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I'm looking for help in an introductory civil engineering railroad class.

Here is an example of one of the homework questions. Do you think you can help me grasp these concepts?

Bailey Mine Branch
Consolidation Coal Company?s Bailey Mine can produce and load 10,000 tons of coal
per shift. The mine works three shifts per day five days per week for 50 weeks out of the
year. They have a 19 mile-long track known as the Bailey Mine Branch that connects to
a former Conrail line located in southwestern Pennsylvania. The only traffic on the
branch is empty and loaded unit coal trains that consist of three locomotives weighing
200 tons each, and 100 hopper cars that are loaded at the mine to their full 100-ton
capacity per car.
The branch is laid with 132# rail, and has 5% on level tangents, 25% on tangents with a
1% grade, 20% on 6? level lubricated curves, 35% on 6? lubricated curves on a 1% grade,
and 15% on 10? lubricated curves on a 1.5% curve.
What is the average expected rail life in years on the Bailey Mine Branch if the rail must
be replaced when it is worn 0.25 inches?
What is the total central angle through which the Bailey Mine Branch turns?
If all the grades are in the same direction, what is the total change in elevation over the
length of the branch? What is the average grade in percent?
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