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Railroad Hi-Railers & Re-Railers In Blowout Accidents

Example of a Hi-Railer

The tragedy frequently described in the media about vehicles that blow a front tire at high speed and then rollover becomes a greater concern for Hi-Railers and Re-Railers, railroad equipment designed to operate on the highway or on railroad track. The Safe-T-Plus Steering Control prevents the loss of control in most blowout situations and in many other road hazards facing the average and professional driver today.

The Safe-T-Plus Steering Control is a double-acting hydraulic cylinder designed with an internal coil (spring) that returns to a positive center every time the steering wheel is released while moving. The anchor bracket end is mounted to the I Beam Axle spring U Bolts or to the vehicle frame on independent suspension vehicles. The smaller end is mounted to the tie rod or to a drag link depending on the steering system.

The railroad Hi-Railer, a smaller work vehicle fitted with the front and rear rail trucks to enable riding on the railroad tracks, has an on-road steering situation related to the balance imposed on the truck suspension. Traveling on the rails becomes a necessity because railroad track right-of-way may have maintenance problems far from a paved road. The Hi-Railer vehicle straddles the rails at a convenient location and the driver lowers the front and rear trucks to engage the rails and travel to the destination. It is a compromise that works. The vehicle steering system is not involved when traveling on railroad track.

On the paved highway the extra weight of the front and rear rail trucks (needed to travel on railroad track) added to the normal weight of the maintenance vehicle affects the vehicle balance and the steering. The result is a reduced highway speed to maintain steering control of the vehicle. Highway travel of the Hi-Railer at a reasonable speed imposes a concentration on the driver more than what is necessary with an ordinary pick-up truck. The balance of the Hi-Railer is affected and the driver must be able to control unexpected movement of the steering wheel.

Every Safe-T-Plus Steering Control imposes a positive center on the steering system at the tie rod and intercepts shock loads up to 1000 lb. before the shock can enter the steering gear box. The positive steering center introduces a stronger “feel of the road” and reduces the need to constantly adjust the steering wheel to stay in the driving lane. Wandering is reduced by 90% allowing the driver to pay more attention to the circumstances surrounding the vehicle. Some Hi-Railer drivers have reported driving 20 mph faster without any loss of control or awareness of the surroundings when the vehicle is equipped with the Safe-T-Plus Steering Control.

 A Re-Railer is a large truck crane used to put derailed railcars back on the track. It too is equipped with front and rear rail trucks that change the balance of the vehicle. This condition can cause the steering wheels to impose a lighter pressure on the pavement than the rear axle and the vehicle has a greater tendency to wander. The driver must constantly control wandering to stay in  the lane. Rut-Tracking is more common. The Safe-T-Plus Steering Control reduces wandering by 90% and Rut Tracking is eliminated; the driver now controls where the vehicle goes. The Safe-T-Plus Steering Control can be easily mounted on the steering system usually in about one hour.

 When a blowout occurs on a front wheel, the tire becomes flat on the bottom. The sudden enormous drag imposed on the steering system violently jerks the front wheels to the side of the blowout. Power steering does not prevent this movement. It most often occurs in spite of the driver’s best efforts to prevent it. The speed and momentum then may cause the vehicle to rollover to the opposite side as that of the blowout with devastating damage to the vehicle and sometimes fatal results for the driver and passengers.

 Top-heavy vehicles such as the Re-Railer are more prone to such results.

 When a blowout occurs on the left side, the vehicle goes to the left; if it occurs on the right side, the vehicle goes to the right. Most frequently, there is very little the driver can do. In fact, driver injuries can occur because of the sudden spin of the steering wheel caused by the blowout.

 The Safe-T-Plus Steering Control prevents the loss of control even in a blowout situation and allows the driver to steer in both directions with a front tire blowout. It absorbs more than 1000 lb. of force at the tie rod and holds the wheels where the driver steers them. No jerking of the steering wheel or over steering to control the vehicle. Just normal steady steering pressure on the steering wheel is all that is needed.

 Since 1981 the Safe-T-Plus Steering Control has been protecting vehicles, drivers and pedestrians. It fits most vehicles from ½ ton up to the heaviest vehicles on the road. For individuals and organizations, it is the cheapest insurance around.

 Give us a call and ask us to make your vehicle(s) “a whole lot safer”.



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