Neman is correct in that they are "guard rails". Some folks confuse restraining rails as guard rails, but the two are different. Restraining rails just allow for the general width of a flangeway from the travelling rails so as to tightly hold an axle on a properly railed car in place, where guard rails may spread over a few feet, in more of an effort to "catch" an already derailed car. Guard rails on Boston's El consisted of large timber which generally worked pretty well. (I'll have to forget my signature this one time !)
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