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Railcar Positioning Winch System

Railcar Positioning Winch System

Application: Dual-Winch Railcar Positioning Winch System
Customer: Union Pacific Railroad (UPR)
Location: Roseville, CA
Winch Model: Columbia WR40000-4A17-L-01
Line Pull: 40,000 pounds per AC electric winch
Line Speed: 5 feet per minute
Wire Rope Capacity: 128 feet x 3/4” diameter wire rope
Power Source: 460 VAC / Three Phase / 60 Hz
Special Features: Cable tension roller, Custom control panel.Why APPI: Union Pacific Railroad (UPR) is the largest railroad network in the United States with nearly 32,000 miles of track crisscrossing 23 states in the West and Midwest.  Moving untold tons of product through their system are some 8,000 diesel-electric locomotives in the UPR fleet and each one of them requires regular maintenance and inspection at one of the several UPR repair facilities around the country.

At their JR Davis Yard in Roseville, CA, one of their largest, technicians work around the clock to keep the locomotives in their section available for duty at all times.  After an out-of-service “lokie” is delivered to the repair barn, using another locomotive to move it is expensive, difficult, time consuming, and potentially hazardous so UPR engineers decided to source a railcar positioning winch system for this task.

They decided on a two winch system, with one mounted halfway down each side of the repair barn, next to the track extensions that run through it.  By using this pair of winches (in addition to a third mounted between the tracks leading to the repair station) it would be possible to pull the locomotives in and out of the barn and position them exactly as required.  Ultimately, they chose Allied Power Products Inc. (APPI) in Beaverton, OR to provide the winches and controls for this system.

The railcar positioning winch model they selected was a Columbia WR40000 AC electric winch as it met all of their requirements for design, line pull, line speed, wire rope capacity and installation space.  The winch was provided with free spooling to enable wire rope to be pulled off the drum when making a hook-up with a locomotive.  A spring loaded cable tensioner was also specified for each winch to ensure the wire rope was held tightly on the drum during slack line conditions.  The IP66 motor and NEMA 4X controls offer protection against moisture and dust.  APPI also delivered a pair of 20-ton snatch blocks that are mounted on raised concrete pedestals to provide a convenient method to change direction when pulling a locomotive in or out of the barn.

Although their importance may seem relatively insignificant in the larger supply chain picture, these Columbia winches from APPI are critical in keeping the UPR locomotives operational and “on track.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about this particular railcar positioning winch system or any of our other products and services.


Allied Power Products, Inc. has specialized in providing winches, hoists, capstans and cranes to meet our customers’ specific application requirements for more than 30 years.

Comments (11)

  • Luke Jarvi Reply

    We are looking for price and availability on a winch which would be able to pull a 100 ton rail car.

    March 8, 2016 at 4:16 pm
    • Eric Reply

      Thank you for your inquiry, Luke. We’ll have a sales representative get in touch with you for your application details.

      March 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm
  • James martin Reply

    Interested in winch type cable system to move our rail car mounted hearth in and out of the furnace….50 ton plus when loaded

    April 28, 2016 at 3:41 pm
    • Eric Reply

      Thank you for reaching out to us James. We’ll get in contact with you for details on your furnace application.

      April 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm
  • Jim Donovan Reply

    We are looking to replace the winch system on our commercial marine railway used to haul boats up to 50 tons. Please let me know if you can help.

    November 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm
    • Jeff Dean Reply

      Thank you for your inquiry Jim. We will have a sales representative reach out to you to discuss your application details.

      November 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm
  • Joseph Maxwell Reply

    Looking for a system suitable for moving 100 ton raw ore railcar. Joseph Maxwell / maint director at Imerys Corp. 850-933-0604 cell, 850-875-1282 Plant.

    July 18, 2018 at 11:07 am
  • Carey Olson Reply

    We are looking for price and availability on a winch which would be able to pull a 100 ton rail car.

    February 22, 2019 at 6:30 am
    • Jeff Dean Reply

      Thank you for your inquiry, Carey. A sales representative will reach out to you shortly to discuss your application details and requirements.

      February 22, 2019 at 11:30 am
  • Chris Gardner Reply

    Looking into replacing/upgrading our winch system that pulls (2) rail cars on a flat track, full of steel shavings.

    March 4, 2020 at 8:32 am
    • Jeff Dean Reply

      Thank you for your inquiry, Mr. Gardner. A sales representative will reach out to you shortly to discuss your application details and requirements.

      March 5, 2020 at 8:08 am

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