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admin 04.02.2016

Providing perfect lines for a great picture, railroad tracks are superb photography subjects.
Very nice composition of the array of tracks running from dark to light and the mist above them. How many times have you seen tracks that have been neglected and mother nature starts taking over? Black and white photo that shows the sun peeking through the clouds which could also be mistaken for the moon or even a train coming. Throughout the years Folk music, trains, and railroads would hardly exist in this country without one another. The train rail had its beginning in 1768  when the Coalbrookdale Iron Works [England] laid cast iron plates on top of the wooden rails, providing a more durable load-bearing surface. Today 99 percent of the railroad ties in the US are still wood and each ones weighs approximately 200 pounds. The earliest railroads in the United States were built of wooden rails capped with thin strips, or "straps," of iron to provide a running surface for the wheels. Rails ranging in weight from 50 to 152 pounds per yard are in use on the railroads of the United States. Rail ends are joined by means of two pieces of steel called angle bars, firmly held in place by bolts which pass through the rail web. Rails are securely spiked to the crossties and the ties are firmly embedded in ballast or embankment.
What is the name and what are the purposes of the thin plates of steel between the rails and the ties? The number of-crossties in the average mile of railway track at the beginning of 1941 was 2,994. Crossties, switch ties and bridge ties which have been saturated with creosote, zinc chloride or other preservatives to prevent decay or destruction by insects are called "treated." The treatment more than doubles the service life of the ties.

When the right-of-way of a railroad is cut through a hill, knoll or slope to provide a road-way, the excavation is called a cut.
A solid bank of earth, rock or other material built above the natural ground surface to form the roadbed of the railroad is called an embankment or fill. Rails of standard length which are welded together at the ends to form a single rail hundreds or thousands of feet in length are known as "continuous rail." Among the advantages claimed for continuous rail over standard length rail are a smoother track, longer service life, reduced maintenance cost and greater safety.
The shot gives a nice perspective from the end of the tracks to give that feeling of going nowhere. The first published version appeared as "Levee Song" in Carmina Princetonia, a book of Princeton University songs published in 1894.he earliest known recording is by the Sandhills Sixteen, released by Victor Recordsin 1927. According to Wikipedia, "It was published as 'Old Joe, or Somebody in the House with Dinah' in London in the 1830s or '40s, with music credited to J.H. Tracks consist of two parallel steel rails, which are laid upon sleepers (or cross ties) that are embedded in ballast to form the railroad track.
These were called "strap-rails." Iron rails 18 feet in length were imported from England as early as 1831, and by 1845 or 1850 most railroads were being built of iron rails. Their purposes are to provide the rail with a uniformly firm foundation and to prevent the rail from cutting into the ties under the heavy impact of trains.
It always seems like it takes forever to walk towards that light on the other side of the tunnel. The colors are amazing and that small skinny cloud in the sky really makes this picture what it is. It is used to facilitate drainage of water, to distribute the load from the railroad ties, and also to keep down vegetation that might interfere with the track structure. The first Bessemer steel rails manufactured in the United States were rolled at the North Chicago Rolling Mills on May 25, 1865, and by 1880 about 30 per cent of all tracks in the United States was laid with steel rails.
At the beginning of 1941, there were 106,121 miles of main-line railroad equipped with rail weighing 100 pounds or more per yard.

It was these first time componets that led to the name "platelayer" for workers on the permanent way.
Sometimes spikes[picture below] are driven through a hole in the baseplate to hold the rail, while at other times the baseplates are spiked or screwed to the sleeper and the rails clipped to the baseplate. At the end of another ten years, 80 per cent of the country's mileage was equipped with steel rails, and by the late 1890's steel had almost completely replaced iron. The advantage was that a considerable variation in wheel spacing (gauge) could be accommodated. Stevens also invented the hooked spike for attaching the rail to the crosstie (or sleeper).
It is typically made of crushed stone, although ballast has sometimes consisted of other, less suitable materials. In my younger days, some 30 years ago I moved over 200 railroad ties to build walls around my property which are still solid today. However, wheels would bind against the upright part of the plate, and mud and stones would accumulate.
The term "ballast" comes from a marine shipping term for the stones used to weigh down a ship.
On the Little Eaton Gangway in 1799, where Outram used passing loops on the single track, moveable plates were provided, called "pointers", which became shortened to "points". To pull the spike, take the plate off, roll the rail and pick up the tie out of the ballast wow, unless you have done such, it is one of the hardest jobs ever.

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