Saw a new sight today: construction vehicles (bulldozers, backhoes, trucks, etc.) traveling via railroad tracks on train wheels. They were each traveling individually about 50 feet apart with flashing lights. I’m curious about this process, but a cursory search didn’t reveal anything online. Do the vehicles move under their own power or were they on some sort of cars?
They move under their own power. The reason for this is that there are many places on railroads that can’t be reached by regular road vehicles. The tracks themselves are the only way in.
Most likely, on their own power, with “hi-rail” wheels. (It’s a contraction of highway and rail)
Here’s an example of a small backhoe outfitted to travel on rails.
The track wheels are easier to see on this truck - when you need to travel on the track, you just drive onto the track at a grade crossing, lower the steel wheels, and off you go. Returning to roads is just as simple.
I’ve only seen this with pick-ups. Never anything else. You learn something new everyday.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw an even stranger sight. Construction vehicles with the hi-rail wheels like what you saw, but they weren’t riding directly on the tracks. They had a locomotive, a few box cars (or something of similar size) with a set of continuous tracks across the top and then the construction vehicles we’re up on top of that. The construction vehicles appeared to have the ability to go back and forth from one end of the tracks to the other, IIRC it was 4 or 5 train cars long. I was driving past it and couldn’t really get a good look at it, but I think it looked like the track decoupled/folded back when the train was in motion since it wouldn’t be able to go around bends in it was connected. I’m in an area that routinely has containers stacked two high so I assume the height wasn’t an issue, it was just an odd sight and something I’ve never seen before.
Here is a big page with photos of maintenance vehicles and just about everything else under the sun on rails.
Trivia: if you lower the air pressure in a Jeep Wrangler and drive up on some abandoned tracks, you can do 60 mph on the tracks and don’t even have to steer!
I think you mean tire pressure.