of Removing Rail Joints
The earliest memories of many from
childhood days relate to the Clickerty-clack'
of steam railways.
In those days every schoolboy knew that
rails were sixty foot long and had to have fairly loose bolted joints so that
the rails could expand in the hot weather and contract in the cold. Well
understood also to the regular suburban commuter was the familiar sight from
the carriage window of the plate-layer driving in keys and greasing fish bolts.
For many experienced railwaymen sizeable
annual workload and removal of joints, if it could be done practically and safely,
would be a giant leap forward. Apart from the reduction of potential track
irregularities and smoothing and quietening down of the ride, removal of
however,the rail joints would clearly show a reduction of wear on wheels and
rolling stock components in general. There would also be an improvement in the
performance of under-frame and bogie components, which are highly subject to
Up to the outbreak of the Second World
War in 1939, mechanical, civil, structural and marine engineers had all used
bolting and riveting as the main method of joining together steelwork in its
During the War, metal arc welding began
to be used for the first time and after the War welding began to be used
extensively, particularly in structures, machines and ships.