Rail Markings on former NYC line in Indiana

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Rail Markings on former NYC line in Indiana

Postby dbier » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:39 am

Recently while walking with my son along the tracks near my grandparents' former home (NYC then PC then CR now CSX) near Avon, IN we noticed some of the rails were stamped LACKAWANNA 1949. The rails were in good shape and this section of track (the spur that connects it to the former PRR to Chicago) sees moderate use. Assuming 1949 is indeed the year of manufacture - I can't imagine these rails have been in use that many years and still look to be in good shape. In fact. I remember walking these same tracks during the late Penn Central years and they were crooked as a a dog's hind leg - and now it's mostly straight/true welded rail. Is it possible they are still using rails that were made long ago - but placed in storage? If so I'm wondering how much of these old rail stockpiles still exist.

By the way, some of the tie plates were marked "R-1938-127-CU". Could those have been made in 1938 or do the markings mean something else?

I will try to attach two pictures I took.

Any info is appreciated!
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Re: Rail Markings on former NYC line in Indiana

Postby MACTRAXX » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:54 pm

DB: The tie plate is made in 1938 and is for rail around 128 pounds per yard...

The rail is from the Lackawanna,NY plant of Bethlehem Steel and was made in May 1949-the 5 parallel lines
on the rail are how they are dated...rails have between 1 and 12 of these lines along with the year...
There is a weight also listed on rails-did you see exactly what this one was?

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EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Rail Markings on former NYC line in Indiana

Postby ChiefTroll » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:45 pm

The CC in the brand stamp denotes "control cooled." Other examples are "HT" for Full Heat Treated and "CH" for Control Cooled, Head Hardened" (a Bethlehem practice). The tie plate was produced in 1938 to fit the base of 127 Dudley Rail (127 pounds per yard, NYCRR's Dudley Section). The CU indicates that the steel is "copper bearing," meaning it has copper alloyed with the steel to reduce corrosion. Those were used in eastbound main freight tracks on the NYC to reduce corrosion caused by brine drippings from refrigerator cars carrying meat cooled by ice with salt added.

The salt reduced the melting temperature of the ice and kept the cars cooler than plain ice would have. Mechanical reefers eliminated that problem, but many bridges on former multiple-track lines show more corrosion under the south track for that reason.
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Re: Rail Markings on former NYC line in Indiana

Postby dbier » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:28 am

Thanks guys for the great info! My son and I both learned something new today!

I'm still amazed rail can last so long. As a kid I remember seeing a set of indentations on this section of track where a locomotive had apparently spun its wheels on the rail. It actually peeled a thin layer of rail off which I picked up and took home as a souvenir!

As I mentioned, this section of track used to be bolted rail that was allowed to get pretty wavy as Penn Central began deferring maintenance in the early 1970s. So do you think they came in and welded that rail or did they replace it with this welded rail pulled up from somewhere else?

If this 1949 rail was brought in after being removed from somewhere else, do you think it was welded together during install here or first taken to a factory and welded into longer sections before being transported to this location?
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Re: Rail Markings on former NYC line in Indiana

Postby ChiefTroll » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:19 am

dbier wrote:As I mentioned, this section of track used to be bolted rail that was allowed to get pretty wavy as Penn Central began deferring maintenance in the early 1970s. So do you think they came in and welded that rail or did they replace it with this welded rail pulled up from somewhere else? If this 1949 rail was brought in after being removed from somewhere else, do you think it was welded together during install here or first taken to a factory and welded into longer sections before being transported to this location?

Those welds were definitely made at a welding plant. The rail wes most likely taken up as "stick" (jointed) rail, taken to the plant, welded into strings, and then taken to this track in a rail train. It's also possible that the rail had been relaid as welded rail somewhere else, and then moved here in a rail train and re-relaid for a third time.

I can assure you that the NYC was not welding rail in 1949. I think they started using CWR the early 1960's. The NYC welding plant was at Dock Junction, near Erie, PA, until after the Penn Central merger. New rail was bought with "blind" ends (no bolt holes) and welded by NYC at Dock Jct. Good relayer rail was also cropped and welded at the same plant.

Most, if not all, of the new CWR laid by NYC was a different rail section - 136 NYC. It was the same as 127 Dudley Modified except the head was 1/2 inch higher. All of the 127 DYM joint bars, and 127 DY and DYM "jewelery" such as switch braces, tie plates, etc. fitted the 136 NYC section as well. Any time you see 127 DY or 127 DYM CWR, it was welded relay rail, either by NYC, PC, Conrail or a successor.

NYC stopped buying 127 lb rail in 1965, because the rolls were worn out and the mills wanted NYC to pay for new ones. After 136 NYC became the standard, practically all of the 127 rail bought by NYC was used for the manufacture of turnout material, adn not for CWR. After the supply of new 127 lb rail dried up, there was a campaign to find good unworn 127 rail in track to be released and used for making frogs and switch points. PC then adopted a different standard of 119 RE and 132 RE soon after the merger.

- GAD
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Re: Rail Markings on former NYC line in Indiana

Postby dbier » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:11 am

More good info! Some details admittedly went over my head - but I'm learning.

Thanks!
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