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I Forge Iron

RR thingy

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I've got a few pieces of steel and I have no idea what they are or what alloy they are. They were found in a big pile of RR spikes, so I assume they have something to do with that industry. They have a surprising amount of hot hardness; we have to bring them nearly to burning to move the steel around at all. Anybody know what I'm dealing with here?



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We got a couple of buckets of those at Ft Vancouver as a donation.

It slips my mind as to what the guy who donated them (he worked for the RR) said they were. Some sort of clip I think.

You're right about them being hard! We made lots of punches, chisels and the like with them.

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Yeah they basically do the same thing as a spike. I have seen them used in conjunction with spikes and I have seen them used in place of spikes.

I think the idea is that under the weight of rolling wheels the track flexes which has the effect of wiggling the spikes out of their seat (like pulling a nail with a hammer). Track maintenance machines have to frequently hammer them back down. I think the idea of the spring tie holder is is allows some flexing without pulling out of its own seat.

I would guess the steel is pretty good because it tends to be used on mainlines, in situations where you have heavy trains moving at high speeds. They tend to use much better steel on those lines than they would on a spur line or somewhere trains always move slow. I've worked with spikes that have ranged from extremely soft to extremely hard, so I really don't know what they are until I get them heated up and under a hammer, but generally the larger and newer spikes are better, and I think the spring clips are of the family of better steel, at least in terms of track.

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