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Work To Replace Worn-Out Sheffield Tram Tracks To Start

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-22580099

Work to replace about 14 miles (22km) of worn out tram tracks in Sheffield is to start in the summer.

Tram network owner South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) said large sections of rail were close to being "life-expired".

SYPTE and operator Stagecoach Supertram are funding the £32m project.

..

The new rails, which are made from harder wearing steel, have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years.

David Young, from SYPTE, said: "When the tram system was installed in 1994, it was widely expected at the time that the rail would have a 30-year lifespan.

Have the rails not worn well because of cars driving on them continually?

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Yeah, I guess all those tyres running over the top of them will have worn the steel away dreadfully. You can't believe how abrasive rubber is. It's amazing that it has so many medical applications. :rolleyes:

I saw this as a good news story, if they are worn out it means the system is getting used and the steel-on-steel wear has taken its toll.

As for the price, I suspect most of it is the cost of digging it out of the concrete and re-laying. Steel is cheap, even if it is a bit more sophisticated than re-melted clog iron.

Remember that the entire Supertram installation was done in the days of compulsory competitive tendering. Contractors will have built to a price, not for longevity. Another triumph for Thatcherism.

Worse, I'll be dodging roadworks and diversions for a couple of years and the road traffic in Sheffield will build back up.

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Have the rails not worn well because of cars driving on them continually?

More like they used inferior steels and have effected little to no maintenance over the lifespan.

Railway mechanics is big business and I've read a fair share of EXTREMELY boring papers on corrosion, stress, fracture mechanics dealing with railway beams.

Tram lines are also subterranean so they are rarely dry, and subject to pooled up water laced with salt, corrosive oils and tyre rubber. All these can change the PH of the water, accelerating corrosion.

Plus when trams cross them the current passing from bogey to track will create micro-arcs, hardening the surface of the track, accelerating crack initiation and propagation.

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Assuming tram tracks in Sheffield are much like the ones in Toronto, the expense seems to come not from replacing the rails themselves but digging up the road and replacing the foundations that they sit on. When I've taken a look at construction sites here it looks rather like building a normal set of railway lines followed by covering them in layers of tarmac and stuff.

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Assuming tram tracks in Sheffield are much like the ones in Toronto, the expense seems to come not from replacing the rails themselves but digging up the road and replacing the foundations that they sit on.

Which was one of the reasons we got rid of our trams in the first place...

(I actually like trams, but buses are cheaper).

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More like they used inferior steels and have effected little to no maintenance over the lifespan.

Oh. They have had maintenance!

I used to live in the city centre next to the tracks. I can remember the time they ground the rails - it was done in the early hours of Monday morning starting at 2 am and lasting several hours.

Even though the flat was round the back of the development, and triple glazed, the noise was so loud that it was uncomfortable even with ear plugs. I went to venture out to the street, and outside the front door, the noise was so loud and the pain so excruciating that I couldn't tolerate it.

I have no idea how loud it was in dB - but things like pneumatic drills and 1000 hp diesel generators were mere whispers in comparison.

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Which was one of the reasons we got rid of our trams in the first place...

(I actually like trams, but buses are cheaper).

Other possible reasons include...

wiki: General Motors streetcar c*********

The General Motors streetcar c********* (also known as the Great American streetcar scandal) refers to allegations and convictions in relation to a program by General Motors (GM) and other companies who purchased and then dismantled streetcar and electric train systems in many American cities.

Between 1936 and 1950, National City Lines and Pacific City Lines—with investment from GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, Mack Trucks, and the Federal Engineering Corporation—bought over 100 electric surface-traction systems in 45 cities including Baltimore, Newark, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland and San Diego and converted them into bus operation. Several of the companies involved were convicted in 1949 of c********* to monopolize interstate commerce but were acquitted of c********* to monopolize the ownership of these companies...(cont)

(additional source: the plot of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?)

Edited by Nuggets Mahoney

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More like they used inferior steels and have effected little to no maintenance over the lifespan.

Railway mechanics is big business and I've read a fair share of EXTREMELY boring papers on corrosion, stress, fracture mechanics dealing with railway beams.

Tram lines are also subterranean so they are rarely dry, and subject to pooled up water laced with salt, corrosive oils and tyre rubber. All these can change the PH of the water, accelerating corrosion.

Plus when trams cross them the current passing from bogey to track will create micro-arcs, hardening the surface of the track, accelerating crack initiation and propagation.

Nothing speeds up corrosion like a little bit of current. It's awesome to see how fast a yacht's naval brass propellor can dissolve with a little bit of earth current leakage.

I assume there's a couple of hundred years of history on the longevity of railway and tram lines, so how come this lot have worn away so unexpectedly fast?

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I'm sure they have dug the ones in Manchester centre up several times and then done loads of noise reduction work on the stretford line a few years back.

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Yeah, I guess all those tyres running over the top of them will have worn the steel away dreadfully. You can't believe how abrasive rubber is. It's amazing that it has so many medical applications. :rolleyes:

I saw this as a good news story, if they are worn out it means the system is getting used and the steel-on-steel wear has taken its toll.

As for the price, I suspect most of it is the cost of digging it out of the concrete and re-laying. Steel is cheap, even if it is a bit more sophisticated than re-melted clog iron.

Remember that the entire Supertram installation was done in the days of compulsory competitive tendering. Contractors will have built to a price, not for longevity. Another triumph for Thatcherism.

Worse, I'll be dodging roadworks and diversions for a couple of years and the road traffic in Sheffield will build back up.

Don't the rails wear irrespective of whether the tram is full of people or not ?

To me the success is how many people it carries, not how fast it wears its rails out.

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Guest eight

Yes I think so, I'm surprised no city has tried this.

I'm sure I saw the Giro d'Italia pass through somewhere a few days back that had overhead for trolleybuses. A quick Google suggests possibly San Remo.

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I'm sure I saw the Giro d'Italia pass through somewhere a few days back that had overhead for trolleybuses. A quick Google suggests possibly San Remo.

Sorry, I meant UK city.

AFAIK there is no trolley bus service in the UK outside of a museum.

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  • 244 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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