2 Questions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Tyson Rayles, May 4, 2003.

  1. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Not sure this is the right place to post being as the questions pertain to real not model trains. For those that didn't see my "Took any other hike" thread, this is 40 lb. rail off a narrow gauge railroad that would have ceased to exsist by the mid 1940's at the latest.

    #1- Why does it have a reddish cast? Is it iron not steel rail? If so what does that say about it's age?

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  2. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    2- Why does it have what appears to be a coating on it? The coating looks and feels metallic but doesn't set off the metal detector and is magnetic. What was/is it's purpose?

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  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    That's what I thought after I saw your original thread, Tyson...it wasn't so much the color that gave it away, as the condition of the metal...
    I'm sure there are others who are much more expert on this subject, but since the development of the steel making process in the late 19th century, most class 1 RR's would have been using this stronger more durable new material pretty soon thereafter...
    However, on secondary branches, & rural short lines, iron rail would have remained, possibly bought as salvage from other RR's.
    I know from my own research that iron rail was in use on some Ky short lines as late as 1933...
    It would be my guess, based on the geographic location, that tour particular logging line there was probably built sometime between 1870, & the turn of the century...? Just my guess. :)

    As for the magnetric coating, I don't have a clue...:confused:
  4. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Tyson, about the chemistry part of your question:

    There are several sorts of iron oxide. Rust is the most common form and well known by its characteristic color(s). The basic chemical formula is Fe2O3 (numbers should be smaller and set low behind 'Fe' and 'O', I know! :D) However there may be changing amounts of water included in the crystal structure of rust, and that accounts for the several hues of rust 'red'.

    But there is another form of iron oxide with the formula Fe3O4. Sorry I don't know its common name in English but you surely can find out in a chemistry text book. (In German it's called 'Hammerschlag' which means hammer-hit.) It is formed when glowing iron is hit with great force, e.g. when a blacksmith forged a horseshoe with his hammer - that's where the German name comes from. And this sort of iron oxide is black and magnetic!

    So the coating on the 'sole' of that rail might be simply a residue from the rolling process, when the rail was fabricated and never cleaned before installing on the track.

    Can't help you much on the history side, but it appears to me that the cross section of that rail also looks very antique. I would also guess that it was fabricated before 1900.

  5. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Guys thanks for the info! Really neat to think we found something (railroad related) that's over 100 years old. If anybody else has any info please post it! :)
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    I wonder if the compound you described is what my chemistry course called "Magnetic iron oxide"?
    I don't have access to my notes and the course was almost 40 years ago. :(
  7. philip

    philip Guest

    he's looking !!

    Tyson, Heck with what that coating is. Look at the left side of that second image you posted about halfway down from the top. It has a haunting face looking down! It plainly show a profile of a ghost from the past!:eek: :eek: :eek: Scares me!!!

  8. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Hmmmmmmm, wonder if he can answer any of my questions? :D :rolleyes: :D
  9. philip

    philip Guest

    Most likely. BOOOOOOO
  10. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Re: he's looking !!

    Hmmmmm...I see it too Phillip but it sorta looks like a dog or a goat to me:D

    "I ain't scarit of no ghost":D :D :D
  11. philip

    philip Guest

    Goat? I aint scarit of no goa t.

    philip.... it never ends.................................................................................;)

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