Markings on the side of rail?

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Markings on the side of rail?

Postby WNYRailfan » Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:59 pm

In my travels, I recently came across an old piece of formerly active LS&MS track buried in the weeds. The track is labeled as such:

L S Co. BUFFALO 1000 10 1903

What do the markings mean?

I am assuming that LS means Lake Shore and Michigan Southern; Buffalo means that it was produced in Buffalo, NY; 1903 is the date it was produced.

Are the 1000 and 10 numbers the grade/weight of the rail?

Also, the rail should be steel because it was produced in 1903, correct?
Thanks.

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Postby Otto Vondrak » Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:40 pm

I would *guess* that it meant LACKAWANNA STEEL CO since rail was never embossed with the name of the railroad, but the name of the mill that rolled it, followed by the date... in this case, "10" probably means "October" for 1903. Later, mills used hash marks to indicate the date. For instance: STEELTON |||||| 1992 means that the rail was rolled at Steelton, PA, in May, 1992. Etc etc.

Out here, I have seen rail marked BETHLEHEM, STEELTON, and LACKAWANNA... I think these are the only major steel mills rolling rail for North America... will we see rail marked BEIJING-P.R.C. soon?

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Postby crij » Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:40 pm

Otto,

I hate to disagree with you, since you are usually 90% correct, but some railroads had thier own profiles, thus the RR Co name was imprinted. Case and point, NYNH&H 107#. If you look at any 107# rail, at least from Beth Steel, it is marked 107 NH or 100 NH on some of the earlier ones. The 107 profile was the standard 100# rail with a thicker head.

Writing this just got me thinking, so I just checked a book I have in my collection, `Practical Trackwork, Swich Stands, Switches, Frogs, Crossing and Slip Switches' witten in 1928 by Walter F. Rench. In the back it has 3 double page charts of track sizes, the first page is the standard sizes: ASCE, ARA-A, ARA-B, & AREA, but the other 2 are all railroad specific sizes (or at least has a RR Co in the name) It also lists which company used what marking per size. The companies shown are Illinois Steel Co/Carnegie/TC&I Co, Bethlehem Steel Co, Colorado/F&I Co, and Inland Steel Co. Between the weight and comany numbers, it also list all the measurments, that define the specific profile.

Type..............|....#...|...Carnegie...|..Beth Steel..|..Colorado...|..Inland
AT&SFe..........|...90...|......9021......|....90-SF.......|.....903.......|...9021
Bang & Aroos..|..70....|...................|...70-BA.......|..................|.........
Can Nor..........|..80....|.....8010.......|.....804........|..................|.........
Can Pac..........|..85....|.....8524.......|...85-CP.......|..................|.........
...
NYNH&H..........|..107..|....10734......|...107-NH......|..................|.........
NYNH&H..........|..100..|....10034......|...100-NH......|..................|.........

Also there is an amount more as you can guess, but I didn't see any 1000, 100010 indications, but I would agree with Otto, that LS&Co would be Lackawanna Steel, before they became part of Beth Steel. This is even more evident after looking online and finding out that LS&Co's second plant was in Buffalo, built 1899-1900.

Take care,

Rich
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C&NW too

Postby jr » Thu Aug 05, 2004 4:09 am

I've seen C&NW markings on rail, on a branchline in Wisconsin. It was pretty light stuff, either 70lb or 75lb I think.

JR
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Aug 05, 2004 8:20 am

I knew as soon as I said "never" that someone would prove me wrong. Thank you for correcting me. Maybe I need to leave NYS more often...

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Postby n2xjk » Thu Aug 05, 2004 8:41 am

Foster keeps an extensive cross list of relay rail on their web site:

http://www.lbfoster.com/railproducts/Relay_rail_sections.pdf

Here at TMNY, 95% of the rail on the property is Dudley 105 (common in ex. NYC territory), tho we do have some Dudley 80 and NH 107.
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Postby fglk » Thu Aug 05, 2004 9:19 am

crij wrote:Otto,

I hate to disagree with you, since you are usually 90% correct, but some railroads had thier own profiles, thus the RR Co name was imprinted. Case and point, NYNH&H 107#. If you look at any 107# rail, at least from Beth Steel, it is marked 107 NH or 100 NH on some of the earlier ones. The 107 profile was the standard 100# rail with a thicker head.

Writing this just got me thinking, so I just checked a book I have in my collection, `Practical Trackwork, Swich Stands, Switches, Frogs, Crossing and Slip Switches' witten in 1928 by Walter F. Rench. In the back it has 3 double page charts of track sizes, the first page is the standard sizes: ASCE, ARA-A, ARA-B, & AREA, but the other 2 are all railroad specific sizes (or at least has a RR Co in the name) It also lists which company used what marking per size. The companies shown are Illinois Steel Co/Carnegie/TC&I Co, Bethlehem Steel Co, Colorado/F&I Co, and Inland Steel Co. Between the weight and comany numbers, it also list all the measurments, that define the specific profile.

Type..............|....#...|...Carnegie...|..Beth Steel..|..Colorado...|..Inland
AT&SFe..........|...90...|......9021......|....90-SF.......|.....903.......|...9021
Bang & Aroos..|..70....|...................|...70-BA.......|..................|.........
Can Nor..........|..80....|.....8010.......|.....804........|..................|.........
Can Pac..........|..85....|.....8524.......|...85-CP.......|..................|.........
...
NYNH&H..........|..107..|....10734......|...107-NH......|..................|.........
NYNH&H..........|..100..|....10034......|...100-NH......|..................|.........

Also there is an amount more as you can guess, but I didn't see any 1000, 100010 indications, but I would agree with Otto, that LS&Co would be Lackawanna Steel, before they became part of Beth Steel. This is even more evident after looking online and finding out that LS&Co's second plant was in Buffalo, built 1899-1900.

Take care,

Rich


You are right CRIJ some railroads did have the name on there rail. Some rail roads had a forge to cast rail on there own if they only needed small sections of rail. A large mill would sell rail in bulk where as if you need only 10 sections of 39' rail it was easyer to cast your own as you needed it.

The large Steel mills were the main supplyers for the rail. We used to have to keep an eye on this info when I worked for Sperry Rail Service. Railroads don't mark there rails anymore but do weld it on there own. Such as Conrails Former Locknow Shops for exsample.


Otto You are right about the hash marks being the month of production

Here is an exsample of the rail read out:
Steelton--Company made rail
136-->railweaght
1966-->year rail was made
|||||--->Production Month

Rails that I have seen for the following companys in my Sperry Rail days while working the Northeast U.S. and Canada:

Open Harth-->Oldest that I have seen still in use ranged from 1886-1940
Bethlahem
Lackawanna
Defasco-->Made in Canada
Stelco-->Made in Canada
Steelton
NVCR-->Might be made in China
NECR-->Might be made in China
Nucor
Dudley
LS&Co
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Postby SST » Thu Aug 05, 2004 1:37 pm

It's insulting enough to have rails made in China and shipped here. I can't wait for the day that our battleships and A/C Carriers will have stamped on the hull that says: "Made in China". What will happen if we go to war with China. We'll lose because they'll cut us off. We'll have nothing to fight with. By the time we get new steel mills up and running it will be to late. We'll all be going to re-patriation classes to learn our new manditory language. Chinese!

Perhaps this is a bit too alarmist for this board. :wink:
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Postby Leo_Ames » Sat Aug 07, 2004 3:47 am

Won't ever happen, there hasn't even been a battleship in service since early 1992. :)
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Postby ChiefTroll » Sun Aug 08, 2004 9:08 pm

Otto is correct. The LS Co Buffalo indicates Lackawanna Steel Co, Buffalo Mill.

1000 was the Lackawanna designation for 100 lb ASCE Section rail. The height and base should both be 5-3/4 inches, less any wear.

10 1903 means it was rolled in October 1903. It was open hearth steel.

Some railroads had their own design rail sections, and in those cases like 107NH or 136LV the railroad ID will sometimes be found in the section designator. (PS meant Pennsylvania Standard, not Pittsburg and Shawmut).

Later, around WW I, the month designators used by the rail mills became single hash marks, so 1932 IIIII meant May of 1932.

On the other side of the web are found the furnace, heat, ingot and rail number, which became the serial number of the individual rail.
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Re: Markings on the side of rail?

Postby dbier » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:25 am

Reviving a long dead thread with a question I hope you can answer.

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 rais 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.

Any info is appreciated!
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Re: Markings on the side of rail?

Postby MACTRAXX » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:05 pm

DB: Question answered in Midwest Railfan post...

The rail you pictured was made in May 1949 in BSCO's Lackawanna,NY plant...

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Re: Markings on the side of rail?

Postby BR&P » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:55 pm

Was it CWR? Probably been cropped and welded, no reason why 1949 rail can't still be useful today.
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Re: Markings on the side of rail?

Postby ChiefTroll » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:11 pm

Railroads do not buy rail for the purpose of storing it, and steel mills do not roll rail until the railroad is ready to purchase it. Most railroads lay their rail almost as soon as it is received. Some rail that is rejected by the railroad inspectors is sold to track material suppliers for use in industrial, yard or side tracks, and that rail us commonly stockpiled in small lots.

Jointed rail was usually distributed by the railroad directly from the gondola cars that brought it from the mill. Of course, welding rail into 1/4 mile +/- strings is an intermediate step. The welding plant usually puts the welded strings directly into a rail train, which then is taken out on the railroad and unloaded directly at the site of the rail renewal.

Rail does not degrade over time unless it is buried under coal or it suffers a similar indignity. It only wears, bends or batters under traffic. Wheels rolling over it cause some degree of wear, particularly gauge-side wear on curves. Poor ties or track surface cause the rail to bend, and heavy wheels or loose joint bars cause the rail ends to batter. Rail end batter can be removed by cropping off the joints, bars and all, and welding the bodies of the rails together. Typically each cropped rail is just a bit over 36 inches shorter than its original length, because the bars are usually 36 inches long.

It is not at all uncommon to find good 1949 rail still in service. A watershed year for rail is 1937, because that is the year that controlled cooling was introduced and almost immediately became a universal standard. Controlled cooling provides for the degassing of hydrogen inclusions in the rail. The inclusions are a major cause off shatter cracks in the head, which can develop into transverse fissures and eventually become fractures. I have not seen the image of the rail in question so I cannot tell more about the rail section or its source. BS Co. Lackawanna Mill was a common source for rail in 1949. There is some perfectly serviceable rail in service today in yards, sidings and light traffic lines that is over one hundred years old.

By the way, an earlier post mentioned Dudley. Dr. Dudley was an engineering officer of the New York Central Railroad. He developed several rail sections for the NYC, including 105 DY and 127 DY. The name Dudley identifies those sections, and does not identify the rolling mill.

Another post remarked that railroads would produce some rails for small lots by casting them. Steel rail has never been cast - it is rolled, from "blooms" taken from ingots or from the stream of a continuous casting furnace. A few railroads in the 1870's and 1880's attempted to re-roll worn iron rails, notably the Union Pacific at Laramie in a short-lived experiment. Other than that period, I have never encountered rail produced by a using railroad. The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, which opened the rail mill at Pueblo, Colorado, was organized by several western railroads. The Pennsylvania Railroad once had a large interest in Pennsylvania Steel Company and its mill at Steelton, PA, which later became part of Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

- Gordon Davids
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Re: Markings on the side of rail?

Postby dbier » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:19 pm

Thanks for all the great info. After posting the question on this old thread I realized I should start a new thread. I posted pictures here of the rail and a late 1930s tie plate:
viewtopic.php?f=125&t=140016&p=1161724&e=1161724
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