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SPIKING RAILS.

1612.—There is no part of the track laying more likely to suffer from carelessness than the spiking. A spike, to be driven properly, should be started in a really vertical position. The spikes at the joints, centers, and quarters of the rail should be driven first. The right-hand rail is usually spiked first. The gauge is then placed on the fixed rail, and the free one brought to the gauge and spiked.

The common and slovenly custom of driving spikes at an angle should not be tolerated. An almost equally pernicious custom is to drive the spike with the track at loose gauge and then bending the head so as to give the rails their proper gauge.

First see to it that the free rail is brought to the gauge. Then start the inside spike a little removed from the base of the rail, the head inclined slightly backwards. Having started the spike, a good blow will bring it to a vertical position, after which the blows should be delivered vertically upon the head. The last blow should slightly draw the head towards the rail base. Where the gauge is widened on curves, a special gauge should be provided and the eye not trusted to give the proper increase in gauge. Spikes should not be driven in the middle of the tie, especially in severe freezing weather, as they are liable to split it, but at from 2½ to 3 inches from the outside of the tie, where the wood is sure to be sound and the grain less open.

The proper arrangement of the spikes in the tie is shown in Fig. 499. Ties spiked in this fashion can not

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become skewed, and the track, in consequence, thrown out of gauge.

In spiking, the tie must be held firmly against the base of the rail. If from any cause the rail does not lie directly upon the tie, the tie must be held against the rail with a nipping bar, shown in Fig. 500.

The ends of the ties should be spaced at a uniform distance from the rail, both for the sake of appearance and to give to the rail a uniform foundation. A gauge made of hard wood and meeting this requirement is shown at A and B in Fig. 501.

The spiker first places the gauge upon the tie with its head close against the end of the tie, as shown at A. The base of the rail is then brought against the end of the gauge and the inside spike started. The gauge is then removed and the outer spike started, and both driven home. The other rail being spiked to a proper gauge will make the rails equidistant from the ends of the ties. The gauging of the ties is too often done by guesswork, as is evinced by a ragged line.

1613. Spiking Bridge Ties.—Holes should be bored in bridge ties to receive the spikes instead of driving the

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spikes directly into the tie. As bridge ties, are sawed, they are often cross-grained and liable to split -unless holes are bored for the spikes. The diameter of the spike holes should be about one-sixteenth-inch less than the diameter of the spike, so that, in driving, the hole will be completely filled with the fiber of the wood.

1614. Pulling Spikes.—When a spike is to be drawn from a tie in frosty weather, or from an oak tie at any time of year, it should always be given a light blow with a spike maul before using the claw bar. The blow breaks the hold which the wood has upon the spike, and permits of the spike being drawn with safety. Without this precaution the spike is liable to break off under the head. The instrument for drawing spikes is called a claw bar, and is shown in Fig. 502. Its weight is about 25 lb. The end a of the claw bar is divided like the claw of a carpenter's hammer and the bar bent into a goose-neck to increase the distance through which the opposite end b can move. In, drawing a spike care should be taken that the claw is well under the spike-head before a strain is put upon the bar. When only the lip of the claw is under the head, there is great danger of the claw being broken, especially if a heavy stress is put upon it. When the spike is driven so deeply into the tie that the claw can not be forced tinder it, the end b of the claw bar, which is wedge-shaped, may be forced tinder the spike-head, lifting it so the claw may be used.

1615. Gauging Track.—In track laying, no part of the work should receive more careful attention than the gauging of the track, A track gauge, to be in proper position, must be at right angles to the center line of the

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track, and with this fact in view the gauge shown in Fig. 503 was devised. The gauge consists of two U-shaped castings connected by a short iron pipe which is threaded at both ends, and screws into them. The castings have lugs on their tinder sides, as shown at A and B. The distance A B between the lugs determines the gauge. A line drawn across the faces of the gauge lugs is at right angles to a line drawn through the center of the iron pipe. To place the gauge at right angles to the center line of the track, bring both lugs shown at C against the head of the rail. A notch filed in the gauge at D marks the center of the track.

Never crowd the gauge in spiking the rails. Let the rails only touch the gauge marks. Place the gauge about eight inches ahead of the tie to be spiked. This places the gauge out of danger of the spiking hammers, and insures a perfect gauge.


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