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 Post subject: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:51 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:30 pm
Posts: 6
Thought I would share this, On a recent project I was on that was a drainage issue for the Township, we discovered an old box culvert that was made of limestone and railroad ties, it ran toward the old Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific rail yard. We had to access the property to find how and where it went. The property which is all fenced in and now is a junk yard still has one of the sanding towers and the locomotive building, the turn table was filled in, but to my amazement the rails were still in place. I'm not sure why, (since it was a junk yard) but here's a photo of a piece of one (see link below) I couldn't find and other info on the rails, just this piece with a date, since most were buried up to the top, I guess over the years of fill added and to make it easier for the fork lifts to move around the junk cars.
I have a little more info about the area below the photo

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=460696

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:04 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:07 pm
Posts: 436
Full knowledge of a rail sample would included not just the date, but the "Mill Mark" as well, the ID of the mill that rolled the rail. A further bit of information is the ID of the rail section, such as "100RB" that tells the weight per yard and the exact configuration of height, width, and other dimensions.

As for 100 year old rail being something special in this hobby, not so. Lots of heritage rolling stock is past the century mark and lots of rail much older is still in use. While exploring the Ely-Thomas Lumber Co.'s yard at Fenwick, WV in the 1960s I found rail that had been rolled in Sheffield, England in 1868. My own 24" gauge operation (since dismantled) used some 20 lb rail rolled in 1880 to 1896. While Pennsylvania Trolley Museum was dismantling portions of a PAT trolley line in the 1990s we found rail as old as 1878 still in use as guard rails. That rail had to date from the Pittsburgh & Castle Shannon RR 40" ga. line that preceded the Pittsburgh Railways Co. trolley line on that same grade. Our own trolley line until recently still ran on 70 lb rail originally laid on our grade in 1902/03 by PRCo predecessor Washington & Canonsburg Street Railway. Some rail just as old still serves PTM, buried in the concrete floors of our various buildings.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:33 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:29 pm
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Location: Youngstown, OH
Rails buried in concrete for transfer car tracks in mill buildings have been a fruitful source of old rail for me. A few years ago I found a Cammel Sheffield steel rail rolled in 1881 and marked for the LS&MS in the floor of a mill building in Masury, OH. And just last week I found a section of wrought iron pear rail that had been buried in what was the American Steel & Wire Co. plant between the Carrie Furnaces hot metal bridge and the Rankin Bridge.

That piece of pear rail has me baffled, and I am wondering when did pear rail go out of style. I am thinking that it must have been rolled in the 1860s or 1870s at the latest as steel rails were rapidly supplanting iron by then. In the photo the left rail is the pear rail and the right one is the 1881 "Cammel Sheffield Toughened Steel 1881 LS&MSRY" rail.


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Rick Rowlands
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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:36 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:50 pm
Posts: 1383
That rail is just a young pup. Rail is one item that lasts about forever, especially what were heavy mainline sections from early in the last century, that were downgraded to secondary lines, then to industry and service track.

I seem to recall that IRM has some 56# rail rolled in the 1880's in the trackage in one of the barns, Barn 3 IIRC. The rail came out of a local gravel pit, but was likely mainline rail on the C&NW Belvidere Branch when new.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:11 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 67
The Arcade & Attica has a lot of rail marked 1890.

Still being used 123 years later...


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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:37 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:56 pm
Posts: 158
Location: Norwalk, Ohio
Rick, I now remember seeing a photo of your LS&MS marked rail i think on some machinist website several years ago and at the time i didn't know it was you that found it. I had never heard of or seen a section of rail with LS&MS marked on it before that. Back in Sept. of 2002 in the river at Ashtabula,Ohio burried under stones at the site of the train disaster site under the current 1904 built bridge i found a end pc. of broken rail that had part of the Sheffield, then Toughened Steel on it but unfortunately whatever else that was marked maybe the RR and year would have been past the break.

It was drilled with 2 holes at the end for a 4 bolt fishplate and the rail size was maybe 75 - 80 lb. size? It alway's had me wondering if it was from the bridge that fell and i wished it would have had the year mark on it. I've since found out it most likely wasn't from the bridge as the 1877 Joint Committee report regarding the bridge and train disaster states that the rail on the bridge at the time had 2 bolt fish plates. I have however found a few old rusty 2 bolt fishplates at the site since. There were also tie plates made with LS&MS marked on them, i'm not sure what year they came about and they are for larger 105 lb. rail. I bought one from a antique dealer a few years ago as i had never seen one of those. A friend of mine that volunteers for the Ashtabula Carson & Jefferson RR since told me that some of those tie plates are still in use on the line today.

On my explorations of old abandoned RR's i have found several broken pcs. of pear rail over the past 20 years. One line close by that was a quarry line built by the LS&MS Ry in the early 1870's from Ceylon to Berlin Heights utilized old pear rail and the old rail chairs for connecting the rail joints. I found a full length or close to pc. of pear rail least 20ft. wich is still hidden and burried. It even has the H plate looking rail chair attached at one end where the rail is notched for the spikes to go thru the plate and keep the joint tight. I'm guessing that when the old iron pear rail was replaced with newer rail on the main lines it was utilized on the quarry line when it was built in the early 1870's.

I've also found broken pcs. of pear rail along other old RR lines discarded along the row's and in one case along a CH&D line west of Chilicothe, Ohio it was even used as pilings at a river crossing in the river bank. Of all the pcs. i've found and brought home none have mill markings on them. Has anyone else on here ever found any pear rail with mill markings? I think that CPRR history online website has some photo's of some imported pear rail with mill markings. I do have other old T rail with mill markings and the oldest one i have is from the Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. from Sept. 1872. The oldest pc. of rail i've seen still in use along the NS while at work was some small old rail at our 3 track Benson Yard down in Bucyrus, Ohio that is marked 1895. It's interesting what's still out there to be found.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:04 pm
Posts: 58
Location: PA
A few sticks of 1870 & 1872 rail have made it as guards for bridges.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:09 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:50 pm
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Railway museums, at least those that had to develop their own trackage, are a good place to see antique rail. The sixties - seventies era when these museums were developing coincided with the move to first 70T, then 100T freight cars. This led the railroads to revise their specifications for what was allowable for constructing new industrial trackage. Where once just about any old rail was allowable, by the seventies, most roads would not allow sections lighter than 100#; I just recently saw that the UP now won't allow sections lighter than 115#. That means that a lot of still serviceable rail became worthless except for scrap, and thus ripe for donation.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:10 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:52 pm
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Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
During our drive to Colorado Springs for the 2008 ARM conference, our group stopped off at Holdredge, Nebraska to visit the ex-CB&Q depot there. As shown in the general photo of the depot, the railing is made of old T-rail: Joliet 1887 52 lb. I took a close-up of the markings on the web of a section of the rail. This must have been put down when Native Americans were still about and the Burlington's standard power was 4-4-0s. While not being used as it was intended, this rail still serves the railroad in another capacity.

Holdredge is a stop for Amtrak's California Zephyr. There is also a caboose and a couple of pieces of track maintenance cars on display just to the east of the depot and at the time a heavyweight obs or PV to the west.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:50 pm
Posts: 1383
Anyone who wants to delve into the complexities of historic rail sections should download this list:

http://www.lbfoster-railproducts.com/rail_pdf_profiles/LBF_Relay_Grading_Specs_Handbook.pdf

You'll note in the area around 100# per yard, there are a lot of rails marked for individual railroads; this is because the demand for heavier rails had outstripped the older ASCE specifications (which were reputed to not work well for 90# and 100# sections) and the ARA had not yet released their recommendations, leading a lot of roads to design their own. I don't specifically see LS&MS listed, but those are likely Dudley sections, named for the designer, who was, IIRC, Chief Engineer of the NYC. Some of the Dudley sections are listed in this catalog as "NYC Dudley", likely because that's how the rail is marked; not a far stretch that rail rolled for use on the LS&MS was marked with that road's initials.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:49 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:50 pm
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Jim Vaitkunas wrote:
...As shown in the general photo of the depot, the railing is made of old T-rail: Joliet 1887 52 lb. I took a close-up of the markings on the web of a section of the rail. This must have been put down when Native Americans were still about and the Burlington's standard power was 4-4-0s. While not being used as it was intended, this rail still serves the railroad in another capacity.


I dare say that rail has fared better than the mill that rolled it:

http://www.reconnectwithnature.org/preserves-trails/Joliet-Iron-Works

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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:25 pm
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Jim Vaitkunas wrote:
During our drive to Colorado Springs for the 2008 ARM conference, our group stopped off at Holdredge, Nebraska to visit the ex-CB&Q depot there. As shown in the general photo of the depot, the railing is made of old T-rail: Joliet 1887 52 lb. I took a close-up of the markings on the web of a section of the rail. This must have been put down when Native Americans were still about and the Burlington's standard power was 4-4-0s. While not being used as it was intended, this rail still serves the railroad in another capacity.

Holdredge is a stop for Amtrak's California Zephyr. There is also a caboose and a couple of pieces of track maintenance cars on display just to the east of the depot and at the time a heavyweight obs or PV to the west.

Thanks!


Jim -

Thanks for posting the photo of the section of 52# rail made at Joliet in 1887. The "VIII" after the year probably means it was rolled in the 8th month, or August, of that year. This is the first I have seen of the Roman numerals used to indicate the month rolled. The rail sections I have seen would just have had 8 I's ("IIIIIIII") to indicate the eighth month. I wonder if this indication was peculiar to Joliet or if other producers once used the Roman system.

BTW, Joliet Iron Works eventually became part of American Steel & Wire and eventually fell under the control of U.S. Steel where it was known as USS-Joliet. I don't know how long Joliet actually rolled rail, but at the end of their existence they were making wire products including nails, barbed wire, steel fence posts, etc.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:37 pm 
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Location: San Mateo California
I stopped by Ardenwood for a few minutes today... the first rail I looked at was 1881... (it was laid in the last week as part of the yard associated with the new building... ) We use a mix of 40-56lb, most salvaged from a feed lot railroad system near Santa Maria... we suspect that most was used off the CP/SP, Likely early steel replacing original iron (on the Central Pacific), or original construction (on SP).... to Pacific Coast, to the feed lot, to us...

I don't believe we have found anything older than 1881, but most is pre-1890...

We have heard rumors of rail getting brittle with age, but in 30 years have only had a single rail shatter...

Randy

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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:25 am
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Here's some 100 year old steel still in service. It's on a remnant of the Pacific Electric San Bernardino Line in Rialto CA. There's also some 1906 Carnegie 70 or 75 lb. rail at the tail end of the PE remnant in Azusa.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 year old rail
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:00 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:07 pm
Posts: 436
Here's another example of rail that had a long life. While chasing the Wellsville Addison & Galeton RR in the 1960-70s I found that every stick of rail I had occasion to check was from the 1893 original construction of the line. Most of it showed little sign of wear, suggesting that traffic on the line had always been light. The rail was still being trodden upon by WAG's 132 ton GE centercabs and the successor F7s. I never heard of any rail breakage problems in talks with WAG personnel. Must have been good stuff to begin with.


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