CTA Chicago operate and maintain a large rapid transit system called the ‘L’ Line with the majority of the track being elevated above the road in the open section with one line operated in a subway. Chicago’s luxury Virgin Hotel Downtown is next to one of the curves at State/Lake station.
The Engineers problem was that in heavy rain, grease would quickly be washed off leaving the rail without lubrication and consequently causing significant wheel squeal when the trains navigate around the curve, which garnered a significant number of complaints due to the location of the track and the amount of noise. Consequently the lubrication team would be needed on track to manually apply lubricant as a back-up measure to further lubricate the track.
Chicago Transit Authority’s preference would be to only have engineers on track for essential maintenance works and the lubrication issues they were experiencing could be remedied with a higher-performance grease, so that they would reduce safety risk, save time and use less grease, ultimately saving money.
After discussions with Chicago Transit Authority Engineers a trial protocol was agreed and commenced for EcoCurve Trackside two electric lubricators in opposite directions on this curve. Both lubricators were filled with RS Clare EcoCurve Trackside on top of the existing track lubricant and purged until the EcoCurve Trackside was pumping through all spreader bar ports and being picked up by the trains and carried around the curves.
An RS Clare Engineer jointly monitored these curves with the CTA Lubrication Team over a one year period through all weather conditions to monitor performance and noise. CTA were very pleased with the level of noise reduction around these two curves especially in the wet weather as the grease remained on the gauge corner around the complete curve. Due to the grease remaining on the rails it also offered superior protection against wear which inevitably reduces maintenance and track replacement costs.
When the RS Clare Engineer spoke to a Virgin Hotel Reception Manager, they confirmed that the noise had significantly reduced and there was no need to complain to CTA anymore. CTA have now fully approved EcoCurve Trackside for use in 100% of their lubricators, and are very pleased with the results.