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have the same strength as the rail itself, but such a joint
has not yet been devised. A vast amount of time and
money has been expended upon the development of rail
fastenings. Iron chairs and fish-plates, once in universal use,
have disappeared. The angle splice shown in section at C,
Fig. 489, is generally accepted as the best rail fastening yet
invented. The prerequisite of a good rail fastening is a
strong shoulder which will closely fit under the head of the
rail, and a broad base closely fitting the base of the rail and
extending its entire width, reaching down so as to bear upon
the tie. The plates do not fit closely to the web of the rail,

\t 3'-0- >f

FIG. 491.

but are curved as shown in the section C. The holes in the
plates as well as those in the rails are oblong so as to admit
of the expansion and contraction of the rails due to changes
of temperature.

Bolts should be of a size suited to the weight of the rail,
though there is small danger of getting them too heavy.
Track bolts are usually fitted with nut-locks of either metal
or fiber. Trackmen should avoid straining the bolts when
setting up the nuts. A half turn of the wrench after the
nut has come to a bearing is sufficient. Though there are
still some railroad men who strongly adhere to the supported
joint, yet general experience has abundantly proved the


superiority of the suspended joint. The angle splice in gen-
eral use on trunk lines is 3 feet in length, carries 6 bolts, and
complete weighs from 40 to GO pounds. The joint is sus-
pended, and the ends of the splices also come midway
between ties, as in Fig. 491.

The angle splices should be slotted and spikes driven
through them into the tie to prevent the creeping of the
rails. In the suspended joint there are two slots in each
splice, as shown in Fig. 489, and in the supported joint but

Spike slots in the rails are not admissible, as they prevent
the full expansion and contraction of the rails.


16O7. Care in Unloading Steel. Rails are often
bent in consequence of careless handling. There is no ex-
cuse for either foremen or workmen for this. The rails are
unfit for laying until straightened, but they are often laid
in a bent state, giving a bad surface and line. The surest
remedy is proper handling. The rails are always loaded
properly at the rolling mill, and the kinks are put in them
either in transfer or in delivering on the grade. When rails
are to be transferred from one car to another, rails of suit-
able length should be used as skids upon which the rails to
be transferred are pushed from one car to another. When
from scarcity of flat cars, rails are shipped in box cars,
rollers are placed in the end doors of the box car, and the
rails are rolled as they are transferred. The rails should
always be placed in regular order, as shown in Fig. 492.

FIG. 492.

In unloading, there should be enough men to handle the
rails with ease and dispatch. The rail should be lifted clear


of the car floor and carried to the edge of the car. All
should be ready, and at the word, the rail dropped clear of
the car so that it will fall in the position shown in Fig. 493,
in which position the danger of kinking is entirely avoided.
Other men should stand on the ground removing each rail
as soon as it drops,' so that one rail shall not fall on top of
another. Rails must not be dropped from the cars on rock
or loose stones, but on dirt, which will insure their safety.

None but the best men should be employed on the steel
car. They should be strong physically, understand plain
English thoroughly, and be prompt and active. When
men, because of difference of nationality, fail to readily
understand each other, confusion is sure and accident
almost certain to follow. The same gang of men should
handle all the steel. If the track laying is to be rushed, at
least two, and better three, steel cars should be provided,
Avhich permits of one being constantly at the front. As
soon as a load of steel is transferred from the flat car to the
steel car, a team of horses should be hitched to it and the
car hauled to the front. The steel men at the front, having
unloaded their car, return with it until they meet the loaded
car. They then lift their empty car from the rails to the
side of the track, allowing the loaded car to pass. The
steel men push the loaded car the balance of the way unless
the grade is heavy enough to require a team.

Steel cars should be light and strong, and capable of
carrying a heavy load. The car should be of such weight
as to be readily handled by the steel crew. The wheel base
should be 8 inches in width, so that the car may pass safely
over rough and poorly gauged track.

16O8. Straightening Rails. If from any cause,
rails should be bent, they should be carefully straightened

before being placed in the track. If kinked, i. e., bent lat-
erally as shown in Fig. 494, they may be straightened by



nicking the flange of the rail with a cold chisel on the con-
vex side of the rail at the point A where the bend is the
sharpest. Then, laying the rail on its base, a few sharp
blows with a sledge on the side of the head of the rail at
the point A will remove the kink. Kinks may also be
removed by means of a rail bender or jim crow, shown
in Fig. 495. The jim crow consists of two heavy hooks

a and b, which fit over the head of the rail. The curved
bar c, which unites these hooks, is drilled at its crown, and
threaded to receive the screw d. The cross-bar c unites with
the two hooks a and b, and serves as a guide to the screw d.
Force is applied to the screw by means of the wrench /",
having a long handle.

If surface-bent, as shown at A in Fig. 406, they are easiest

straightened with the jim crow. The straightening of
the rails before laying will avail but little unless the ties are



well bedded, and all of the rails given a good bearing when
the track is laid.

16O9. Curved Rails. Rails laid on curves should
always be curved before being placed in the track. When
laying track on new road, it is a much better policy to curve
the rails in the material yard before forwarding to the track-
layers. The material foreman should have a list of the
curves in the same order in which they occur in the track.
He should be able to determine the middle and quarter
ordinates of a 30-ft. rail for any degree of curve, and should
curve each rail accordingly. His list
of curves will give the station of the
P. C. and P. T. of each, from which
he will determine the length of each
curve and the number and length of
rails required for each. These rails
should be marked with the number of
the degree of the curve for which they
are intended, and the rails for each
curve should be kept separate from the
other rails by pieces of board, so as to
prevent any confusion when they ar-
rive at the front. One 29^-foot rail is
laid for each 6 of angle in the curve;
hence, for a curve with a central angle
of 30, the number of 29^-ft. rails re-
in laying the track,

... 30
quired is = 5.

the short rails should be equally dis-
tributed throughout the curve. The
rails are curved either with a rail ben-
der, shown in Fig. 495, or by the aid
of a track lever and curving hook,
shown in Fig. 497.

The latter process is as follows : A FIG. 497.

tie A is placed under each end of the rail B which is to
be curved. A hook C is placed under the main track rail



between two ties, at about 6 feet from the end of the
rail to be curved. The track lever D is then let into
the hook C, and the men pry down upon the rail B,
giving it the required curve. The quarter points should
always be curved before the center, as it often happens that
the center curves with the quarter points, thus saving time.
The practice of curving rails by dropping them across
two ties, or pounding them with a sledge hammer, can not
be too severely condemned. By the former method, an
angle instead of a curve is often put in the rail, and sledging
is liable to break a rail outright, or, at least, put a flaw
in it which may result in actual fracture when laid in the
track. Some of the worst accidents on record have been
caused by broken rails, weakened by hard usage while being
curved. The following table contains a list of curves and
tangents and the number and lengths of rails required for
each. With such a list, the material foreman can forward
the rails curved and assorted. His facilities for curving
rails should be of the best, and with a skilled gang of
men he can turn off much more, and better work than
would be possible at the front :


No. of

No. of




Rails Re-

Rails Re-




40 + 90

End of track.

25 + 50

P. T.

43 12'



20 + 10

P. C. 8 L.




14 + 80

P. T.

10 + 60

P. C. GR.

25 12'



161O. Assorting Rail Lengths. Rails of different
lengths should never be laid promiscuously. The short


rails should be piled by themselves in the supply yard and
forwarded to the track-layers in such order and numbers as
they may require. On curves, as the inner rail forms a
smaller circle than the outer rail, it is sure to gain, and to
maintain the joints in the same relative position, this gain
must be compensated by the use of short rails. A list of
the curves and the number of short rails required for each
should be given to the supply foreman, whose business it is
to forward the track material in the order named on the
list. This table shows how the material foreman makes out
his list.


1611. In laying track, provision must be made for
expansion and contraction of the rails, due to changes of
temperature. As the temperature rises the rail lengthens,
and unless sufficient space is left between the ends of the
rails to allow for the expansion, the ends of the rails abut
one against another with such force as to cause the rails to
kink or buckle, marring the appearance of the track and
rendering it unsafe for trains, especially those running at
high speeds. If, on the other hand, too much space is left
between the rails, the contraction or shortening of the rails
due to severe cold may do equally great harm by shearing off
the bolts from the splice bars, leaving the joints loose and
unprotected. The coefficient of expansion, i. e., the amount
of the change in the length of an iron bar due to an increase
or decrease of 1 F. is taken at .000000,% per degree per unit
of length.

EXAMPLE. If an iron rod measures 30.015 ft. at a temperature of
90, what is its normal length, assuming 60 as the normal tempera-
ture ? The temperature of the bar must be 90" 60 = 30 above the
normal temperature.

SOLUTION. As the increase in length is .00000686 ft. per degree for
each foot in length of the bar, the total increase for 1 foot of the bar
due to a rise of 30" in temperature is .00000686 X 30 = .0002058 ft., and
for 30 ft. the increase in length above the normal is .0002058 X 30
.006174 ft , or about ^ of an inch. As the rail at a temperature of 90



measures 30.015 ft., of which length .00617 ft., say, .006 ft., is due to
expansion, the normal length of the rail is 30.015 .006 = 30.009 ft.


To provide against the effects of expansion, an opening
is left between the ends of the rails, and to provide against
contraction, the holes in both rail and splice bar are made
oblong, allowing about inch for extreme movement. The
following table of expansion is a safe guide to track-layers
for most latitudes in the temperate zones:


When Laying Track.

Space to be Left
Between Ends of Rails.

At 90 above zero

y 1 ^ of an inch.

At 70 above zero

of an inch.

At 50 above zero

T \ of an inch.

At 30 above zero

^ of an inch.

At 10 above zero
At 10 below zero

T 5 -g of an inch,
f of an inch.

To give to the track the proper opening at the joints,
expansion shims are used. They are made of iron, and
are of various forms. A simple and effective shim is made
by bending a piece of ^-inch iron into the form of a right
angle, as shown in Fig. 498. This gives a combination

1 shim of two thicknesses,

viz., ytg- and inches.
After the angle is formed,
the yig-inch shim is ob-
tained by hammering

the -inch bar to the re-

FIG - 498 - quired thickness. The

thickness of each shim should be clearly stamped upon it.
When put in place, the shim reaches the full depth of the
head of the rail, and the bent portion lies flat on the top of the
rail. The shims should not be removed until the joint is



full bolted, and there should be a sufficient number of them
on hand to keep the track-layers constantly employed, and
not require them to wait until shims can be removed from
bolted joints.


1612. There is no part of the track laying more likely
to suffer from carelessness than the spiking. A spike, to
be driven properly, should be started in a really vertical
position. The spikes at the joints, centers, and quarters of
the rail should be driven first. The right-hand rail is usual-
ly spiked first. The gauge is then placed on the fixed rail,
and the free one brought to the gauge and spiked.

The common and slovenly custom of driving spikes at an
angle should not be tolerated. An almost equally pernic-
ious custom is to drive the spike with the track at loose
gauge and then bending the head so as to give the rails their
proper gauge.

First see to it that the free rail is brought to the gauge.
Then start the inside spike a little removed from the base
of the rail, the head inclined slightly backwards. Having
started the spike, a good blow will bring it to a vertical
position, after which the blows should be delivered vertically
upon the head. The last blow should slightly draw the head
towards the rail base. Where the gauge is widened on curves,
a special gauge should be provided and the eye not trusted
to give the proper increase in gauge. Spikes should not be
driven in the middle of the tie, especially in severe freez-
ing weather, as they are
liable to split it, but at
from 2 to 3 inches from
the outside of the tie,
where the wood is sure to F
be sound and the grain less

The proper arrangement
of the spikes in the tie is
shown in Fig. 499. Ties spiked in

this fashion can not



become skewed, and the track, in consequence, thrown out
of gauge.

In spiking, the tie must be held firmly against the base
of the rail. If from any cause the rail does not lie directly

upon the tie, the tie must be held against the rail with a
nipping bar, shown in Fig. 500.

The ends of the ties should be spaced at a uniform distance
from the rail, both for the sake of appearance and to give
to the rail a uniform foundation. A gauge made of hard
wood and meeting this requirement is shown at A and B in
Fig. 501.

The spiker first places the gauge upon the tie with its
head close against the end of the tie, as shown at A. The

PIG. 501.

base of the rail is then brought against the end of the gauge
and the inside spike started. The gauge is then removed
and the outer spike started, and both driven home. The
other rail being spiked to a proper gauge will make the rails
equidistant from the ends of the ties. The gauging of the
ties is too often done by guesswork, as is evinced by a
ragged line.

1613. Spiking Bridge Ties. Holes should be bored
in bridge ties to receive the spikes instead of driving the


spikes directly into the tie. As bridge ties are sawed, they
are often cross-grained and liable to split unless holes are
bored for the spikes. The diameter of the spike holes should
be about -^ inch less than the diameter of the spike, so that,
in driving, the hole will be completely filled with the fiber of
the wood.

1614. Pulling Spikes. When a spike is to be drawn
from a tie in frosty weather, or from an oak tie at any time
of year, it should always be given a light blow with a spike
maul before using the claw bar. The blow breaks the hold
which the wood has upon the spike, and permits of the spike
being drawn with safety. Without this precaution the
spike is liable to break off under the head. The instrument
for drawing spikes is called a claw bar, and is shown in
Fig. 502. Its weight is about 25 Ib. The end a of the claw

bar is divided like the claw of a carpenter's hammer and the
bar bent into a goose-neck to increase the distance through
which the opposite end b can move. In drawing a spike
care should be taken that the claw is well under the spike-
head before a strain is put upon the bar. When only the
lip of the claw is under the head, there is great danger of
the claw being broken, especially if a heavy stress is put
upon it. When the spike is driven so deeply into the tie
that the claw can not be forced under it, the end b of the
claw bar, which is wedge-shaped, may be forced under the
spike-head, lifting it so the claw may be used.

1615. Gauging Track. In track laying, no part of
the work should receive more careful attention than the
gauging of the track.- A track gauge, to be in proper
position, must be at right angles to the center line of the


track, and with this fact in view the gauge shown in Fig.
503 was devised. The gauge consists of two U-shaped cast-
ings connected by a short iron pipe which is threaded at
both ends, and screws into them. The castings have lugs
on their under sides, as shown at A and B. The distance
A B between the lugs determines the gauge. A line drawn
across the faces of the gauge lugs is at right angles to a
line drawn through the center of the iron pipe. To place
the gauge at right angles to the center line of the track,
bring both lugs shown at C against the head of the rail. A
notch filed in the gauge at D marks the center of the track.

Never crowd the gauge in spiking the rails. Let the rails
only touch the gauge marks. Place the gauge about eight
inches ahead of the tie to be spiked. This places the gauge
out of danger of the spiking hammers, and insures a perfect


1616. As soon as the track is full bolted and spiked, it
is put into surface. This is an easy matter where the ties
have been bedded to grade, and requires much less material
than where they have been placed upon the roadway and
the rails spiked to them without any attempt at grade. If
the track is to be earth ballasted, the material is taken
from the shoulder of the roadway. If cinders, gravel, or
broken stone is to serve as ballast, construction trains
should furnish the material as fast as it is needed.

Ordinarily, earth is used on new lines, as the finances of


the company seldom warrant the use of costlier material.
It is only on prairie lines that sufficient ma-
terial can be borrowed from the roadway
to put the track in permanent surface, but
in most cases enough is available to place

the track in safe condition for the full
operation of the construction train.

The tools used in surfacing are the
track jack, shovel, and tamping bar.
The track jack, which takes the place
of the ancient track lever, is one of the
most economical and indispensable of

the trackman's tools. One of the best track jacks on the
market is that made by Joyce, Gridland & Co., of Canton,
Ohio, and is shown in Fig. 504.

This jack is simply and strongly made. The foot A of
the jack is placed between the ties with the lug B under the
rail. By means of the lever C the toothed bar D is raised.
The lug B forms a part of the bar D, the two forming one
casting, and, consequently, in moving together, carry the
rail with them. A tripper E is so arranged that if desired
the bar D may be made to drop instantaneously. In using
the jack it should always be placed on the outside of the rail
with the lever pointing from the track. Numerous acci-
dents have been caused by misplaced track jacks, some of
them entailing great loss of life and property.

The track is raised to grade with the jack, and the ma.-
terial deposited with the shovel. Many trackmen use
only the shovel blade in surfacing track for the first time,
and this is probably the wiser policy, as the prime object of
the first surfacing is to make the- track safe for the


construction train, and any work which unnecessarily delays
the construction train is manifestly unwise. There should
be no confusion in the work as a result of changing work.
Each man should be assigned to his special work and
required to do it.

1617. Lining Track. As soon as the track has a
safe surface, it must be brought to line. This is done with
lining bars, shown in Fig. 505.

In lining, the trackmen with bars are placed at the joints,
quarters, and centers of the rails nearest a center stake.

Weight, 27 V 2 Ib.

FIG. 505

The foreman places the gauge on the track at the center stake
and orders the track thrown until the center mark on the
gauge coincides with the tack in the center stake. He then
moves his men to another center stake and repeats the
operation. Having placed the track on center at the
stakes for 300 or 400 feet, he lines in the intermediate por-
tions by eye. He should then check the line at the center
stakes to make sure that the track has not moved while lin-
ing the intermediate portions by eye. It is needless to say
that if the ties have been laid to a tie line, the track will
not require any lining until after the first surfacing.

1618. Final Surfacing. After the construction
train has run over the track for a few days, the track will
show numerous low places, especially at the joints. A sur-
facing crew should then go over the line, putting the track
in good surface. The material required for the final surfa-
cing can be borrowed from the roadway or obtained by
widening and ditching the cuts. That required for the
track in the cuts is shoveled directly from the ditch into the
track, while that required for the embankment should be
hauled by the gravel train. This plan is in every way bet-
ter than to borrow the material from the embankment.


The freezing and thawing of the following winter will cause
the slopes of most cuts to break and cave, filling the ditches
with heavy mud, which must be removed to make the track
safe. Hence, the removal of this material for surfacing at
the time of track laying is practically clear gain

In the final surfacing, all ties should be thoroughly tamped.
This is best done with the tamping bar shown in Fig. 506.

An excellent substitute for the tamping bar is the iron-
handled shovel, which serves both purposes of the shovel
and tamping bar. When using them, the foreman can
spread out his forces, giving to each man his share of ties,
and thus obtaining equal service from all. When the ties
are to be hard tamped, the tamping bar is the tool for
effective service. The ballast should be tamped under the
tie, throughout the entire length, but hardest at the points
directly under the rails, where the load is heaviest. In case
the ballast midway between rails is tamped the hardest,
there is danger of the ties being broken in two at the middle
by a heavy train. This danger is especially great when the
ties are of soft wood.

The object of ballasting track is not only to secure a firm
foundation for the ties, but to so bed them that the track
shall not be thrown out of line by the lateral thrust of pass-
ing trains. That mode of ballasting is best which most com-
pletely beds the ties and at the same time provides for the
prompt removal of all water which falls upon the roadbed.

In filling in the track the material should be deposited in
the middle of the track and not against the rails. It should
be raised to a height of about 2 inches above the ties at
their middle point A (see Fig. 507), and sloped towards the
ends of the ties. Its surface at the inside line B of the rails
should be such as to permit the shovel to be passed freely
underneath the rail between the ties, and the slope


continued to the end of the tie where it should just meet the
base of the tie. Outside of the ties, the shoulder CD should
continue at a slope of 1 inches to the foot to the edge of

Online LibraryInternational Correspondence SchoolsThe elements of railroad engineering (Volume 2) → online text (page 30 of 35)