Copyright 2002 - 2008 IFORGEIRON, All rights reserved.
BP0011 Common Railroad Steels
by Bob Nichols
Crane Rail ASTM A 759 C=.67-.84, Mn=.70-1.10
Girder (RR) Rails ASTM A2 Class A: C=.60-.75, Mn=.60-.90
Class B: C=.70-.85, Mn=.60-.90
Class C: C=.75-.90, Mn=.75-.90.
Rail Ts ASTM A1 60 to 84 lb/yd: C=.55-.68, Mn=.60-.90
85-114 lb/yd: C=.70-.80, Mn=.70-1.0
115 lb/yd: C=.74-.84, Mn=.80-1.1
Track Bolts ASTM A183 Grade 1: Cmin=.15
Grade 2: C=.27min
Screw Spikes ASTM A66 No chemistry specified.
Track Spikes ASTM A65 Grade 1: C= .12 min
Grade 2 (HC): C=.3 min.
Joint Bars ASTM A3 Grade 1: carbon not specified
Grade 2: C=.30max
Grade 3: C=.45 max.
RR Track bolts and nuts: Grade 1 = .15 carbon,
Steel tie plates: Gr. 1 = .15 C,
Gr. 2 = .35-.85 (?).
RR spikes: Gr. 1 = .12C,
Gr. 2(HC) = .30C.
All values taken from ASTM Vol. 1.04 (2002).
OK to stop the guessing here is my file on RR steel: spikes, anchors---the weird shaped clips and rail:
American Railway Engineering Association's Specifications for Soft-Steel Track Spikes. Original document, 1926, revised last in 1968
Two classes of track spikes are given specifications, both low carbon and high carbon. Two sizes of track spike are identified, one of 5/8 inch square shaft and one of 9/16 inch.
Page 5-2-1. "A low carbon track spike will not contain greater than 0.12% carbon nor greater than 0.20% copper.
Page 5-2-2. Section 6a.
Bending properties: The body of a full size finished spike shall stand being bent cold through 180 degrees flat on itself without cracking on the outside portion of the bent portion.
Page 5-2-2 Section 11. Marking. A letter or brand indicating the manufacturer shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters "CU" shall be added.
Page 5-2-3: Specifications for high carbon steel track spikes 1968. Carbon not greater than 0.30%, nor greater than 0.20% c
opper. Page 5-2-4. Section 6a. Bending properties: The body of a full size finished spike shall stand being bent cold through 120 degrees around a pin, the diameter of which is not greater than the thickness of the spike without cracking on the outside portion of the bent portion.
Page 5-2-5 Section 11. Marking: A letter or brand indicating manufacturer and also the letters "HC" indicating high carbon, shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters "CU" shall be added."
Additionally included in a fax to Mike Blue by the gentleman at Wellington industries, a division of Sheffield Steel:
"Because of the bending tests required, the carbon content will not be greater than 0.30%. After all, brittle spikes would not be desirable as a track spike. A bent spike still holds the rail while a fractured spike would not. The consequences for the industry would be too great to consider. However, we refer to them as high carbon, they are not within the range of steels known as high carbon or hypereutectoid according to the steel industry standards, and have not been since at least 1926, when most track spikes were previously manufactured from wrought iron."
Of course, while some people will say .30% is bad, I know from personal experience that a well made spike knife will take a good edge. It's very likely that the document lays out desired guidelines, but the margin for error is high and some spikes end up with plenty carbon to be made serviceable. Which is why we always spark test them first.
From Matt B on Anvilfire 08/08/2007 12:10:21 EDT
"The current standard for rail anchors is 1040-1060 steel, depending upon manufacturer."
I am citing the Arema (The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association) 2007 document, Part 2 "manufacture of Rail"
Standard rail steel:
.74 to.86% Carbon,
.75 to 1.25% Manganese,
.10 to .60% Silicon
Minimum Brinell (of unhardened surface) 310 or 370 dependant of grade ordered.
Low Alloy Rail Steel
.72 to .82% Carbon,
.80 to 1.10% Manganese,
.25 to .40& Chromium,
.10 to .50% Silicon
Minimum Brinell (of unhardened surface) 310, 325, or 370 dependant of grade ordered.
My document shows the following breakdown for grades:
SS = standard strength (brinell 310)
HH = Head Hardened (brinell 370)
LA = Low Alloy Standard Strength (brinell 310)
IH = Low Alloy Intermediate (brinell 325)
LH = Low Alloy Head Hardened (brinell 370)
Clips and rail make much better knives than spikes!
My thanks for the people who have posted the excerpts from the specs that I have saved away just for this type of thread!
e knuckle couplers, looks like they are about 85 lbs, and the alloy specs listed are are similar to 4330 but with only half the nickel content. Stevomiller
According to the 1968 standard, a regular "soft steel" spike would have a maximum of 0.12% carbon, and a "high carbon" spike would have a maximum of 0.30%. The new standard is for ALL spikes to have a carbon content between 0.17% and 0.25%.
Edited by Glenn