Some interesting little items

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by TrainNut, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I was railfanning a bit this past weekend (actually we were hunting geocaches and one happened to be right next to the tracks) in between Flagstaff and Williams, AZ and came across some interesting little bits I thought somebody on here could tell me more about. Each piece is labeled in the first photo with the second and third photos being closeup rail plate connections.
    #1 - obviously a bolt but is it bent like that on purpose and what does it bolt together?
    #2 - A spike.
    #3 - A neat little curly cue attachment doo dad. I see how it attaches as in photo 2 and it seems to be a different way of holding the rail down as opposed to using the spikes but why?
    #4 - I'm not sure what this is or where it is used but it's shape resembels that of #5 which can be seen in the third photo. Clear as mud?
    #5 - Seen in the third photo.... This appears to be some way of keeping the track from sliding along the ties and does not appear to be connected to the rail plate. Wouldn't heat expansion work these things loose after a while or is that what they are trying to prevent.... heat expansion?
    #6 - not a clue as to what this is or where it was used.
    #7 - If you can't figure this one out, your on the wrong site.
    #8 - Not a clue as to what this is either. It has a little wiggle (hard to tell in the photo) right under the #8. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say it was something to do with brakes of some sort.
    #9 - again, some sort of attachment piece but I could find no immediate examples of how it was used.

    Our conclusion was that the railroad was very wasteful and could make a lot of money on salvage steel if it just cleaned up a little. All of these pieces were found within 20 feet of each other and my sister loaded up the back of her truck before finally getting scared off at the thought of being busted by the rail police. I did get one picture of the freight coming through but my little boy stuck his hand up to wave right as I clicked the button and all you can see is a little bit of one engine in between his fingers. Fun weekend!

    Attached Files:

  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    1. Looks like a bolt used in a joint bar. Was there jointed or welded rail on this line? (My guess is welded which would make it pretty old.)

    4, 5, 9. These clips keep the rails from shifting along the ties during expansion and contraction.

    I must say you've got quite a pair for taking all that home with you. Railroads everywhere have always had a problem with people removing metal, still in use or not, and selling it for scrap. If you'd have been caught you surely would've passed the warning stage and been cuffed on the spot.
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I must say, you really know how to make someone realize they are nothing more than pond scum. :cry: Yes, now that you point it out, I realize I was just a common thief. At the time, the only thing I was thinking was, "Look at all the cool stuff they left to rust away! I need to share this with the guys on The Gauge!" I did not think they would miss a few pieces. However, if I took a few pieces thinking this and the next several hundred rail fans did the same, that's going to add up. Rest assured, I plan to make amends for my ignorance... maybe a small donation or something... have to think about that.
    Okay, now that I'm done beating myself up... what is their protocol for cleaning up after themselves? Like I said, we found literally at least a ton of stuff in a very short span. If you add that up, the amount left behind is staggering. I realize that they do, but it seems that they don't care. Possibly it is just a local thing. If that bolt is as old as you guestimated, it seems they have not cleaned up for quite some time. If I as a railroad left all that money laying around on the ground, I would certainly clean it up before someone else did. Seems like someone got lazy and missed that last step.
  4. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Bryan has a way with words, doesn't he ;)

    Not a common thief - a thief of knowledge. You wanted to know what these things were and share them with others. You didn't want any of it for your private collection, realizing that it is merely 'cool stuff they left to rust away!'

    I don't believe it's simply local. UP has a main line through my town and it's constantly littered with rail debris. There is a tunnel on the edge of town that the kids often frequent (myself included, years ago) with litterally piles of scrap metal. I have no idea how often they come through and clean it up, but in our area spikes get mixed into the ballast and essentially lost to the railroad. I even see long strips of rail piled up along side the mainline quite often, left there for years.

    I don't believe taking an item or two occationally is going to draw attention, but simply being there even if you take nothing at all is illegal. It is trespassing and they do have the right to prosecute. Just don't be blatent about it and the railroad won't be mean. They know you're there to watch and admire and they definitely don't want bad public relations. And bad PR is the same reason they might get upset about you being there. The last thing they want is an injury.

    Respect the railroad and the railroad will respect you. Same as anything.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I think LM has really hit the nail (spike?) on the head. The railroad's primary concern is probably the safety of the public on what is private property, or at least the "bottom line results" that might result if there's an accident.

    The few cents worth of metal you can haul away without giving yourself a hernia is a much lower priority. I must admit that there are lots of tempting things out there that for all intents and purposes appear to be abandoned - rail, spikes, bolts, ties, tie plates, locks, signs, utility pole insulators, etc, etc.

  6. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Another Geocacher

    Cool, another cacher! Wonder how many more of us there are here?
  7. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

  8. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I left a message for the Local contact for Director of Public Affairs of the BNSF in Arizona stating what it was that had occured and that I wanted to make amends by sending in a small donation check. So far no response. Sooo either it was no big deal and will be forgotten or they are coming after me and y'all will never hear from me again!
  9. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    Wished I had my camera with me the other day. On the New Haven line in Stratford, CT I saw a work crew with a fair sized crane car. The crane was fitted with a huge electromagnet at the end of it's boom. Hard to believe he was operating it in such a tight space under the overhead electric lines. The crane was moving along picking up scrap with the magnet, swinging over and dropping the scrap onto a flat car. The flat car had some low sides staked on it and the pile was already over the top. Was wondering how he avoided the rails with the magnet.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Item 3 is a Pandrol (tm) clip. European origin. Note that the tie plate in photo 2 is bolted down. The clip is then banged in from the side and has spring tension on it. They are used with non-wooden ties and in other modern trackwork. There are no spikes to work loose.
    The under-rail clips are used to keep the rail from moving. If you look at track, you'll find that they are placed next to the tie to oppose rail movement in braking and acceleration -- if you have a double track passenger platform they'll be on one side coming in and the other going out.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I suspect one reason that so much scrap is left around the right of way is due to the cost of clean up when the railroad is paying union wages for railroad employees. In the case of BNSF, if it is on the mainline, the line probably has way too much traffic to fit a slow train with an electro-magnetic crane to pick up scrap metal.

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