SW Moody Project Sparks Domestic Manufacture of Track and Materials
The SW Moody project has been a catalyst for the domestic production of grooved/block rail and other track materials for use in the construction of embedded streetcar track. Historically, the most desirable rail type for in-street rail and shared use lanes has been girder rail. However, girder rail is not manufactured in the United States and, therefore, does not meet federal Buy America requirements – a mandate for Recovery Act-funded projects.
The SW Moody project team evaluated other potential rail designs for the project and identified a type of rail used in Europe that is functionally similar to girder rail. ArcelorMittal Steelton was eager to become the source for U.S.-made streetcar rail and they quickly re-tooled their mill to produce the new 112TRAM Block Rail. The new rail was delivered to Portland at the end of June, just 6 months after construction started on the SW Moody project. Other cities across the country are expected to follow Portland’s lead in using this new rail type on streetcar and light rail projects, establishing a market for a rail type that had previously only been manufactured in Europe, and sustaining steel manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
The new rail type has spurred the development of new materials and tools for use in construction of embedded streetcar track. A collaborative effort with rail industry suppliers has led to many new Buy America-compliant products specific for use with 112TRAM Block Rail available for purchase by streetcar and light rail contractors.