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Anything about trains -model trains, songs about trains, a trip you took on a train, just as long as the sentence has the word train in it.

How long does an average freight train car last?
 

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This was a Lionel train layout my Dad and the man next door built for Christmas (supposed to be for me....seldom got to play with it as Dad and the neighbor did most of the "playing")...sure wish I had all the wonderful Lionel equipment...I do recall it had the original big heavy "Madison" passenger cars....They set it up to go up and over a ramp above the lower level...had to put adhesive tape on the drive track that didn't carry voltage to keep it from spinning the wheels....This picture was on Christmas morning in 1948 I think and they spent about a year finishing it up...Dad's and Son's was the big promotion for Lionel but this one turned out for Dad's and neighbors....

Another train thing was that my Dad's office was at the Denver Stock Yards and the switching tracks ran right by the old Exhange building....all steam in those days...as kids we'd put a coin on the track and let the switcher run over it...it went slow so didn't throw the coin way off somewhere...we'd find the flattened coin near where we'd put it...I don't know how many "big pennies" I had but lots of them.
 

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I can't give the answer in years but they last a very long time. The major railroads all have a complete facility (car shop) dedicated to keeping them in service. The wear parts like the wheels and trucks are easily and quickly replaceable. Big hydraulic jacks in the car shops raise the car up and a new/rebuilt truck with wheels is just rolled under the car and then the car is set back down.

The cars themselves (and there are many different types) get a lot of welding done on them.

Unless they are involved in a derailment they are pretty much indestructible. I don't know if the RR' or the FRA have a maximum service life in place or not.

I retired from CSX RR in 2010.
 

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I love steam trains. Everything about them, the smells, the sounds, the extreme heat off the boiler when you're close enough....it's a passion that I picked up from my dad. Something impressive about a huge, powerful chunk of steel, may be part of the reason I like guns. I haven't been around any steam engines in quite a while, last was the mighty PRR K4. We have been talking about taking our son to check them out, but it hasn't happened yet, hopefully next year.
 

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I am what is called a "FOAMER", that is a railfan who gets so excited when a train is approaching that he foams at the mouth. I have chased trains, Photographed trains, and in general been a lover of all the action that comes with hangung around the railroads.

I especially enjoy the Western rail action, after living in the SoCal high desert for many years. There are a number of locations where you can see the rails stretching out for 20 or 25 miles, with trains spaced every couple of miles on the Santa Fe Raileoads Trans-Con line. I earned my title of Mayor by teaching a college class at Cal-State Called "Exploring Cajon Pass" the majority of which focused on the 'funnel' of major rail lines entering and leaving the L A Basin headed east.

Here are a few memories of mine
Cajon Tunnels..No Longer there after construction of new tracks



Cajon Pass in the winter. One of my favorite photos


The Kentucky Derby Special train comes down the MONON Line in Bedford Indiana with a load of CSX execs and their guests. One of the few RR lines still running down a main street with the car traffic.



Ask me about trains, and you are apt to get more than you wished !!!
 

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Really cool pix Mayor AL! ;)

The world of trains, how they operate, how they navigate, has always intrigued me.
 

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The Vistadome Canadian Pacific ( I think that's the official name) from Winnepeg to Banff. What a terrific vacation !:)
 

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Former Hoadpiler
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Discussion Starter #10
I can't give the answer in years but they last a very long time. The major railroads all have a complete facility (car shop) dedicated to keeping them in service. The wear parts like the wheels and trucks are easily and quickly replaceable. Big hydraulic jacks in the car shops raise the car up and a new/rebuilt truck with wheels is just rolled under the car and then the car is set back down.

The cars themselves (and there are many different types) get a lot of welding done on them.

Unless they are involved in a derailment they are pretty much indestructible. I don't know if the RR' or the FRA have a maximum service life in place or not.

I retired from CSX RR in 2010.
Some of the tracks in the open country have heat sensors and can tell when a bearing is getting hot. It reads the car number so they know which car to service.
 

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Some of the tracks in the open country have heat sensors and can tell when a bearing is getting hot. It reads the car number so they know which car to service.
You are right. Just before I retired we installed what was called a "super site" that not only checked the journal bearing heat, but also other irregularities with the wheels such as flat spots, etc.

I worked in the communications dept and we took care of the tag reader sights as well. We had very expensive sensors bolted to the rail and they would count the wheels, axles, car length, speed of the train and other parameters and match them up to the car numbers that made up the train consist, to make sure the train was still all there, and in the right order. After the trained passed all the info was sent to HQ in Jacksonville, Fl.
They were important sites and if they malfunctioned, that would get me called out at night or on weekends.

The tags were programmed in the car shop with the car number. No batteries in them as they got there power from the radio signal that was sent to them from our antennas near the tracks - one on each side of the track.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You are right. Just before I retired we installed what was called a "super site" that not only checked the journal bearing heat, but also other irregularities with the wheels such as flat spots, etc.

I worked in the communications dept and we took care of the tag reader sights as well. We had very expensive sensors bolted to the rail and they would count the wheels, axles, car length, speed of the train and other parameters and match them up to the car numbers that made up the train consist, to make sure the train was still all there, and in the right order. After the trained passed all the info was sent to HQ in Jacksonville, Fl.
They were important sites and if they malfunctioned, that would get me called out at night or on weekends.

The tags were programmed in the car shop with the car number. No batteries in them as they got there power from the radio signal that was sent to them from our antennas near the tracks - one on each side of the track.
Had to laugh at that one.:D
 

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One of the 'tools of the railfan' is the portable scanner, so you can listen in on the radio chatter between train crews and their dispatchers in the traffic control centers. The track monitors mentioned by others here, used to transmit info about which track of the two or three running there, the train was using, how many axles in the train and the speed it was going when it passed over the track sensor. We could tell by which sensor transmitted, where the train was and how long til it got to us.

Thanks for feedback on the photos...I have thousands of them in digital files. I spent a lot of time shooting photos over the years.
 

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I worked on a "composite" gang that had a signal maintainer that is probably the only guy hit by a 50 mph train that survived with no major injury.
I always tried to carry some kind of swag to give to the "foamers", seemed to make their day.
Retired last year from the Santa Fe (BNSF) after 34 years service dodging them trains.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The mainline from Seattle to Chicago goes through Ephrata and it has about a dozen trains go through each day. A couple years ago I drove Route 66 and they had two tracks most of the way. It seems like there was a train going by every five minutes. They seemed to go slower and were shorter.

So for you train people:

1. How fast does a freight train travel?
2. How many cars are on a freight train?
 

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I've been a life long 'foamer' since I grew up along the Pennsy mainline. It bordered the property of the house my parents lived in. Later we moved to Connecticut where we lived a 5 minute walk from the northeast corridor which at that time was the New Haven railroad and later became Metro North and Amtrak. I've worn out a few cameras with my rail photography and have boxes full of slides and negatives I've shot over the years. Now I live close enough to hear the whistles of the Strasburg Railroad every day.
One of my fav shots of the Strasburg, Dec 1990
 

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Always been somewhat of a train buff.
Never grew up.
 

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I love steam trains. Everything about them, the smells, the sounds, the extreme heat off the boiler when you're close enough....it's a passion that I picked up from my dad. Something impressive about a huge, powerful chunk of steel, may be part of the reason I like guns. I haven't been around any steam engines in quite a while, last was the mighty PRR K4. We have been talking about taking our son to check them out, but it hasn't happened yet, hopefully next year.
I'm a foamer as well as a Model Railroader.
Here's some thing for you, 87hurricane.
It is the Union Pacific Challenger when it toured the UP system a few years ago.



 
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