1607. Care in Unloading Steel.—Rails are often bent in consequence of careless handling. There is no excuse for either foremen or workmen for this. The rails are unfit for laying until straightened, but they are often laid in a bent state, giving a bad surface and line. The surest remedy is proper handling. The rails are always loaded properly at the rolling mill, and the kinks are put in them either in transfer or in delivering on the grade. When rails are to be transferred from one car to another, rails of suitable length should be used as skids upon which the rails to be transferred are pushed from one car to another. When from scarcity of flat cars, rails are shipped in box cars, rollers are placed in the end doors of the box car, and the rails are rolled as they are transferred. The rails should always be placed in regular order, as shown in Fig. 492.

In unloading, there should be enough men to handle the rails with ease and dispatch. The rail should be lifted clear


of the car floor and carried to the edge of the car. All should be ready, and at the word, the rail dropped clear of the car so that it will fall in the position shown in Fig. 493, in which position the danger of kinking is entirely avoided. Other men should stand on the ground removing each rail as soon as it drops, so that one rail shall not fall on top of another. Rails must not be dropped from the cars on rock or loose stones, but on dirt, which will insure their safety.

None but the best men should be employed on the steel car. They should be strong physically, understand plain English thoroughly, and be prompt and active. When men, because of difference of nationality, fail to readily understand each other, confusion is sure and accident almost certain to follow. The same gang of men should handle all the steel. If the track laying is to be rushed, at least two, and better three, steel cars should be provided, which permits of one being constantly at the front. As soon as a load of steel is transferred from the flat car to the steel car, a team of horses should be hitched to it and the car hauled to the front. The steel men at the front, having unloaded their car, return with it until they meet the loaded car. They then lift their empty car from the rails to the side of the track, allowing the loaded car to pass. The steel men push the loaded car the balance of the way unless the grade is heavy enough to require a team.

Steel cars should be light and strong, and capable of carrying a heavy load. The car should be of such weight as to be readily handled by the steel crew. The wheel base should be 8 inches in width, so that the car may pass safely over rough and poorly gauged track.

1608. Straightening Rails.—If from any cause, rails should be bent, they should be carefully straightened before being placed in the track. If kinked, i.e., bent laterally as shown in Fig. 494, they may be straightened by


nicking the flange of the rail with a cold chisel on the convex side of the rail at the point A where the bend is the sharpest. Then, laying the rail on its base, a few sharp blows with a sledge on the side of the head of the rail at the point A will remove the kink. Kinks may also be removed by means of a rail bender or jim crow, shown in Fig. 495. The jim crow consists of two heavy hooks a and b, which fit over the head of the rail. The curved bar c, which unites these hooks, is drilled at its crown, and threaded to receive the screw d. The cross-bar e unites with the two hooks a and b, and serves as a guide to the screw d. Force is applied to the screw by means of the wrench f, having a long handle.

If surface-bent, as shown at A in Fig. 496, they are easiest straightened with the jim crow. The straightening of the rails before laying will avail but little unless the ties are


well bedded, and all of the rails given a good bearing when the track is laid.

1609. Curved Rails.—Rails laid on curves should always be curved before being placed in the track. When laying track on new road, it is a much better policy to curve the rails in the material yard before forwarding to the track-layers. The material foreman should have a list of the curves in the same order in which they occur in the track. He should be able to determine the middle and quarter ordinates of a 30-ft. rail for any degree of curve, and should curve each rail accordingly. His list of curves will give the station of the P. C. and P. T. of each, from which he will determine the length of each curve and the number and length of rails required for each. These rails should be marked with the number of the degree of the curve for which they are intended, and the rails for each curve should be kept separate from the other rails by pieces of board, so as to prevent any confusion when they arrive at the front. One 29½-foot rail is laid for each 6 degrees of angle in the curve; hence, for a curve with a central angle of 30 degrees, the number of 29½-ft. rails required is 30/6 = 5. In laying the track, the short rails should be equally distributed throughout the curve. The rails are curved either with a rail bender, shown in Fig. 495, or by the aid of a track lever and curving hook, shown in Fig. 497.

The latter process is as follows: A tie A is placed under each end of the rail B which is to be curved. A hook C is placed under the main track rail


between two ties, at about 6 feet from the end of the rail to be curved. The track lever D is then let into the hook C, and the men pry down upon the rail B, giving it the required curve. The quarter points should always be curved before the center, as it often happens that the center curves with the quarter points, thus saving time.


The practice of curving rails by dropping them across two ties, or pounding them with a sledge hammer, can not be too severely condemned. By the former method, an angle instead of a curve is often put in the rail, and sledging is liable to break a rail outright, or, at least, put a flaw in it which may result in actual fracture when laid in the track. Some of the worst accidents on record have been caused by broken rails, weakened by hard usage while being curved. The following table contains a list of curves and tangents and the number and lengths of rails required for each. With such a list, the material foreman can forward the rails curved and assorted. His facilities for curving rails should be of the best, and with a skilled gang of men he can turn off much more and better work than would be possible at the front:

1610. Assorting Rail Lengths.—Rails of different lengths should never be laid promiscuously. The short


rails should be piled by themselves in the supply yard and forwarded to the track-layers in such order and numbers as they may require. On curves, as the inner rail forms a smaller circle than the outer rail, it is sure to gain, and to maintain the joints in the same relative position, this gain must be compensated by the use of short rails. A list of the curves and the number of short rails required for each should be given to the supply foreman, whose business it is to forward the track material in the order named on the list. This table shows how the material foreman makes out his list.

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