SR&RL track questions
- hi all,i have several questions regarding the maine 2 footers (specifically the SR&RL):what was a common tie spacing for the maine 2 footers?what pound rail did the SR&RL use in the last years or operations?were tie plates used on the SR&RL?what were the dimensions of the ties (e.x. how long were they? i am gonna guess 4 or 5 feet long but somebody please correct me if I am wrong)thanks for your help,spencer
If you have access to a copy of Two Feet Between the Rails, Vol. 2, by R. C. Jones, much of what you ask is there.
Tie spacing has gotten debate here before. Yes, there are construction specs that work out to 18" centers. However, if you look at Jones, vol. 2, p 108, the picture clearly shows 18" centers under the locomotive, but 24" centers under the coach. I'll take a picture over a specification any day. It would be a good bet that the track crew laid marginal ties at 18" centers, but more robust ones at wider spacings.
Page 406 has a table of rail sizes from Dec 1916 that shows 76 miles of 35 lb rail with most of the rest of the mileage (notably Farmington to Phillips) being laid in a mix of 45, 50, 52 (10.48 miles), 56, and 58 lb rail. Pictures at the time of scrapping seem to show approximately 35 lb rail on the old P&R. The F&M rail was supposedly never upgraded beyond 35 lb. From the mid 1920s on there wasn't enough traffic to justify heavier rail, and the Maine Central wasn't dictating upgrades, so I doubt much changed.
Tie plates were used, sometimes. They were three hole affairs, one hole on the inside, two on the outside. They were rectangular and made to fit a particular size rail. So, where were they used? I found some in the 1980s on the P&R Sluice Hill grade. But there were many places even on the mainline rails in Farmington, Strong, and Phillips where pictures show they were clearly missing. Were they only bought for 35 lb rail? Not used in yards and sidings? Beats me what the rules were.
Ties were 5 ft long. The early spec was for minimum 7" width and minimum 5" thick, flat on top and bottom. Untreated cedar was the rule. Ties were cut to this spec. by trackside providers (loggers and farmers). But bridge, trestle, and switch ties were supposedly creosoted. Note that there isn't a maximum width for ties, and some pictures show groupings of wide ties.
Hope this helps,
Director, SR&RL RR