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Desirability 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 metal fatigue.
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 various forms.
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.
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