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Railroad Projects: Rail Breaker


A railroad client had requested a portable rail breaker that could test sections of rail in 3 and 4 point bends.  It was designed to test welded rail on-site as opposed to sending samples to a lab for testing.  This would allow for instantaneous results allowing on-site installation adjustments.  RSI Materials Engineering designed, analyzed and built the one-of-a-kind testing apparatus.  It is comprised of a 400,000 pound hydraulic actuator connected to a vertical slider.  Large pins can be positioned for the desired testing method.  The rail breaker, along with a hydraulic pump and generator ride on a trailer.

rail breaker finished


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Solidworks Development
A computer aided drafting program called Solidworks was used to design the rail breaker.  This was useful because it allowed for the entire system to be designed and checked before any components were even constructed.  Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was performed on the highly stressed parts to insure proper operation.  Click here to view various Solidworks and FEA pictures.

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RSIME Rail Breaker Construction
Many of the rail breaker components were machined "in-house" at the RSIME Laboratory.  Assembly of the tester was also done at the RSI Materials Engineering.  Click here for various pictures of the rail breaker during construction.


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Breaking Rail with the RSIME Rail Breaker
Click here for pictures of the rail breaker in operation.  It is capable of breaking high-strength, non-welded rail, even though it was designed for welded or possible defect containing rail.