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Kansas City gets a new tram system, thanks to ArcelorMittal steel

From high-speed train networks to customer product-showcases, ArcelorMittal’s rails have long had both a strong reputation and demand in Europe. Now they are increasingly being used in the US; most recently to strengthen the transport infrastructure of Kansas City in Missouri. 

The state, which has been home to musicians from rock legends Chuck Berry and Tina Turner to rappers Nelly or Akon, is now also going to house another star; the TRAM112 rail sections – only produced in the US at ArcelorMittal Steelton in Pennsylvania (PA). 

Kansas City will in 2015 boast a streetcar or tram system thanks to 765 tonnes of the rail sections.

The TRAM in TRAM112 stands for Tram Rail ArcelorMittal; they are the only US-produced rails with a steel-guarded flangeway, as is required for tram movement which interacts with automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians. The 112TRAM is the only domestic alternative to girder rail, or grooved rails, which are used to make street running feasible. Like standard rail tracks, tram tracks consist of two parallel steel rails (inset top right).

With recently introduced ‘Buy America’ provisions which ensure that transportation infrastructure projects are built with American-made products, ArcelorMittal became the unique solution for the owners of this project, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, due to the company’s Steelton facility being the only one in the country having the necessary technology and the expertise.

ArcelorMittal Steelton started production of this rail section in June 2011 following a visit to the PA site’s ‘sister plant’ in Huta Krolewska, Poland, where the visiting rail design engineers and external engineering firm representatives witnessed a block rail rolling.  

In addition to the 765 tonnes of block rail sections, ArcelorMittal is also supplying 74 tonnes of another type of rails; the 115RE 80’ long rails.  

From road to rail

The logistics of long rails, like jumbo beams, is not an easy task. Delivery had to be coordinated with contractors for just-in-time unloading at the site.

The steel is being transported using land-based routes and three truckloads were sent to the customer Nortrak in Birmingham, Alabama, to be pre-curved for installation.63 tonnes have already reached Kansas City, with the remaining to follow over the next few months.

The Waterfront Moody Avenue Improvement Project in Portland, Oregon, the South-eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), New York City Transit and Washington Metro are all examples of prior usage of the TRAM112.

Image credits: KC Streetcar Constructors, www.kcstreetcar.org

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