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Anyone up on rail technology?

November 7, 2007

Anybody carrying around a cache of railroad technology knowledge?  Is this just a giant rail-slurper, or was it conditioning the rails it picked up somehow?

I’ll do a later post about this thing after I learn more.  There were old rails lying alongside the track in maybe 25-yard lengths.  This contrivance was followed by about a mile of flatcars and preceded by a crane with some workers.  As they came to each old section, they’d cut new bolt-holes with a cutting torch, and bolt the old rail to previous sections on the flatcars and slurp the rail up off the ground in mile-long lengths.  It was the damndest thing to watch…

Holding a short length of rail in my hands, I wouldn’t think it could be very flexible but I suppose it has a natural bend radius like anything else. As the men worked it and the machine slurped it up, it seemed about as flexible as dry spaghetti.  OK, dry spaghetti made of steel and weighing 139 pounds to the yard…

  1. November 7, 2007 at 13:22 | #1

    That’s pretty nifty. Can’t wait to read about it when you learn more.

  2. November 7, 2007 at 23:33 | #2

    DOF:  My dad will know.

  3. November 13, 2007 at 12:58 | #3

    My father sent me an answer, which I promptly lost.  Let me dig it up tonight.

  4. November 13, 2007 at 13:50 | #4

    Found it.

    When welded rail is replacing old type “piece rail”, cars like those pictured sometimes weld pieces to make longer pieces, or cut bolt holes in the rail, or add insulated rail joints (which are needed at road crossing and signal points).  The picture seems to be that type of equipment.

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