Scrap Railroad steel



What the track bolts go through and hold the rail ends together are called "angle bars" and I'm guessing you ain't talking about those, right? :)
I think I know what it is tho but there is so much of that weird shaped stuff tho and bridge parts too.
I'm thinking it's the spacer+holder between the "stock rail" and the "switch point". It's really heavy-duty looking... if laying like it should you can see how it's made to fit inside, next the web on both sides of it so it's sort of symetrical.

For the most part you are right... just until you try carrying off the whole pile at once. :) A piece or two at a time know one will care. But really the best setup for you is to get to know the workers they'll had you hunks of fresh cut rail and all kinds of stuff that's better than what's prob'ly in that pile.

I have a few pieces of rail too of course ;) and used to make a point of collecting all the neatly cut pieces to give a away.
Standing on end is a real good use. If the end was "friction saw" cut (chop saw;) then that surface might be so hard as to not be filable! :)

I'm going to guess those are "rail anchors" or the common name is "creepers". Is that what they are? what's clipped to the underside base of the rail and when there's enough of them tight against the ties the rail won't scoot along or "creep along" from train traffic.
Actually the dangged rail on single track territory shifts back and forth but still scooting on the "tie plates" is bad for a bunch of reasons. Rail anchors are spring tempered steel and a spark test will be needed to find the carbon content but I'll bet it's something in between the rail at 1075 to 1080 (like a cold chisel) and an HC marked spike. Guys at Enderes wrote me a letter and told me their punches and chisels are made from 1078 so that's a known sample for all of us.
Automotive springs are a jillion different alloys but boil down to one catagory-> "a low alloy medium carbon steel" might as well figure them to be 5160. Somehow I always figured (never spark tested them for some odd reason) creepers to be about 1045-1060.
You spark test yours and then we'll both know. :)

That's what I use but it's all homemade.
http://www.panix.com/~alvinj /

Did you ever cool it quickly?
If it happens to have some alloying in it, it could be partially air hardening in the thinner sections but that's a stupid wild-ass guess and doesn't really mean anything. :/ There's not enough information to know what's going on, sorry. :/

Like the other poster said -grinding wheels-! :)

Cool. :) But is it a new file? :/ Big difference sometimes in just the sharpness of the file or the pressure applied.

My guess is straight medium carbon steel... spark testing needed. :/
I'll see if I can round up a few samples to spark-test too.

Sorry, I'm not a flat grinder... :/
When you figure out how to grind something flat without a special machine to hold and guide everything... let me know ok? ;) I can hollow grind a knife blade until it's paper thin but never have made a good looking job while trying to make a flat-sided knife! :)

Well there's the "clunky old magnet method;) you know about that one already? ;)
I use the "arrest point method". :)
Those are -my- names for them not sure what others call them.

Spark testing will tell you more, for sure, faster, than anything else... no kidding on that... even if you first have to learn to spark test, it'll still pay better than experimenting blind.

Never-ever seen that. The wornout track tools were supposed to be cut up before they were thrown in the scrap pile but weren't most of the time.
The "work train" picked up scrap metal with a magnet and 39' and 78' rails were loaded with the magnet too but they did a pretty good job of keeping all the different kind of parts separated into different cars. It was worth more that way? Colorado Fuel and Iron didn't have to mess with it so much to prepare it for recycling into the same parts again? ...is what I always figured.
They just dumped the stuff into "gongs"... "gondola cars".
Then there was the "ribbon rail train" that unload new rail in 1/4 mile pieces and then later came by and picked up the old ribbon rail.
What I'm really into is making knives from power hacksaw blades. I've got a stack of used blades that I started collecting right after I first watched a test of the new chopsaw/"friction saw" made from a chain saw.
If you talk to the guys working along the tracks (not the trainmen) you might even get a few of those high speed steel power hacksaw blades or maybe just used chopsaw blades? :/ It takes a brand new blade to finish cutting through a rail so "small pieces" aren't any good to them really ...but for free they are plenty good for most every other kind of material you're going to want to cut. And they'll have extras to spare.
Nope. I don't have a chopsaw I use a hand grinder. :/
Alvin in AZ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Instead of working on my old pickup today I went out and played on the railroad tracks. :)
I read where the spikes were supposed to 1035 but I think the ones I collected are higher carbon than that at about 1050-1055 but prob'ly not 1060.
I have a bunch of cold chisel some really old ones too but of the "modern" ones the RACO brand one was just barily higher carbon content than the spikes (1060?) and the Proto brand was higher (1070?) and the Enderes one was highest and is 1078.
(RACO, railroad accessories corporation)

I'm guessing what you have there is a spring clip for cement ties.
It's easy as anything (if you have cement ties in your area) to confirm that guess. :)
I didn't find any lying around today so I can't say what they are yet.
I never worked with cement ties, SP hadn't got around to using them yet when I retired. Saw some cement ties today, the UP is into them big time and what's funny as anything to me is no "rail-anchors"!
How they keep the rail from running is with those clips, I guess. There are so many of them, I guess it works from quanity and each one is quality looks like. :) Holding the rail alot better than a spike hammerd in wood I'd say. :) What's weird too is how the rail doesn't "pump" as the train goes by either the tracks are solid.
Anyway I bet that's what you have and it's prob'ly pretty close to 1095 is my wild-ass guess at this new point. :)
----------------
I found two types of rail anchors (creepers) today and if a blacksmith were to straighten any of them out they'd be about a foot long. All rail anchors are a J shape.
First one has a 3/4" x 1" cross section and spark tested at about the same as the Proto cold chisel guessing 1070-1075. I remember the track guys thinking those creepers were a waste of time and effort. :/ You could hammer them on too hard and ruin them by spreading the lower J part and loose their grip. :/
The other is a ~5/16" thick sheet of metal that's bent into a channel like U shape then, bent into the J shape. They spark tested at close to 1095 I'd guess 1090. I remember those creepers as tricky to get on since there is no center to hammer against they want to go sideways on you. Some track guys didn't like them but all aggreed they held good. :) Spike maul's face was too small for me to get those on (I wasn't a track guy just helped them out since I had to be there when they were changing rail out) I had to use a regular sledge hammer and catch both sides at once or forget it. ;)
I remember well at least one more that was everybody's favorite it has a T cross section. They held best and went on good both. Didn't find one of those today tho.

I don't know yet but I'm working on it. ;) Do you think it's a cement tie, rail-holding clip? (don't know what they call those since I never worked with them:)
Alvin in AZ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've seen some rails laying around in South Florida as well. I would like to try making a knife blade. What do you use to rivet the hadles on ?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Try this again to group... I have another post with links to pictures on my web site. Check it out.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@XX.com wrote:

Now you guys did it.
This evening I just had to take a walk along the tracks. I found two types of "clips". The most common and the type that match the clips on the rails looked like they were stamped out of really thick stock. In cross section they are "c" shaped.
The other type look like they were cast. They are solid. I only found two and I saw did not see any in use. Im guessing these are an old style. There are no concrete ties in this area.
Both have the same "j" shape and I see then clipped to the rails one on each side of every other tie.
I have no idea what to do with the one I picked up or even with all this information but I always like learning new stuff.
Al
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Clips. :)
That's what I just got off the phone talking about... the painted C shaped (simple, flat section) thing with two fingers that GreyAngel has pictures of... is for holding the rail down and from running both and used with cement ties only are called "clips".

Cool. :)

Al, what you are calling clips are "rail anchors" or "creepers", they are J shaped and used with wood ties to keep the rail from "running". I've been calling your C-section one, a U section.

Seems like there were four types of creepers we used but can only remember three and defined by cross-section... 3/4" by 1" square... (junk) U section, made from 5/16" steel plate... (tricky to put on) forged steel T cross-section one. (the best ones)
Just now remembering another one it was rotated sideways into place... seems like it was ~5/16" plate with a simple flat steel cross section. Not common and not much good either and a pain to put on. :)
The forged steel T section creepers were the good ones and they were replaced by the U section 5/16" sheet metal ones in my area.
And then one that doesn't count since I can barily remember it, it was a two piece creeper... what a piece of crap that was. :/

Yep, rail-anchors or "creepers". To keep the rail from running. :)

Well if you heat steel up and pound on it you've got a lifetime supply of really good high carbon steel, out there, for cheap. ;)
There is more buried and lost in the dirt every-day along the rail road than a guy could pound and grind into useful things in a whole life time. :)
Alvin in AZ (not a blacksmith)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This reminds me that I saw another style of metal whatever out in the piles that I never gave a second glance to. They look like cable loop guides. Kind of like a rounded channel steel (maybe cast) bent sort of into a C shape. They were pretty rusty and as I said, I paid little attention to them but straightened out they would make a pretty respectible bar of steel. Think they could be carbon steel or something else equally cool? Maybe I should go grab one and play with it...
Greyangel

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@XX.com wrote:

Thanks for the info. I guess I will have to take another walk and pick up some more. I saw only one more cast creeper, but there were a lot of the u-shaped ones.
There werer also some really big nuts and a few broken bolts. These were what was used to bolt the rails together before they switched to the ribbon rail in this area.
Is the steel in the old bolts and nuts anything interesting?
Al
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I got to thinking and decided to go back to the scrap pile and see what I might have overlooked. If some of these creepers are good carbon stuff I figured I'd like some bigger stock. the following are pictures of some of the things I found. There is some good heavy pieces that ought to make a fair sized blade if the steel is any good. I also took a look at the track and saw what they do with the creepers and plates. Plate spiked into the tie, then the creeper attached to it and the rail. Makes sense now. But I'm a bit slow on the uptake :). I added a couple of pics of the blade I made out of the yellow painted clip. If I can just learn to make a decent handle it should make a pretty nice knife.
http://home.comcast.net/~greyangel1/AngelStation/temp/image1.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~greyangel1/AngelStation/temp/image2.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~greyangel1/AngelStation/temp/image3.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~greyangel1/AngelStation/temp/image4.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~greyangel1/AngelStation/temp/knife1.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~greyangel1/AngelStation/temp/knife2.jpg
Greyangel

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.