How to lay train track faster (1896)

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Jupiter and Lake Worth Railway 1896

A trick and a truck for a speedy train track-laying

Robert Beherends of Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, has been granted patents for a machine intended to lay railway track at a rapid pace. The idea of this invention is that the work of fastening the rails to the ties, at the proper distance apart, can be done in a factory while the road is being graded. When that is done, the machine will lay the sections out in front of itself and proceed over them as soon as the joints have been bolted together.

The machine consists of a heavy truck with an inclined track mounted on it, over which a grappling movement travels.

The rail sections are piled six or eight deep on small trucks, which in turn are mounted on flat cars having a track on top of each and also connected between the cars, so that the trucks can be moved from one end of the train to the other.

When ready for work the track-laying machine is put at the head of the train of freight cars. One of the cars is directly under the gripper mechanism, so that a section of rails can be raised onto the inclined track. The gripper movement is then allowed to slide down the inclined track, which pushes the rail section out the right distance beyond the completed track and until they strike the ground. The train of cars is then “backed up” a few feet and the other end of the section drops off.

It is then only necessary for a few men with crowbars to slide the section to just the right place and bolt the ends of the rails together. While this is being done another section of rail can be hoisted into position, and the machine can then go ahead over the new track and repeat the operation just described. When one pile of rails is exhausted from the nearest freight car the trucks that carried them are lifted off and the pile of rails behind rolled forward into position.

This apparatus should lay rails at a very rapid rate, and in time of war ought to prove most valuable.

A trick and a truck for a speedy train track

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