Gage rods are used to hold track to
proper gage. They are generally used on
curves. One is shown in figure 3.17. The
only guide to location and extent of use is
experience. If track on a particular curve is
continually spreading, then gage rods are
justified. In track-circuit territory, they must
Figure 3.16. Typical Rail Brace.
Figure 3.17. Typical Gage Rod.
Several fixtures are used to fasten parts of the track together. Steel tie plates spread the
train weight over a wider area than does the rail base and keep the rails from cutting into the tie.
The rails are held on the ties by hook head spikes, and the holes left by pulling the spikes are
filled with softwood plugs. Screw spikes are used in some European and other countries. Thrust
of the rail is resisted by rail anchors, braces, and gage rods.
Section IV. Rail Joints
Perhaps the most characteristic sound associated with railroads is the continuous "clickity
clack" heard when a train is moving over track. To the casual passenger, it is a friendly sound
but to a track maintenance man, it is a reminder of the rail joints that demand constant
attention. A typical rail joint is pictured on the next page.
Theoretically, a perfect rail joint would have the same strength and characteristics as the
rail itself so that together they would behave like one continuous length of rail. But joints are