

These are usually the lines that don't have high-speed traffic thereon, local railways etc.,there could be some safety problems with these joints at high speeds.

Interesting comment from Bill937ca on rail heat expansion in Canada, something that I wouldn't have expected from that country.

We here in Aus. visualise Canucks all marching around up to the eyes in fur coats and hats.

But, there ain't much interchange of info. between our two countries even though we are both members of the British Commonwealth.

Perhaps because Canadians don't play cricket and we don't play ice hockey!

Regards, 

Bill,

Melbourne.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Socimi
On 2/1/2019 at 11:25 PM, bill937ca said:

I don't think Italy gets the extreme cold North America is getting. Too far south.  Temperatures at night have been -20C to -30C with windchills in the -35C and colder. 

 

Some northern regions do, like Valle d' Aosta and Trentino Alto-Adige and the northen parts of Piemonte and Lombardia, wich have a climate comparable to the one of Switzerland or Austria.

In the regions located in the Po river plain (wich comprises the mid and southern parts of Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto, Friuli and the whole Emilia-Romagna) and  the ones that face or are near the Adriatic sea (Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Umbria), the temperatures are less extreme, comparable to those of the Greater Tokyo Area (in the night ranging from -7 to -2), wich is still enough to cause a lot of problems anyway.

It doesn't snow. It ices.

 

Instead, those who face the Tirrenian sea, are much less likely to get these low temperatures, and often do not see snow in the winter (but when they do, it's havoc).

The isles (Sicilia, Sardegna) and the far southern regions (Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia) have a very hot climate, comparable to that of the nearby (on the other side of the mediterranean sea) Tunisia and Algeria.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Mappa_dei_climi_Italiani_elaborata_secondo_il_sistema_di_Wladimir_Koppen_(fonte-_WorldClim.org).png

 

These are today's averages, wich are a bit hotter than what they should be, as recently there was a semi-periodical influx of hot winds coming from Lybia and Egypt.

10/15 years ago, it was far colder.

Edited by Socimi

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×