Texas Style Rails

In Texas, you can watch drag racing, NASCAR racing, along with many other automotive sports. One of my favorites is Mud Drags. These races have special vehicles racing in them, just like other pro sports. Most people would believe that they race huge 4×4 trucks, however, that is not the only vehicle you will find. They have rails like the regular drag races, but Texas style.

Now the first thing you will notice about these “Texas Style” mud rails is that their tires are different. They may have the same motor that you would find on a flat drag strip, but they have to have tires that can push them through the mud. Most will have cut tires and Scoopers on the back. The front tires will be smaller on the mud rails, so they can control it. The back tires are the ones pushing and need the better traction.

Second, you will notice that there are a few different kinds of Texas style rails. They are usually shorter than that of the regular drag rails, and sit higher off the ground (so as not to high center or get stuck in the mud). There are 2 wheel drive rails as well as 4 wheel drive. Most rails are running in the faster classes, so you will find them running NOS or Blown alcohol, but there are still some economy rails as well.

These truck rails are built specifically for drag racing in the mud. The axles and drive shafts have to be made to endure the mud they run through. The tracks have regulations that have to be followed for safety, thus making the builders of these machines really tedious about their work. Roll cages have to be of certain strength and fire extinguishers have to be mounted where race drivers can use them easily. Shut off systems have to be accurate, and the race drivers have to be prepared for inspections. These Texas Style Rails are a lot of fun, and due to these safety features are quite safer than most people would believe. I have been enjoying this sport for 12 years now, and have never seen a fatality or even a serious injury from these vehicles.

This sport is a great way to entertain your family and enjoy some good clean fun! These trucks are spectacular to see, so I hope you get the chance to see them!

The Importance Of The Detroit Windsor Jobs Tunnel

By region, Canadians do the most business within the Great Lakes region by nearly four times over the Midwest region.

The Automotive Industry in Canada

With the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the automotive industry found Canada and Ontario in particular a welcome place to do business. Recently, automotive jobs in Ontario are on the increase while in Michigan they are on the decline. Last year, Ontario built more cars and trucks than any other location in North America.

Detroit/Windsor Rail Corridor Is Vital to the National Transportation Network

The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP) owns and operates the 100-year-old rail corridor that runs from Highway 401 in Canada to I-75 in Detroit. All the land within the corridor is owned by the DRTP. The tunnel serves CPR and any other railroad operators that wish to use the tracks, making this a “neutral tunnel.” The Detroit rail crossing run by the DRTP is an ongoing business and carries over 450,000 rail cars a year. This is equivalent to over 1,000,000 truckloads.

The DRTP/CPR corridor is an existing, 100-year-old transportation corridor through Windsor and Detroit. Much of this corridor is surrounded by vacant or industrial land.

Keeping Viable Rail Service in Detroit

This tunnel is challenged by its age. Next-generation rail cars are being put into service by the railroad industry now and will continue over the next several years. These taller rail cars are bigger than the inside diameter of the existing tunnel. In 1906 when this tunnel was built, no one could have imagined a rail car 21 feet, 10 inches tall!

Below is a recent article regarding American Honda Motor Company’s purchase of $100 million worth of the new, taller rail cars. These new cars will not fit through the existing Detroit/Windsor rail tunnel.

Honda is shipping cars by new Auto-Max railcars

The Greenbrier Companies announced today it has
received the largest order ever for its Auto-Max railcar
used for transporting new automotive vehicles. The $100
million order is from American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

The extra-wide decks in Auto-Max railcars can be adjusted to adapt to changing consumer patterns. In addition to carrying passenger vehicles three high, Auto-Max is the only railcar that carries most sport utilities, cross-over vehicles, compact pickups, and minivans in a tri-level (three-high) configuration. The decks are also readily convertible to carry large SUVs and large pickup trucks in a two-high configuration due to Auto-Max’s patented features.

[Posted Feb 14, 2006 at Inside Line, an Edmunds.com, Inc. blog]
The Solution

As discussed previously, the next-generation, high-capacity rail cars and double-stacked seatainers will not fit through the existing tunnel. A new, larger tunnel must be built. The new, larger tunnel will be built next to the existing tunnels.

How the New DRTP Rail Tunnel Will Be Built

The new DRTP rail tunnel will have an inside diameter of nearly 27 feet to accommodate the next-generation rail cars and double-stacked seatainers. The tunnelling will be through the soft clay layer, using a pressure-balanced, tunnel boring machine (TBM) shown in the middle left.

This unique machine is huge and is used to bore through the clay layer while building the tunnel behind it. Equalized pressure is maintained at the cutting head to prevent problems with the clay layers above the machine. Once the pre-cast, concrete tunnel segments are laid in place by the machine, the entire geological structure is stabilized. The tunnel is completed when the TBM breaks through on the opposite side from where it started tunnelling.

The DRTP Jobs Tunnel will be 1.6 miles long and can be completed in less than four years after the environmental assessment (EA) is completed and government permits are granted.

The new rail tunnel will be completed in five phases:

1. Environmental Assessment Phase

2. Engineering Design Phase

3. Funding Commitment Phase

4. Tunnel Construction Phase

i. Tunnel Boring Machine Commitment

ii. Tunnel Liner Commitment

5. Commissioning Phase

The New Detroit Windsor Jobs Tunnel Security

Security is an important part of CPR’s daily business. This is especially true in the Detroit/Windsor corridor.

CPR operates its own police force on both sides of the border to ensure security.

Also, all rail cars are run past a VACIS (Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System) device to Gama-Ray all rail cars before entering the United States. The government-monitored system, using trackside towers (such as the one shown at right) can detect stowaways, contraband, and explosive devices by generating an interior image of each railcar and its contents whether they be tank car, hopper car, container or boxcar, as it rolls by at 5-7 miles per hour.

Moreover, the new rail tunnel will have the most sophisticated sensor array of any tunnel on the North American border.

With all these security measures, this border crossing is safe.

It is clear that the CPR track system is a key element in delivering the products needed to keep millions of Americans working in the Midwest. And, it is also clear that this system is jeopardized by the restrictions of a 100-year-old tunnel in Detroit that is not adequate for the next-generation rail cars coming on line.

Why We Need A Replacement Rail Tunnel At The Detroit-Windsor Crossing

Current Status:

1. The current rail tunnel under the Detroit River is 100 years old and links southwest Detroit and southeast Ontario. It is owned and operated as an ongoing business by the Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP).

2. The DRTP consists of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Borealis Infrastructure Trust, a part of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS)

3. The current rail tunnel carries over 460,000 rail cars per year

4. The Detroit/Windsor rail tunnel is a vital link between the Port of Montreal, the rest of Canada and the entire U.S. Midwest. Canadian Pacific Railway also uses this rail tunnel to reach into the southern and southwestern United States as well as Mexico.

5. The existing tunnel although in excellent physical shape finds itself undersized and unable to handle today’s taller rail cars

6. The existing rail tunnel has been designated as critical infrastructure by Homeland Security

The Problem:

1. Container traffic out of the Port of Montreal is expected to double in the next ten years and utilizing more and more double-stacked container cars; automotive companies are shipping vehicles and auto parts in the new, high-capacity Automax rail cars

2. The existing Detroit/Windsor rail tunnel is not tall enough to allow double-stacked container cars or Automax cars to pass through.

3. Without a replacement rail tunnel, rail service will have reduced options

4. The replacement rail tunnel will allow Detroit to become a logistics hub

5.A replacement rail tunnel will enhance economical rail freight shipping throughout the Midwest and the South.

The Solution:

1. The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP) would like to build a replacement rail tunnel near the existing rail tunnel

2. The replacement rail tunnel will bring the following to the Detroit/Windsor region:

1. Over 1,700 jobs

2. Over $600 million in investment

3. It will bring more rail freight to the region

4. It will help save current and future jobs

Internal Diameter

27.5 ft. (8.4 m)

Tunnel Length

9,334 ft. (2,845 m)

Sub-River Length

2,640 ft. (750 m)

Maximum Grade

2.15%

Lining Thickness

1.6 ft. (0.5 m)

River Depth

49.2 ft. (15 m)

Minimum Cover – River

18 ft. (5.5 m)

Minimum Cover – Land

13.1 ft. (4 m)

Operating Speed

50 mph (80 kph)

5. Replacement Rail Tunnel Specs

It will be the first transportation infrastructure in over 75 years at this border crossing

6. The DRTP has completed engineering to ensure the viability of this project

7. Some of the support the replacement rail tunnel includes: MDOT, Detroit Renaissance, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, the UAW and many other government, business and labor leaders

8. The replacement rail tunnel can be completed in less than four years