1702. Inspecting a Section from a Car or Engine.—Section foremen should occasionally ride over their section either on an engine, a caboose, or the rear car of a passenger train, and note carefully the action of the car while passing over the track. A defect in line or surface, which would scarcely have any effect upon a car running 20 miles an hour, would cause one running at a speed of 45 miles an hour to lurch violently. This is owing to the fact that a speed of 20 miles an hour will permit a car to become righted after passing one defect before coming to a second, while a car running at a speed of 45 miles an hour may encounter several defects in line or surface in a second of time.

If a car lurches badly when passing over a straight line, the track at that spot is either low or badly out of gauge. If, in passing over a curve, the car swings to the outside of the curve, there is not sufficient elevation to the outer rail, but if the car swings towards the inside of the curve, there is too much elevation in the outer rail at that place.


An observing, alert man will soon become expert in detecting the different movements of the car as it swings to either side of the track, and should determine the cause by walking over the track immediately after riding over it, and remedy the defects in the track.

1703. Avoid Attaching Hand or Push Cars to Trains.—Foremen should never attach a hand or push car to a train to avoid the labor of pumping or pushing the car to its destination. Many serious accidents have resulted from such action. The sudden slackening or stopping of a train is likely to throw the hand or push car under the train in spite of every effort to prevent it, and serious injury, if not death, is the sure result.

1704. Always Carry a Track Jack.—Foremen should never be out on their sections without a track jack. Keep it on the hand car when not in use, so it will always be available. In no way is time oftener wasted than in attempting to raise a rail with a makeshift lever when the track jack has been left behind at the section house. Frequently, the spikes are drawn from the ties and the track marred both in gauge and surface by it.

The track jack is one of the best and most economical tools in use upon a railroad, and every section should possess one and make the utmost use of it.

1705. The Track Level.—Always carry a track level when going out on the section to pick up or surface track. It is useless to attempt to surface track without a spirit level, though low spots in a track which has once been put in good surface may be put in proper surface by sighting.

1706. Rails of Different Heights.—Where rails of different heights meet at a joint, they should be connected by a step splice, and an iron shim should be placed under the low rail, to bring the tops of both rails to the same level. The shim should be slotted at the sides, and spikes driven through the slots, to hold the shim in place.


1707. Extra Men.—When a section foreman is about to largely increase his force for temporary work, he should take time to carefully plan his work and the disposition of his men. Work well organized is half done.

1708. Getting Acquainted with the Section.—Every section foreman should, immediately upon taking charge of his section, thoroughly acquaint himself with everything connected with it and his work. He should know the length of his section, the location and degree of each curve, the number and location of each bridge, trestle, cattle guard, crossing, and culvert, the weight, brand, and age of all steel and its location, the number of panels of snow fence, the height of bridges from the ground, the location of whistling posts, the- numbers of all frogs, and any information which can assist a foreman in making out correct and prompt reports to the roadmaster.

1709. Drilling Rails.—When it is necessary to cut rails in putting in switches, or in repairing track, the rails should be full drilled and bolted at every joint. A joint but half bolted is sure to sag in a short space of time.

1710. Lining Disconnected Track.—When lining disconnected track that has been washed out, always commence at the connected end, else it' will be practically impossible to get the track in line.

1711. Cutting Steel.—Section foremen should carefully instruct their men how to cut rails. The cut of the chisel should be a continuous line extending entirely around and square across the rail. Iron rails require deeper cutting than steel rails. To break off a rail at the cut, lift up the end nearest the cut and let it fall across a piece of rail laid on a tie. If but a short piece of the rail is to be broken off, a sharp blow from a sledge is the surest way to break it. Hard steel, if cut too deep, is liable to become softened by the battering of the chisel, and in breaking leave a rough, unshapely end on the rail. A spike maul should not be used to strike the head of either chisel or punch, as it is


sure to destroy the face of the maul and split pieces out of the head of steel tools. A sledge of suitable weight, made for the purpose of striking hard steel tools, should be used instead.

Cold chisels when first dressed by the blacksmith are not always well tempered at the point, and in using a newly sharpened chisel, light and careful blows should be given first. If the tool is well tempered, the edge will hold, but if poorly tempered, the edge will chip slightly. The chisel should then be ground to a true edge, which generally toughens it, and it will cut a number of rails before it is necessary to send it to the shop again.

1712. Distance at Which to Place Danger Signals.—Danger signals should be placed at distances not less than 3,500 feet in each direction from the point where the track is impassable for trains. The distance can be measured by counting 117 rails of 30 feet each from the point of danger, or, where the telegraph poles are 150 feet apart, place the signals 23 poles distant from the point of danger. If the point of danger is at the foot of a heavy grade, where it is difficult to stop a train, the distance of the danger signal should be increased to even double the ordinary distance, or the telegraph operator at the nearest station informed of the danger, so that he may notify the train dispatcher, who will at once warn all trains within danger, and they can be held until the track is safe for their passage. Where there is a sufficient force of men to make repairs, the flagman should remain with the danger signal until the track is repaired or the train stopped. In foggy or stormy weather, the flagman must always remain out with the signals until all danger is passed. As soon as the track is safe for the passage of. trains, flags, torpedoes, or other signals should be removed at once.

Foremen should always carry flags and torpedoes on their hand cars, and fully instruct their men in the use of them. They should be fully posted on the time of all


regular trains, and should be on the watch for signals carried by regular trains.

1713. Signals.—In setting a signal requiring a train to run slowly, called a slow flag, place the flag on the engineer's side of the track, the right hand side, slightly leaning, so that most of it can be seen, and just far enough from the rail to clear the engine and cars.

A slow signal is set out one-half mile, about 17 telegraph poles, distant.

A red flag or light, which is a stop signal, should be placed in the center of the track. Two torpedoes should be placed on the same rail, about 60 feet apart, between the stop signal and the approaching train.

1714. Location of Whistling Posts and Signs.—Station whistling posts should be placed one-half mile outside the switch, not the depot, and on the engineer's side (the right side) of the track to one approaching the station. Station mile boards should be placed one mile outside the switches. If the post were placed but one mile from the station, it would, in large yards, often fall inside the switches. The object of these signs is to warn trainmen of the near approach of a station in order that they may have the train under control before reaching the station.

Whistling posts for highways should be placed one-quarter of a mile from the crossing, and on the engineer's side of the track. Whistling posts or other signs should never be placed in a cut where they will not be readily seen. If on a descending grade, place the sign outside the cut, increasing the distance; if on an ascending grade, decrease the distance. This rule also applies to sharp curves. All signs carrying a cross-board should have the board placed at right angles to the track. Highway crossing signs should be placed parallel to the rails, so that they may be distinctly read by persons approaching the track. All posts carrying signs should be vertical, and securely set in the ground, and so placed as not to come in contact with either trains or vehicles.


1715. Obstructing the Track.—The track should never be so used as to obstruct a regular train, nor should any work be undertaken which can not be finished, and the track made safe, fully 15 minutes before the train is due. In case of a delayed passenger train, the track must be kept constantly safe and clear, and if repairs must be made, a responsible man, preferably the. foreman himself, should remain out with signals until the track is safe and clear.

Some foremen have a habit of leaving the hand or push car on the track while repairs are being made. This is a dangerous practice, and contrary to the rules of any well-managed railroad. The hand car should not only be kept clear of the track when not in use, but should not be left in the way of road or farm crossings.

1716. Hand-Car and Tool Houses.—Hand car and tool houses should be placed outside the switches at yards and stations, so that trains standing on the side track will not deter section men with their band car from going to work. Tool houses must be far enough from the track to prevent obstructing the view of passing trains.

1717. Throwing Switches.—Foremen should not throw switches for trivial reasons. An empty hand car or push car should always be carried from one track to another, and, if carrying a light load, it can be handled without throwing a switch. Most foremen carry a switch key, but it should be used with proper discretion and never in the absence of the foreman. The person tending to the switch should always remain by it until it is set for the main track and locked. Any foreman who makes a practice of throwing switches where it is unnecessary' should be discharged at once.

1718. Care of Tools.—The section foreman is responsible to the railway company for all tools and other supplies issued to him. The systematic use and care of tools will greatly increase their efficiency and prolong their


service, and it is evident that the foreman can not better serve his company than by instructing his men in the proper handling and care of tools.

Hand cars and push cats should be oiled regularly, the axle and other boxes kept tight, and the cars kept always ready for service. Hand cars should not be used to carry steel except in emergencies, and then only a light load should be taken, the rails being placed on both sides of the car so as to balance. Both rails and ties should be transported on the push car.

Shovels figure largely in the tool account chargeable to track repairs. On most sections this account is unnecessarily large, owing to the many improper uses to which the shovel is put. A shovel should never be used to hold up the end of a tie for spiking, nor driven into a tie in place of a pick to pull the tie into its trench in the track. As soon as the edge begins to turn, it should be straightened, and, if necessary, trimmed with a cold chisel. Proper care will often double the life of a shovel.

Claw bars should never be used to pry up the track, and, above all, in frosty weather, as the claws are then easily broken, and are always difficult to repair.

1719. Care of Material.—A sure test of a good foreman is his care for all material placed in his charge. Whenever track repairs of any kind are made, all loose material of every kind should be collected, and, with the exception of rails, should be carried to the section house, where it may be sorted. Much old material, such as splice bolts and spikes, may, with a little straightening, be made to serve a second time and be as serviceable as new material. All old iron should be piled in places convenient to the track, whence it may be shipped at the direction of the roadmaster.

1720. Care of Station Grounds.—It is particularly to the section foreman's interest to keep the station grounds in perfect order. By a little thought and planning, he can find time to grade the approaches to the station, plant a few


shade trees, and do some sodding where it will tell. This work must not be done at the expense of regular track work, but a spare hour is often available, and the results, if the time has been wisely expended, amply pay for the outlay. Neat station grounds 'encourage travel, and are sure to win the approbation of superior officers.

1721. Work-Train Service.—The foreman in charge of a work train should make it his business to keep his men at work whenever the train is delayed. There is always plenty of work to do along the track at any point, and by proper forethought and planning, these unavoidable delays may be turned to full account.

Every work train should be in charge of a thorough trackman, who should, in addition, be thoroughly competent to run a train.

Work-train conductors and foremen in charge of gravel pits or of steam-shovel outfits should receive their orders from and be responsible to the roadmaster of the division upon which they are working. They should send in a daily report to the roadmaster, and every evening after quitting send in to the dispatcher a lay-up report, stating where they will work the following day. Work trains should always lay up at a telegraph station.

Conductors in charge of work trains should see that all axle boxes are properly packed and oiled, and any accidents to cars or any part of the outfit should be promptly reported to the roadmaster.

1722. Track Inspection.—There should be a well-organized system of track inspection on every railroad. The amount of inspection should be in proportion to the excellence of the track and the amount of traffic. Whatever the amount of traffic, the entire section should be inspected each day. In ordinary weather this work may be entrusted to a careful section hand, but in stormy weather the section foreman should give his entire section a careful inspection. It is best that the track inspection, especially at the more dangerous points, should be made before the passage of express


trains. On double-track roads where the traffic is heavy, track inspection is performed by regular track walkers. They should always carry a track wrench, to tighten loose bolts, and a flag and, torpedoes for signals. During the winter months, when the ground is frozen solid, the frost, which hinders many kinds of general track work, is constantly heaving the track out of line and surface, and greatly increasing the danger of accident. A rule requiring the section foreman to see his entire section daily should be strictly enforced. During extremely cold weather the track requires constant watching. During heavy storms, it is a good plan to go by train against the storm, to the end of the section, and inspect the track while returning on foot. Two or three inspections in a day are none too many for severe, stormy weather.

1723. Methods of Work.—Every foreman should be on the alert to learn new and approved methods of work. By careful thought he may devise time and labor-saving methods himself. Work slowly done is not necessarily well done. In fact, expedition is an adjunct to excellence, as no man can do work rapidly without giving it his full attention, and any work, however simple, that has heart put into it, will show it by superior excellence.

1724. Discipline.—A foreman to succeed must be superior to his men both in knowledge and in force of will. Abusive and profane language will soon demoralize men, robbing them of all respect for their foreman and for themselves. Patience in teaching men their duties and habitual fair treatment will make an enviable reputation for any foreman. He will always receive prompt and efficient service from his men, can always count on a full gang, and can readily increase his force for an emergency. Railroad companies always prefer to fill their important offices with men who have been tried and promoted in their own service. The young foreman may be sure that competence and faithfulness will not go unrecognized or unrewarded. He should take advantage of every opportunity to increase his know


ledge of his craft, and do all in his power to make it rank as a profession.

1725. Section Records.—Every section foreman should keep a record of everything connected with the track under his charge. This record should be neatly and clearly arranged and should contain all information which may be used as a basis for estimates, for the location of structures, or for the distribution of material.

The following will suggest suitable forms for such a record:


1726. Average Day's Work for One Man.—The following is a list of the various kind of labor connected with track work, and gives the amount of each which a good man can perform in one day. This will serve to show the relation existing between the labor of one man and a gang of men at any of the different kinds of work specified:

One man can

Place on a grade one-eighth of a mile of ties.
Spike one-tenth of a mile of track laid on soft ties.
Spike one-fourteenth of a mile of track laid on hard ties.
Splice and bolt one-sixth of a mile of track.
Clean with a shovel one-eighth of a mile of average weeds.
Unload 10 cars of gravel.
Unload 8 cars of dirt.
Load upon cars, 18 to 24 cubic yards of gravel.
Load upon cars, 20 to 25 cubic yards of dirt.
Load coal into buckets for engines, 15 to 20 tons.
Unload coal into sheds, 25 to 30 tons.
Put into dirt ballast track, 20 new ties.
Put into gravel ballast track, 15 new ties.
Put into stone ballast track, 8 to 10 new ties.
Do labor equal to ballasting 60 feet of gravel ballasted track.
Do labor equal to ballasting 35 feet of stone ballasted track.
Chop 2 cords of 4 ft. wood.
Make 15 to 25 hard wood ties.
Make 35 to 40 soft wood ties.
Sixty men can lay one mile of track in a day.


1727. Tables of Material Required for One Mile of Track.

Tons of Rail Required

Number of Cross-ties Required

Number of Rails, Splices and Bolts

Railroad Spikes

Number of Track Bolts

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