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Country Discussion Topics
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Laying tracks
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deadcarp    Posted 12-01-2003 at 18:03:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Got to chatting with an old railroader in the cafe today and got some questions answered: in the first place, they have to be a bit fussy about temperatures when laying tracks (they try to lay them about 85 f - otherwise they heat them) to allow for expansion and shrinkage. i guess all modern tracks are welded (cast-in-place really) - they just fit the sections with like a 3/4" gap and start heating the ends of the track. when that's about right they clamp a clay mould on there and heat some more while they're filling the hopper with molten steel. when the hopper's full and things are hot enough, it melts thru a metal disc and dumps itself into the gap all at once. soon as it cools they pull away the clay mould and can start grinding. (and here i'd pictured a buncha certified welders slaving away:) oh, and tracks don't have to be pre-bent for curves, they're floppy enough to follow curves cold. so don't go to hack-sawing a bent one with yer leg in the way - it WILL straighten out:) well that's what i learned today - interesting ay? any railroaers out there? :)

Taylor Lambert    Posted 12-02-2003 at 06:45:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
DC the molten metal process is called THermite welding. It uses thermite and some kind of mixed metal powder like aluminum something else with it itmaybe magnesium. They light it with a concusion and it burns like he!!. I never did get to use this kind of welding but my friend that did it was a demolitions tech in the Army befor he retired to the rail road. He said the thermite was used by special forces to sabotage plants and factories because it could melt large casting like presses nd lathes. He did a demo ona frozen up 400 chevey motor settin it up between the heads. Ive never seen anything that bright or burn through an engine block like that.
I thought Id liketo work for the rail road but I had to work closely with them on a dirt moving job and I couldnt work well with the superintendents.

railroaers? M.R.    Posted 12-02-2003 at 00:00:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Engineer, got away from it in the late eighties.

If an engineer is a hoghead, then the conductor must be the hogs behind.
This fits most of the conductors I know! ;>]

Les    Posted 12-01-2003 at 18:19:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Back in about '73, I helped build a hunk of a little narrow guage track for a tourist attraction. We did it all by hand using second hand ties (interesting to say the least) and rails. If a piece of rail had a curve in it, we wouldn't use it, even if we were on a curve. Used straight rail, spiked them down straight and then just barred them over into place where we wanted them to be. Nobody there knew anything about building railroads. We just sort of learned as we went.

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