portation ā viz., smaller canals, ship canals, railways and rivers ā which
should not be lost sight of. In a newly settled or very thinly settled
country the main dependence must be jslaced on the natural water-
courses for heavy transportation. As population increases and the
country is developed, railways are built, and for a time they can do all
the business required, thus apparently superseding water transportation
altogether; but as the wealth and density of populations still farther
increase, the necessity of transportation by water, by rivers and canals,
again becomes manifest. That this is true is shown by what is now
going on in several of the states of Europe.
It may be freely admitted that for passenger traffic the day of the
canal is past, unless it be for such people as the Irishman who requested
to be i^ermitted to work his passage on the canaj by walking on the tow-
path and driving the horses. But the cheapness of the canal for the
movement of bulky or heavy freights which will bear slow movement to
a market, will always be recognized. The day may come when the
business of transi^ortation of i>assengers will be entirely separated from
the movement of freight, and great lines will be given up entirely to
TRANS AM.SOC.CIV. ENG'RS
VOL. XX NO 407
HENS HAW ON
DISCUSSION ON SEDIMENTARY EIVEES. 117
the latter work. If, in addition, those roads be so managed that every
man may put his own car on them and have it carried on equitable
terms, another revolution in the methods of freighting may be seen.
In this connection it Avould be extremely interesting and profitable
to refer to the remarks on the subject of canals by Mr. T. C. Keefer,
Past President Am. Soc. C. E., retiring President of the Canadian So-
ciety of Civil Engineers, in his recent address. He gives us the benefit
of his own experience and observation with canals, two things which
make him a most competent teacher.
It is very doubtful whether the means proposed by the author for
the improvement of the Mississippi Eiver would accomplish all that he
expects or give any really useful or permanent results.
The proposition to build dikes of light and flexible material, such as
brush or wattling, is not a new one. Such dikes were in use in our own
country on the Missouri River for a number of years, trials having there
been made of various forms of "weeds," "willow curtains," "wire
screens," etc. The credit for the dike of "weeds" is given to Colonel
Brownlow of the Royal Engineers, and a description of it may be found
in "Professional Papers on Indian Engineering," April, 1875. See also
Annual Reijorts of Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army, 1879, Part I, page
651; 1879, Part II, pages 1050 and 1075-76; 1880, Part II, page 1152.
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENaiNEERS.
Note. ā This Society is not responsible, as a body, for tlie facts and opinions advanced in any
of its publications.
(Vol. XX.ā March, 1889.)
CLAMP FOR PULLING SHEET PILING.
By Chaeles E, Emery, M. Am. Soc. C. E.
The trenches of the New Xork Steam Company vary from 4J to 6 feet
in width and from 5 to 8 and 10 feet deep. In the lower part of the city
most of the soil is sandy, and although some of the fills are hard i^an,
the continual use of the streets and passage of heavy trucks alongside
the trenches necessitates sheet piling the sides quite closely to prevent
the caving of the banks. In sand or any loose material close piling is
always resorted to. The piling used is spruce plank 10 feet long, 10
inches wide and 2 inches thick. It is driven down with a wooden maul,
slightly in advance or closely following the excavation, according to the
nature of the soil.
It was at first the practice to pull the plank as the filling was jjut in,
but it was finally decided to allow the plank to remain in place until the
fill was completed, then to pull each i)lank separately, sift sand in the
hole and ram it with a thin, wide tamjnug bar, continuing this opera-
tion until the hole was filled; then to pull the next plauk and proceed as
During the earlier work of the company, the foreman had con-
structed, for the purpose of imlling these planks, plain rectangles of bar
iron, with an eye on one of the sides connecting to links with which a
120 EMEEY OX CLAMP FOR SHEET PILING.
hook on the pulling lever engaged. The connecting eye being at one
side, the clamp was tilted as it was lifted, so that its edges engaged with
the soft wood with sufficient grip to enable the plank to be pulled. The
use of this instrument, however* required that the end plank of close
sheet piling be pried laterally sufficiently to admit the end of the clamp,
an operation requiring some delay and annoyance. To overcome this
difficulty, the writer designed the clamp shown in the accompanying
Plate No. XVII, which, as will be seen, is a mere fork of iron with interior
parallel sides to fit loosely the sides of a plank and extend from one
edge to nearly its entire width. The back and rear sides of the fork
are thickened to stiffen the oj^en jaw. An eye is forged on one of the
sides, a little nearer the back than the points of the jaws, so that the
head and points nearly balance, and to this eye is connected a pair of
links, as shown. A heavy wooden lever, iron bound, with hook to en-
gage with the links and a heavy horse to form a fulcrum, complete the
outfit. In practice, the clamp is slipped on the edge of the endmost
l^lank and the lever simjjly worked up and down ; the clamp loosens it-
self and falls down as the lever is raised and binds as the lever is de-
pressed. Sometimes five or six men are on the lever at once to start a
plank buried 6 or 8 feet in the earth. The sizes shown are those which
have been developed by the practical members of the force after several
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS.
XOTE. This Society is not responsible, as a body, for the facts and opinions advanced in
any of its publications.
(Vol. XX. -April, 1889.)
DESTRUCTION OF RAILS BY EXCESSIVE
By Joseph T. Dodge, M. Am. See. C. E.
In the Eeijort of the Committee presented at this Convention,* there
are carefully engraved diagrams of the cross-sections of sixteen pairs
of rails, much worn by use. The sections were taken with a view of
shedding light upon the i^roper radius for the corners of rail-head and
the flange fillet of wheels.
The significance of the diagrams for the purpose intended is very
marked, but they convey a lesson of still more definite import in another
respect. They show conclusively the flow of the metal of the rails
under the excessive weights constantly passing over them.
On the rails of a fast-speed tangent no lip is perceptible on either rail,
but on like rails for slow speed the lip is clearly visible. On the rails of
a fast-si^eed curve, there is a heavy lip on the outside of the inner rail,
and only a very slight one on the outside of the outer rail.
On a slow-speed curve the lip upon the outer rail is more marked,
and on the inner rail a little less so than on the fast-speed curve.
These facts harmonize with what is to be seen in almost any railroad
yard, the speed being slow and the destruction of rails by the flow of
metal something enormous.
* Report of Committee on Kelation of Sections of Railway Wheels and Rails, Vol. XIX,
page 1. July, 1888.
122 DODGE ON DESTRUCTION OF RAILS.
They also clearly indicate that wheels carrying excessive weight may
pass harmlessly over rails at high speed, like a boy skating over thin ice,
when at slow speed they would be very destructive.
It has been argued that because in a certain experiment where a
pressure of 53 760 pounds per square inch was api^lied to a piece of soft
iron by a steel die i inch square before producing a perceptible indenta-
tion, therefore an engine or car-wheel on a steel rail cannot produce
any distortion of fiber. Now, argument is good in its i^lace, but it can-
not controvert the facts before our eyes.
That the metal of the rails flows under the weight of the wheels is a
fact of observation. That those weights are excessive is a conclusion of
No form of rail can be devised which will insure any definite area of
bearing for each engine wheel or each car wheel. These bearing areas
will vary as the radii of the wheels. They should also vary as the width
of the rail heads. They will vary also according to the condition of the
tires, some being flat and some made concave by wear. Car wheels are
usually curved; drivers are not; hence by no possibility will all the
wheels of a train have the same contact with any one rail.
The conclusions deducible from the foregoing appear to be as follows:
diameters of wheels] should be as large as practicable; rail-heads should
be as wide as practicable; tires should be kept as flat and perfect as
As to the diameters of the wheels, the area of contact of wheel with
rail being directly as the diameters, the weights to be carried should
decrease in like ratio.
If 15 000 pounds is a permissible weight for 5-foot wheel,
then 12 000 pounds would be an equivalent load for... 4-foot "
9 000 " " " " '* " 3-foot
8 250 " " " " " " 33-inch "
Hence an eight-wheel freight car weighing 25 000 pounds, when loaded
with 41 000 pounds additional wUl be fully as destructive to the rails as
a Consolidation Locomotive carrying 96 000 pounds on its eight drivers
of 4 feet diameter. Switch engines, having large loads upon small
wheels, prove very destructive to rails, as may be seen in almost any city.
In view of the facts just stated, the tendency to increase the weight
of rolling stock seems to me to have passed its proi)er limits and that
we should call a halt.
DISCUSSION" ON DESTRUCTION' OF RAILS. 123
W. W. Rich, M. Am. Soc. C. E. ā Mr. Dodge suggests tliat I discuss
this subject. I have made no preparation to do so, but in conversation
with him, I have learned his views and expressed my concurrence. The
subject is one of much interest, and I will say this:
Last year we modified the specifications of our freight cars (Minne-
apolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Ry.), bringing them up from 40 000
to 50 000 pounds capacity, and we have had about one thousand cars con-
structed on these specifications. I now consider that it was a mistake.
If I had it to do over again I think I woiild not make cars ā certainly
not for general traffic ā to exceed 40 000 pounds capacity.
The Master Car Builders' Association recently appointed a committee
to determine the proper sized axle for a 60 000-pound car. It seems to
me that that committee ought to be discharged before they have time to
report. So far as my observation goes, a car loaded to that limit has
too great a weight per wheel load for the surface of the rails. I know
of a railway company in Wisconsin that has tried some 60 000-pound ore
ears, and the Sujjerintendent tells me they are for sale cheap.
I have no statistics at hand, but my recollection is that Mr. Octave
Chanute, M. Am. Soc. C. E., once made some experiments to determine
the actual area of contact between rails and wheels of various sizes under
loads, and that for 33-inch wheels such area was about one-tenth or one-
eleventh of a square inch. For an eight-wheel car weighing about 27 000
and carrying 50 000 poimds this would give a pressure per square inch
of about 100 000 pounds, which is much beyond the elastic limit of the
metal in our steel rails. That ' ' flowing " under such pressure should
occur, would seem inevitable.
Being responsible for the freight equipment and locomotives adopted
for use upon our line, I thought I had given proper attention to wheel
loads, l)ut think now that an error was made in the matter of freight
As to driving wheels of engines, I think we kept fairly within the
limit, with 13 750 pounds on a 64-inch wheel; but a switch engine with
16 000 pounds on a 52-inch wheel leaves its record about the yard in
some good sized steel splinters rolled from the rail heads; but the
pressure here per square inch is but little greater than for 33-inch
wheels under a fully loaded 50 000-poiiud car. We know that the ten-
dency is continually towards heavier cars. Must we not give more
attention to the relation of wheel loads to the bearing surfaces of rails ?
On the one hand is the question of the earlier renewal of rails, extra
cost of heavier cars, and cost of hauling the additional weight of same
when empty or not fully loaded; and on the other hand, the old ques-
tion of percentage of dead load to paying load, which the narrow gauge
124 DISCUSSION ox DESTRUCTION OF RAILS.
agitation justly brought into prominence, and whicli is now the ground-
work of every argument in favor of cars of still greater capacity. Where
is the economical limit ? Except for special tralBc, such as coal, ore,
etc., it is not i^robable that one-fourth the large cars in general service
carry loads averaging so much as 40 000 pounds each. Box cars of
50,000 and 60 000 pounds capacity weigh from 2 000 to 3 000 pounds
more than 40 000 pound cars, and consequently by increased dead
weight, unless they are fully loaded, diminish the revenue obtainable
from the use of a given motive power. The only compensating advan-
tage is in the reduced cost for repairs, or the longer life of the heavier
Thomas KoDD, M. Am. Soc. C. E. ā As of interest in this connection,
in an examination recently made with reference to railway bridges, I
made some inquiries of operating officials, and found that the actual car
loads are often very much higher than either gentleman has spoken of,
both as to single cars and whole trains. I know also of some cases on
roads where long coal trains are hauled, jjarticularly the Baltimore and
Ohio. I cannot say from memory just what the weights of the cars are,
but an idea of it will be had from the fact that the gross weight comes
to very nearly 4 000 pounds per lineal foot. The facts were published
in the Railway Gazette some time during last year.
Upon the roads with which I am connected there are a certain num-
ber of cars (about 50) of 80 000 marked capacity. They are for
special service, bixt have been moved over the entire line. These cars will
weigh about 120 000 gross, and I know of an instance where more than
300 000 pounds net load was loaded on three of them; they are about 30
feet long and have twelve wheels under each; they are generally used
in special service, but are often moved over the line with iron ore.
As to the floAV of material in rails, that has been observed by all
engineers familiar with the operation of railways, and it no doubt occurs
in the way Mr. Dodge has stated. I think, however, that this flow has not
been confined to recent years; it has existed since I have had knowledge
of these matters. In the earlier days ā my earlier days ā sixteen or
seventeen years ago, I observed this flow frequently, especially on the
oiitside rails on curves.
The sections mentioned by Mr. Dodge Avere taken at my instance for
the iise of a Committee of this Society, whose preliminary report has in
it some reference to this flow of metal. There is no question that the
flow does occur to some extent, and has always been present under
Engineers to-day, especially those dealing with the construction and
maintenance of railways, have to face the question of how best to pro-
vide for heavy engines and heavy loads. In the sixteen or seventeen
years I spoke of this question of loads has been constantly brought up.
DISCUSSION ON DESTRUCTION OF RAILS. 125
No year bas passed that I have not heard discussions as to why oper-
ating officials constantly increase loads, thereby placing upon railway
structures a more severe service than that for which they had been most
carefully designed. These discussions have not had the slightest effect.
The loads have been increased, and they will, in all probability, be still
further increased. They have come up from the 10-ton car load of some
sixteen years ago to the 30-ton car load of to-day. Freight cars are
being improved in everyway; patent couplers and air-brakes are coming
into use, and the cost of cars will be largely increased. It follows that
they must be made to do more work and carry more load; we know very
well that an increase in freight car capacity must be followed by an
increase in the hauling power and consequent weight of the engines. I
take it that we have to provide for actual loadings ā not for the present
loads only, but for greater loads than the present; and I feel sure that
any effort to reduce the loads would be futile. Engineers could not,
even should they wish to do so, stand in the way of jDrogress in railway
transportation. For myself, I feel sure that, as regards our track and
bridge superstructure, we should take a bold step forward, and provide
for an inevitable future increase of loads.
In the i^ast our structures have become disabled before they have
given a reasonable service, partly for the reason that, in designing them,
we have used the then present loads, on the insufficient ground that
we had arrived at the maximum weights of cars and engines. I believe
that we have no more ground to assume this to-day than we had at any
time in the last twenty years, and that it is better for the structure to be
made stronger than is required for the present needs, than that it should
be overtaken and found too light in a few years; in other words, it is a
practical question whether we have not been remiss, often, no doubt, for
urgent economical reasons, in providing weights just sufficient for the
present needs, instead of realizing what must come in the near future,
and providing for it.
"What I say here refers more particularly to our railway bridges,
but to a large extent it is true of our rails and other track materials. As
to the bridges, the old expression of "factor of safety" has been largely
dropped, but practically we do design our bridges with a certain fixed
margin for safety. What I would like to see done would be that bridges
should be designed more with reference to a factor of endurance. On
heavy traffic lines iron bridges have had to be renewed generally because
the heavy service and increasing loads have found them to be too light,
either in special parts or in general. When we consider the large amount of
money invested in railway bridges, it certainly seems to me that they
ought to give longer life and better service; and, if only for that reason,
I am in favor of taking a decided step forward, and giving them ample
strength to resist the wear and tear, besides providing a margin for
future increase of loads.
126 DISCUSSION ON DESTRUCTION OF RAILS.
Peroival Roberts, Jr. , M. Am. Soc. C. E. ā I am not myself a rail-
road man, biit one who uses railroad cars. In connection with this dis-
cussion, we speak of the capacity of cars, but I think the railroads do
not take into consideration the manner in which these cars have neces-
sarily to be loaded. They are capable of holding their rated loads when
uniformly distributed, yet those cars are very often loaded so that a
much greater weight comes on certain wheels. I had occasion recently
to load cars of 40 000 pounds capacity with heavy girders which ex-
tended over several cars, and which necessarily had to be carried at two
points only to allow the cars to swing from under when passing around
curves. The cars were loaded much below their rated capacity, say
20 000 pounds per car, and they were unable to sustain the load. So
great a settlement took place that the girdei's had to be removed.
F. W. Skinner, M. Am. Soc. C. E. ā Is it not the general practice to
distribute the load by suitable blocking, so as to throw it ultimately
onto four or more j)oints directly over the trucks? I have loaded, and
seen many j)late-girders, up to 80 feet long, supported on slipping plates
at two points, one near each end, to enable it to ride around curves, and
these i^oints, supported by cross-blocking, distributing the loads among
two to eight points on the car floor.
Mr. Egberts. ā No, I do not think so. You cannot get enough money
from the railroad companies to put up exi^ensive false works. The
strain comes largely upon one point in each car.
A. GoTTiiiEB, M. Am. Soc. C. E. ā In my experience I have known of
parties taking every jiroj^er care to load long, heavy pieces so that the
load shall be properly distributed over parts of the car over trucks.
Mr. Skinner suggested two points of supi^ort from which to distribute
the weight over all the cars by blocking. I had occasion to load some
long i^ieces recently which went over three cars; the center car had no
load at all, the two outside cars had the load properly distributed.
The railroad companies have experienced men who inspect a ear at
every point, and, if the cars are not properly loaded, or if there is any
danger from loading, they certainly refuse to take them out.
Mr. Roberts. ā Does Mr. Gottlieb mean to say that where a car
is loaded the entire weiglit is borne by both trucks, uniformly dis-
Mr. Gottlieb. ā I do not say it is, but it can be made so.
Mr. Roberts. ā I think the best method is to have a car which will
carry the load. I would be glad to know of its construction.
Oberlin Smith, M. Am. Soc. 0. E. ā It seems to me difficult for
a very long girder to be blocked securely over a train of several cars,
with the ordinary blocking, on account of the vertical irregularities
of the train and the swaying of the cars sidewise at diflferent points.
But I think false works may be built without much expense, by making
a timber framing over the truck of each car, which would be elastic in
DISCUSSION" ON" DESTRUCTION OF KAILS. 127
itself, by having Tinder it enough ordinary car-springs to bear the
required weight. By this means the girder would be distributed all
over the train, and the jolting of the cars would be relieved to a great
extent. Of course some of the timbers bolted under the girder must
slide freely upon timbers attached to the car, to allow for lateral motion
in traversing curves. The car springs could be merely borrowed for the
occasion and much of the timber could be afterwards utilized.
Mr. Skinner. ā The expense is small, especially when old ties are
used, as is frequent. In this connci'tion the methods of shipment of the
arch segments of the Harlem Bridge may be interesting from its
novelty. The maximum size of the pieces was about 18 s 11 feet x 20
inches wide, weighing 14 tons. Gondola cars were used, in the floors of
which longitudinal slots about 20 feet long and 30 inches wide were cut.
Through this slot the girder section was suspended, with its lower flange
a few inches above the ties, by A-braces at each end bearing on under-
side of toj) chord, flange, and bolted to 10 or 12-inch transverse horizon-
tal channels fastened to the end of the section and. the sides of the car.
Inclined end braces gave longitudinal steadiness. About twenty cars
were thus fitted, and suflficed to transport all the pieces, over four hun-
dred. The arrangement worked satisfactorily and no complaint was
made of the expense.
Mendes Cohen, M. Am. Soc. C. E. ā I only want to say a few words
on this subject. The question is a general one; it concerns the increase
in weight of rolling stock generally.
There is no doubt that cars have been increased in weight within the
last fifteen or twenty years. The increased life and strength of our road-
beds, due to the general use of steel rails and improved joints, have
made it i:)0ssible for lines of heavy traffic to increase the weight and
l^ower of their locomotives.
On some of these lines, particularly those cf high curvature, and on
others where light grades prevail, economy is found in concentrating
the loads into shorter trains than the increased power of the engines
would permit to be hauled with the old car equijiment. Hence came
the increased Aveight and capacity of the cars. So lone: as these cars,
which ai^pertain mostly to main or trunk lines, are only hauled upon
the lines for which they were devised, no especial inconvenience is com-
plained of from the increased weight per wheel. But as soon as they
diverge from these lines onto less important roads, whose road-beds are
less substantially built, the trouble begins, and the rails and road-beds