The M-1 RAIL streetcar project has set up an assembly line near Cass Avenue in Midtown Detroit to weld steel rail into about forty 560-foot-long “strings” of Continuously Welded Rail (CWR).
Using a track excavator, 80-foot pieces of rail are moved from the recently-delivered stock of steel onto an assembly line; some prep grinding is done by hand, then the rail is pulled through to a flash butt welder. Flash butt welding is a resistance welding process that does not use filler metals to connect the rails; instead the welder melts both ends of the rail together by heating up to as high as 1600 degrees and then pressing the molten ends together forming a high quality bond. . The welded section is then polished. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes to complete one weld.
As many as seven construction workers participate in the welding operation; the M-1 RAIL crew is collaboration between Construction Manager Stacy & Witbeck, Inc., Detroit-based Farrow Group, Inc. and Crystal Lake Illinois-based Holland, LLC.
The 560-foot-long strings of continuously welded rail will eventually be moved onto Woodward Avenue in preparation for track installation.
M-1 RAIL is the non-profit organization leading the design, construction and future operation of a 3.3-mile (6.6 miles round-trip) modern streetcar along Woodward Avenue between Larned Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan. An unprecedented public-private partnership and model for regional collaboration, the M-1 RAIL Streetcar project is the first major transit project led and funded by private businesses and philanthropic organizations, in partnership with local, state and federal governments. Visit www.M-1RAIL.com for more information.
Donors & Partners: Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Chrysler, Compuware, Detroit Downtown Development Authority, Detroit Medical Center, DTE Energy, Ford Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Great Lakes Capital Fund, Henry Ford Health System, Hudson Webber Foundation, Ilitch Holdings, Invest Detroit, JPMorgan Chase, Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Penske Corporation, Quicken Loans, The Kresge Foundation, United States Department of Transportation, Wayne County, Wayne State University.