• What are these tools? (Spike pullers)

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by devb3
I found these in an old wooden crate along with some assorted LACKAWANNA switch wrenches. Does anyone know what these are called or what they're used for?


The LACKAWANNA wrenches:

  by devb3
Ok, they're spike pullers. Still not sure how they were used though.
  by BR&P
In most places, a claw bar can be used to remove spikes from ties. (A claw bar is also sometimes called a "spike puller"). Those devices you show I learned as "spike lifters" and are used in places where two rails are so close together that a claw bar will not fit. The open part of the spike lifter is placed under the head of the spike, and the claw bar is set on the rail above it with the claw under one of the "knobs" of the lifter. Personally I might like a piece of 1x4 pine under the heel of the claw bar so it does not slip as easily. But the principle is, the claw bar lifts the spike lifter, which pulls the spike up with it.
  by devb3
Ah, that makes sense. I'm familiar with clawbars but I'm not in the track department. Thanks for the answer.
  by 130MM
The top photo shows a two ball spike puller, a three ball spike puller, and a four ball spike puller. They are used as described above.

One response listed them as a "spike lifter". If you follow the link below:

http://www.akrailroad.com/OnlineCatalog ... fault.aspx

and scroll down the page to where one can see the spike puller. Directly below the picture of the spike puller is a picture of the spike lifter. A spike lifter is used where the claw part of the claw bar can't be put under the head of the spike because it is over driven, or was crushed by a wheel during a derailment. The spike lifter is designed to be struck by a sledge. The sharp end wedges up the spike as it is being struck. After the spike is lifted, the claw bar will then fit and the spike can be pulled. Because they get used so infrequently, they tend to get lost, or buried deep in the truck. The usual solution is to drive the claw bar on by hitting its heel with a sledge hammer. This is against the safety rules because of the danger of it spalling, and chips flying off when struck. However, look at most claw bars, and they will have hammer marks on the heel.

I have also heard of them as "donkey d**ks". On the B&M they were called a "veronica"; which, I believe, is a bastardization of the Verona Tool Co.

The other picture shows switch adjustment wrenches used by maintainers to adjust power switches. They are bent to get the heads on the nuts of the switch rods down in the cribs between the headblocks of a switch.

  by Arrestmespi
dog dicks
or donkey dicks depending on size
are the terms on the former B&O