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Rail Questions.
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CHESSIEMIKE
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Rail Questions.
  Rail_with_Knife.jpg - 51293 Bytes
« on: Jun 16th, 2009, 11:18pm »
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Found some rail today. The thing that caught me off guard was its size, it is small. Got any ideas as to weight, and age? I could not find any markings on it. The knife in the photo is 3 1/4" long for reference.
CHESSIEMIKE


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Rail Questions.
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« Reply #1 on: Jun 16th, 2009, 11:20pm »
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Here is an end shot. As you can see, it is so light I'm holding it up in my hand.
CHESSIEMIKE


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Pyronova

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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #2 on: Jun 16th, 2009, 11:39pm »
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So where did you find this rail?  A dump?  India?

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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #3 on: Jun 16th, 2009, 11:47pm »
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on Jun 16th, 2009, 11:39pm, Pyronova wrote:       (Click here for original message)
So where did you find this rail?  A dump?  India?
In my travels to and fro.   It was near an active rail line that has 136lb. rail.
CHESSIEMIKE
 


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ClydeDET
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #4 on: Jun 17th, 2009, 3:17pm »
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Well, you show good taste in pocket knives.  
 
I would suspect a park railroad or maybe an industrial tramway of some sort as the source.
 
Suggestion: Measure the length of the piece of rail and weigh it, and convert to pounds per yard. Taht MIGHT offer some guidance.


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Rail Questions.
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 17th, 2009, 5:14pm »
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Got some measurements off a piece of rail and added them to the "In Hand Photo". A 71 1/2" length weighs 51LBS. Like I said, it is light.
CHESSIEMIIKE


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ClydeDET
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #6 on: Jun 18th, 2009, 3:34pm »
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So right at 25 pounds per yard. I remain of the opinion it is (a) something intended for a park railroad or (b) light industrial usage (say a 2 foot gauge line in a mine shaft or wood kiln or some such). But that is a WAG, not even a SWAG....

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George_Harris
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #7 on: Jun 18th, 2009, 4:17pm »
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From the AREMA Portfolio of Track Plans, Plan No. 1001-03,  "Rail Sections - in use since about 1900":
 
This plan, actually an excel tabulation of dimensions of rail sections from 8 lb/yd through 155 lb/yd, lists something like 260 rail sections.  It is for North America only, and is not an exhaustive list.  I know of a few sections of fairly recent vintage that are not in it, and in the past everybody felt free to do their own thing.  
 
The nearest match in dimensions is a 30 lb/yd ASCE section.  It is 3 inches high and 3 inches base width, with a head width of 1 5/8 inches and a web thickness of 21/64 inch.  Nothing else comes close enough to seem likely for any of the rails on the list.  The base shape looks right for a lightweight ASCE section.  Why your web thickness is less, I am not sure, as it seems unlikely that there would be that much loss of metal due to rusting.  The head shows a good bit of wear, but I doubt it would be as much as 5 lbs/yd metal loss.  The 25 lb/yd sections in the list have base widths of 2 1/2 inch to 2 3/4 inch with heights of 2 3/4 to 2 13/16 inch.  It is likely that this section is in the none of the above category.  There were a lot of "roll your own" sections designed by steel mills, railroad companies or whoever.  
 
The head loss I could try to figure more closely but I would guess around 2 lb/yd or less.  So, I would guess this to be something like a skinnied down section based more or less on the principles used in setting up the ASCE designs that weighed something on the order of 27 to 28 lb/yd when new.  Similar shapes to the ASCE shapes appeared to be fairly common.  It could have been a rail that did not meet spec for 30 lb ASCE due to the thin web, as was sold accordingly.  
 
(ASCE = American Society of Civil Engineers.  They developed a series of standard rail design in 1893 set in 5 lb/yd increments from 40 lb/yd to 100 lb/yd.  Whether by them or others, other weight rails both in between and lower got to be called ASCE rails, probably because they used the same principle of weight distribution between base, web, and head, and the same slope of top of base and bottom of head.  
 
Quoting from William W. Hay's 1953 text, Railroad Engineering, "No uniformity in rail section designs existing prior to 1893.  As many as 300 different sections were being rolled. . . . The (ASCE) designs were characterized by a relatively thin base, by the same width of base and height for any given weight section, the same upper and lower web fillet radii and top corner radii, and by the same distribution ratio of metal in the base, web, and head of 37, 21, and 42 percent respectively."
 
Use of these shapes had an astounding logevity and can be found in many places around the world.


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ClydeDET
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #8 on: Jun 18th, 2009, 6:52pm »
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Can you offer any perspective on the use of the rather light sections, George?
 
Oh - I hear that the HSR stimulus ($9 billion) is likely to go either to California or Chicago. Given the boodler now occupying 1600 Pennsylvania - i might venture a guess as to which one has the "inside track"...


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George_Harris
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #9 on: Jun 18th, 2009, 8:23pm »
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Use of this stuff?  My guess would be most likely in mine or some sort of industrial tramway.  I have no real idea.  
 
The "porkulus" money?  When the thing of where comes up, let us not forget the home base of the chick named Nancy P.  The PRK should get a good slice of the bacon.  Illinois?  Turning the ex-GM&O into a 110 plus mph railroad should not be too difficult for the Illinois bunch.  Should be done with plenty left over to grease the palms being held out.


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #10 on: Jun 19th, 2009, 9:56am »
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on Jun 18th, 2009, 4:17pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
The nearest match in dimensions is a 30 lb/yd ASCE section.  It is 3 inches high and 3 inches base width, with a head width of 1 5/8 inches and a web thickness of 21/64 inch.
21/64 inch equals .328 inch if I do my math right. I measured the web with something a little more accurate and came up with .297 inch. Accounting for rust we are a little closer to the 30lb/yd ASCE section. When did that rail see regular use in the USA?
CHESSIEMIKE


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inch53
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #11 on: Jun 20th, 2009, 9:53am »
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Back in the late 70’s I had a job tearing down the old Terre Haute brewery. Small rail like that was used to move carts round in the brewery house, aging barns, bottling and other buildings.  
I had a 2 ft piece of it for years, but can’t find it now. If I remember right it was bout 3” tall x 2-2 ½” maybe 3” wide and the rails were on bout 3 ft centers.
 
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George_Harris
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #12 on: Jun 21st, 2009, 6:10pm »
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on Jun 19th, 2009, 9:56am, CHESSIEMIKE wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 21/64 inch equals .328 inch if I do my math right. I measured the web with something a little more accurate and came up with .297 inch. Accounting for rust we are a little closer to the 30lb/yd ASCE section. When did that rail see regular use in the USA?CHESSIEMIKE

Sounding more like what you have is 30 lb/yd ASCE.  
 
Something this light would never have seen use in a normal railroad track, no matter how light its use.  Somewhere around 52 to 56 lb/yd is about as light as the stuff can be and still hold up even a light early 20th century freight car and engines.  I have seen some of the 56 lb stuff in track once, quite a few years ago in what had been built as a streetcar track but became a fairly lightly used industriial access track.   Up until the 1970's, at least some parts of the Columbus and Greenville (Mississippi) had some ASCE 60 lb/yd rail in track.  That was determined from measurement, as the mill marks were long gone.


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ehbowen
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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #13 on: Jun 30th, 2009, 4:00am »
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My source is long gone, but I remember reading a story about Schnabel cars in one of the railfan magazines (late '70s-very early '80s). One of the anecdotes they told was of a power company which had to move a very large transformer to some back-of-beyond location out west (might have been on UP, but I can't be sure). The only trackage out to that vicinity was an old branch line, long out of service but never taken up, which was still laid with 56-lb rail from the 19th century. According to the story, rather than try to upgrade the line the railroad decided it would be cheaper to send the load down the track as it was, with a maintenance of way and a wreck gang along to tend to business when and if the track gave out. The punch line was that the train and the transformer made it all the way out to the end of track and back (at walking speed) without ever once going off the rails.
 
Again, this may just be pure rumor, but I found the story intriguing.


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Re: Rail Questions.
 
« Reply #14 on: Oct 28th, 2012, 11:59am »
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Maybe it was used in a factory as a rail for a overhead crane. VERY unlikely but maybe.

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