Welded Rail

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Jun 28 10:17:09 EDT 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
To: NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sent: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 10:05 am
Subject: Re: Welded Rail

Other than in the two exceptions cited (grade crossings and sharp curves), were the first installations of longer sections of welded rail welded piecemeal from existing 39 foot rail, or was the jointed rail simply replaced with new, continuous rail?

Matt Goodman
Columbus, Ohio

Usually, new welded rail replaced the jointed rail. Rail was shipped in 39-foot sections
to fit into 40' gondolas. Usually the new rail wasn't pre-punched for joint bars.The new 39-foot
rail was removed from the gons and welded into 1330 (+ or -) foot strips .N&W had rail-welding
facilities at Bellevue, OH and the Roanoke Material Yard. The jointed rail it replaced was then
taken to the rail plant and three feet from each end was cut off to eliminate joint batter.
After welding, the relay rail was usually used in sidings or yard tracks, but not the main track.

N&W had curtailed operations on the former VGN between the city limits of Suffolk
westward to a point near Jarratt, but had NOT applied to the authorities for abandonment.
One of N&W's gung ho roadmasters saw the 131# rail lying there unused and concluded
it was as a good candidate for welding. The rail was taken up and sent to the Bellevue rail
plant. Several months later, one of N&W's Roanoke lawyers bumped across a rail free
crossing in Sussex County,asking himself, "when did N&W abandon this ?" Research
the following Monday indicated it had never been abandoned. N&W immediately
spiked down scrap rail -- without joint bars I might add, until N&W received authority
for abandonment. Harry Bundy

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