Integrated Railmotive Systems Inc.

Excellence in Engineering


       An African railway operation wished to switch from UIC (European standard) air brake equipment on their freight trains to an AAR direct release type system because the European standard can be agonizingly slow to release on longer trains. This railway wished to not only overcome that problem, but also to run much longer trains.  WABTEC had agreed to provide engineering guidance to this customer (who was purchasing several hundred sets of equipment for the conversion) and Railmotive agreed to provide this design and advisory service.

We took a laptop (equipped with both word processing and Computer Aided Design software) as well as a portable inkjet printer to the Railway’s shop, under the impression that there was only one car design to work out the new air brake application for. In actual fact there were eight different designs from three different car builders. Each with different dimensions and dissimilar structural detail to which air brake equipment had to be fitted, mounting and piping designed etc.
    In order to minimize the changeover cost to the customer as well as provide the promised service, Railmotive designed the mounting rack shown in exhibit 16-1 which centralized in the one location all the air brake devices needed on the car, and could be applied without change to all cars to be converted. The rack also standardized the piping between the devices. This meant that regardless of the car to which the equipment was to be applied; the pipes which interconnected car equipment were identical; and this, in turn, allowed the pipe shop to make up identical sets of pipes which would fit all of the racks to be mounted on the non-identical cars. The only pipes then that had to be specially made were the main Brake Pipe, which ran from one end of the car to the other; and two short ones, one from the rack to the brake cylinder and a larger diameter one from the car’s brake pipe to the rack.
    We also designed the rack with mounting locations for the additional parts that would be needed in the future if the customer wished to add empty–load brake compensation, which would be useful on the longer trains the company planned to run. The additional material for this was about 8 pounds of structural steel and the labor to drill five holes, but the potential cost savings in the future was several hundred dollars per car. The ability to make up the pipes and mount them and the equipment away from the car produced considerable savings as well.  These labor savings, a result of being able to do fabrication in the shop versus field application, are well known in industry.

Exhibit 16-2 Rack Mounted system on car end
Exhibit 16-2 above shows an unusual application of the rack-mounted equipment to the end of a covered hopper type freight car, which had been converted, to AAR controls from a different system. The rack was intended for mounting under the car, which is how it was used in the African application.  This one is on a type of car with no room underneath and was thousands of miles away from Africa but it is the identical rack and permitted the same ease of conversion.

(N.B. the car with the lettering is a different one, on an adjacent track.)