Moderator: Otto Vondrak
Marty Feldner wrote:Erie East Buffalo tower was IQ. Perhaps printed reversed?
TrainDetainer wrote:Two reasons - jointed rail and gandy dancers. Back then the track was maintained by hand, tamped either with tamping picks or later with handheld air tamping hammers for gangs. Less stone to move meant easier and faster tamping for track crews - for both tamping and tie replacement. Stone to top edge of ties came about when mechanization came about as the stone is finished by simply brooming the tie tops. Jointed rail also doesn't require the lateral holding strength of top-edge stone with wide shoulders to prevent heat kinks - the joints provide expansion space to reduce stress. Stone was a commodity not to be wasted when things were done by hand (and it costs money). Some RRs like DL&W required track crews to police their ballast after a project, picking up stray/disturbed stone from the cinder sub-ballast, placing it back on the track structure and forming a neat and even ballast edge. Welded rail came around and requires significant lateral holding, particularly in climates where there are extreme temperature swings. The wider the temperature swing, the more stone (wider shoulders) is required. When CSX took over their part of Conrail, they said CR 'over-maintained' it's track, particularly with wide shoulders. They decided 12" shoulders worked for them down south, but after a couple of seasons of excessive heat kinks due to reducing shoulder width during track projects, they came around. A side benefit of lower ballast is that fouled ballast will only rot the bottoms of the ties, leaving the upper portion to shed water completely and hold spikes longer.