Introduction of Rail Spikes and Rail screws
Update time：2014-03-14 Source: wikipedia
Rail spikes Rusted cut spikes (scale in inches)
A rail spike (also known as a cut spike or crampon) is a large nail with an offset head that is used to secure rails and base plates to railroad ties in the track. Robert Livingston Stevens is credited with the invention of the railroad spike, being first used in at least 1832. The railroad spike was an invention which resulted from the state of industrialisation in the United States in the early 19th century: English mainline railways of that period used heavy and expensive cast iron chairs to secure T shaped rails; instead, Stevens added a supporting base to the T rail which could be fixed with a simple spike. As of 1982, the spike was still the most common rail fastening in North America. Common sizes are from 9 to 10/16 inch square and ~5.5 to 6 inch long.
A rail spike is roughly chisel shaped and with a flat edged point; the spike is driven with the edge perpendicular to the grain, which gives greater resistance to loosening. The main function is to keep the rail in gauge. When attaching tie plates the attachment is made as strong as possible, whereas when attaching a rail to tie or tie plate the spike is not normally required to provide a strong vertical force, allowing the rail some freedom of movement.
Originally spikes were driven into wooden sleepers by hammering them with a heavy hammer by hand. This manual work has been replaced by machines, commonly called "spike drivers" (A machine that removes spikes is called a "spike puller"). Splitting of the wood can be limited by pre-boring spike holes or adding steel bands around the wood.
For use in the United States three basic standards are described in the ASTM A65 standard, for different carbon steel contents.
The rail spike has entered American popular consciousness; the driving of the "Golden Spike" was a key point in North American development of the western seaboard. Also characters such John Henry (folklore) have been celebrated in song and verse, as have railroad workers in general.
A dog spike is functionally equivalent to a cut spike and is also square in horizontal section and of similar dimensions but has a pointed penetrating head, and the rail (or "plate holding") head has two lugs on either side (which aid spike removal) giving the impression of a dog's head.
Rusted screw spike
A screw spike, rail screw (or lag bolt) is a large (~6" length, slightly under 1" diameter) metal screw used to fix a tie plate or fasten rail. Screw spikes are fixed into a hole bored in the sleeper. The screw spike has a higher cost to manufacture than the rail spike but has the advantage of greater fixing power; approximately twice that of a rail spike, and can be used in combination with spring washers.
The screw spike was first introduced in 1860 in France (French tire-fond), and became common in continental Europe.
A dog screw is somewhat similar to a screw spike, except that the screw thread doesn't spiral. The dogscrew is hammered in, and grips the timber better than a dogspike which is smooth. At the same time, the dogscrew is cold-forged, which reduces cost.
Fang bolts have also been used for fixing rails or chairs to sleepers; the fang bolt is a bolt inserted through a hole in the sleeper with a fanged nut that bites into the lower surface of the sleeper. For fastening flat-bottomed rails an upper-lipped washer can be used to grip the edge of the rail. They are more resistant to loosening by vibrations and movement of the rail. They are thought more effective than spikes and screws and so are used in positions such as switch (point) tieplates, and on sharp curves.
Spring spike fastener
Spring spikes, (or elastic rail spikes) are used with flat-bottomed rail, baseplates and wooden sleepers; the spring spike holds the rail down and prevents tipping, and also secures the baseplate to the sleeper. The Macbeth spike (trade name) is a two-pronged U-shaped staple-like spike bent so that it appears M-shaped when viewed from the side. Inverted J-shaped single pointed spikes have also been used.
The spike maul, also known as a spiking hammer, is a type of sledgehammer with a long thin head which was originally used to drive spikes.
Manual hole drilling and spike or screw insertion and removal have been replaced by semi-automated or automated machines, both pneumatic and hydraulic. Machines that remove spikes are called spike pullers.