Integrated Railmotive Systems Inc.

Excellence in Engineering

RAMP FOR INTERMODAL TRAIN

     A number of industry people, while interested in the markets the iron Highway concept addressed felt that the radically different nature of the equipment was a drawback.  The Westinghouse Air Brake Company wanted to use the Train carried ramp concept but with more conventional individual cars and four wheel conventional bogies, and Integrated Railmotive was asked to submit drawings for both a car and a ramp attachment to fulfill this need.

     These assignments were carried out and a full scale prototype of the proposed ramp was built for testing. This prototype is shown both in the photo below and in two short movie clips.  The time and cost were both well within our proposal.  In the photo below, taken in our shop at the time of construction, the ramp is shown in yellow, and the lifting cylinders and balance springs in black. The gray structure is the test fixture, which duplicates the railcar mounting and position of the rails under the lowered ramp.




Ramp
The first Movie clip shows the ramp in its initial lowered position from which it is raised by admitting air behind the pistons of the spring balanced lifting cylinders. Since the springs are fully compressed in the ramp down position the combination of spring force and air pressure force overcomes gravity and the ramp rises. The second clip shows the action when lowering the ramp from its raised position.

    The kinematics of the arrangement were so arranged that balancing springs associated with each lifting cylinder were maximally compressed when the ramp was lowered, but cold not pick up the weight of the ramp without air behind the pistons. As the ramp is raised, the mechanical advantage of the cylinders drops so that at the full up position not only was no air required to raise the ramp, but it would be necessary to introduce air pressure in front of the pistons to cause them to initially retract, overcoming a slight over center moment designed in at the up position, and starting the ramp moving downward compressing the balance springs. The air supply in front of the pistons could be cut off as the ramp neared full down position, and the weight of the ramp and its mechanical advantage would be sufficient to overcome the balance springs with no air pressure present.

    Patent protection was granted in Tom Engle’s name and assigned to Westinghouse for the several facets of the invention of the ramp, including a unique arrangement which lowered the railcars coupler out of the way as the ramp was lowered.