How Are Railcars Moved?
When asked, “how are railcars moved”, the answer is typically, “a locomotive”. The railroad industry uses locomotives to move commodities and freight to and from customer facilities. The railroad acts as a shipping service, transporting railcars to anywhere that has access to rail. These customers include ship loading terminals, grain processing plants, ethanol plants, plastics manufacturers, mining companies, and many more. Once the railroad has delivered a string of railcars to a facility, how does the facility then move the string to load or unload their commodity?
There are several options available. One potential option for a customer is to get a yard locomotive. This is a locomotive dedicated to moving cars around the rail only at a particular facility. These can be very good for moving a large string, but the initial investment cost and maintenance and operating costs can be very high. Also, for longer strings, smooth railcar control is a challenge. Another potential option is for a customer to get a road rail vehicle. These are like small locomotives that have flanged rail wheels and rubber tires to drive on the rail. These have a smaller initial investment and lower operating and maintenance costs than a yard locomotive but can be limited in their pushing/pulling capability. The best alternative to these track mounted railcar movers is a Calbrandt Railcar Indexer or Railcar Progressor.
The Best Alternative Railcar Mover
Calbrandt Railcar Indexers and Railcar Progressors are fixed mount railcar movers that are located parallel to the rail either next to or below a railcar. Each style has a traveling carriage with a lever arm, known as a dog, that engages the railcar bogie frame, axle, coupler, or hook point. They can be configured with single direction or reversing capability, continuous or stop/start movement, and at loading or unloading facilities. Calbrandt even has Indexers that can service two parallel rails or curved track sections. Typically, the carriage stroke length is the length of one railcar, but much longer strokes can be accommodated. Each indexer or progressor is specifically engineered for any unique application.
Calbrandt provides a variety of distinct styles of railcar mover:
· Low Dog Indexer
· Low Dog Progressor
· High Dog Indexer
· Axle Indexer
· Axle Progressor
· Cantilever Indexer
· Coupler Arm Indexer
· Body Pin Indexer
Advantages of Calbrandt Railcar Movers
· Safety. Operators do not need to be near a railcar when the Railcar Mover is hooking up or moving a railcar.
· Low operating costs.
· Minimal maintenance costs. No diesel engine maintenance or refueling.
· Electric motors are the prime mover, so no exhaust emissions.
· Always present at the load out or receiving area. Never an occasion where it is driven off to another location in the facility and the operation must wait for availability.
· Ease of use. Simple push button station, HMI, or remote-control operation.
· Fewer operators required. One operator can control the railcar mover and other equipment at the same time.
· PLC controlled. The control system can be interlocked with existing controls to ensure that load spouts and other equipment is clear of the railcars prior to movement.
· Quiet operation.
· Can be designed for NEC Hazardous Duty Locations.
Calbrandt also manufactures many different Railcar Hopper Gate Openers, including Portable Gate Openers, Rail Mounted Gate Openers, Medium and Heavy Duty Gate Openers (for opening gates on the fly), Remote Operated Gate Openers, and fully Automated Railcar Gate Openers.