One of the largest freight railroads in North America operates over 30,000 miles of track and encounters a broad array of weather and climate conditions across the continent. The network’s extensive geographical footprint presents seasonal challenges which gave rise to a requirement for an all-seasons, high performing curved rail grease. This Class 1 railroad also desired a biodegradable rail lubricant that would minimise their impact on the environment.
The Class 1 railroad network’s track engineers were unhappy with the performance of their incumbent grease’s seasonal grades, reporting issues with inconsistent pumpability that was affecting carry down performance and leading to an increase in rail and wheel wear, and subsequently more time and budget allocated to maintenance.
Temperature instability was identified as a root cause for the sub-optimal performance of the gauge face lubricants being used on the network. This is a frequently encountered issue for seasonal grease grades, complicated by the unpredictability of ‘mother nature’ (weather)! This unintentional misapplication frequently resulted in blocked lubricators, high fling-off and grease reservoir cavitation which was undesirable for the network and a key driver in the search for a higher quality, all-seasons curved rail grease that could deliver a consistent level of year-round performance.
Working with Loram Maintenance of Way, our strategic partners within the North American rail market, RS Clare presented our EcoCurve Heavy Haul all-seasons, extreme service gauge face grease as a high-performance curved rail lubrication solution to the track maintenance team. An extensive, internal comparative evaluation of EcoCurve Heavy Haul was conducted against multiple competitive lubricants in the railroad network’s test facilities, measuring properties such as flow pressures at different temperatures and grease fling off on track mats at elevated temperatures. Another test used a functioning lubricator in a -32°F temperature-controlled environment with a low volume (8”) of grease in the reservoir to assess if EcoCurve Heavy Haul would slump and cavitate when being pumped, which it did not. This is something that had been previously encountered when testing other gauge face greases.
Following satisfactory lab testing, EcoCurve Heavy Haul was extensively field trialled to confirm its all-seasons performance capabilities and after a lengthy and successful field trial, EcoCurve Heavy Haul was approved and is now the most widely used gauge face lubricant on this Class I railroad’s network.
EcoCurve Heavy Haul is proven to deliver consistent pumpability and performance in all seasonal conditions, allowing operators to use one grease all year round and reduce the complexity, costs and risks associated with using multiple seasonal grades of grease.