latches control the rate of flow of the material from the pockets of the car to so-called windows in the track center
and outside the rails. When a drop-bottom hopper car is used, as shown in figure 1.10, its pocket is chained to
the desired opening, to prevent too much ballast from being dumped in one spot. A tie is placed in front of the
rear truck of either car to level the new ballast with the top of the rails. To spread less ballast, notches to fit the
rails are cut in the tie, to bring the bottom of the tie below the height of the rail.
Figure 1.10. Distributing Ballast From Hopper Car.
The Jordan spreader and a gasoline-powered ballast regulator are special rail-mounted equipment used to
spread ballast. The Jordan spreader, shown in figure 1.11, not only spreads ballast but also regulates its depth. It
operates on compressed air and must be coupled to a locomotive. This spreader is also used to spread dirt on the
shoulders and to plow snow. The gasoline-powered ballast regulator, shown in figure 1.12, levels the ballast not
only between the rails but also on the shoulders.
No more ballast than can be tamped in 1 day should be spread on the tracks. This amount varies
according to the number of workers and types of tools. The inside of each rail should be cleared of ballast for a
couple of inches in width and depth, to allow room for the wheel flanges of the cars that are to pass over the track
before the ballast is tamped.