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In the railroad industry, friction can be a real problem. Clifton Steel’s bolster pocket wear plates are designed to eliminate this friction.
Bolster pockets are openings in the sides of the railroad car truck’s bolster that were put there for an important purpose. Specifically, they serve as a means of keeping the friction snubbing system wedges in check by damping motion between the side frame and the bolster. When force is exerted against the column wear plates, the bolster vertical motion is limited, thereby resulting in the aimed-for reduction in friction.
Without proper reinforcement of the column wear plates, however, these bolster pockets can endure a lot of wear and tear. As the Journal of Wheel/Rail Interaction explains, “After many miles of operation, the constant frictional rubbing of the friction wedge against the pocket and column wear plate creates wear on the steel surfaces. The result of this wear is that the bolster pocket gets larger, the column wear plate wears deeper into the side frame and the friction wedge itself gets smaller in dimension.”