track oilers, was: RE: Weathered reweigh dates, was: Re: Re: IC 40' box car dec
--- In STMFC@..., "Douglas Harding" <dharding@...> wrote:
I was always under the impression that railroads oiled track joints for a twofold purpose; reducing mechanical wear, and ensuring that the parts would pull up tight when the track gang the joints their periodic tightening. Since the rolling of rail requires that there be an angle both on top of the base and under the head, some of the deflection of the joints under load was vectored to stretch the bolts, and bolt tightening was a never ending maintenance task. Oil made it both easier and more effective.
I had never heard of oiling the entire rail for corrosion prevention, but the references cited show that some roads thought this was necessary on some routes.
Meanwhile, there are numerous references to weed spraying trains in the late steam era, usually consisting of a modified boxcar for the pumps and spray equipment, followed by several tankcars, all modified so they could be hosed together and emptied without switching. Photos show folding spray arms that cover the ROW a good number of feet past the tie ends, so it is obvious that vegetation is the target, not the rail. I believe that most these outfits were owned by contractors, not the railroads, but I suppose it was possible that the larger systems had their own.
The railroads still do this today, using water based herbicides rather than oil.