Problems resulting from junctions of railroads with tracks of different gage are minor in the United States where
practically all lines are the standard 56 1/2-inch gage. It is probable, however, that such difficulties will arise in
military operation of oversea railroads. Although these problems primarily affect the operating department, the
solutions often affect the maintenance-of-way department. A yard located where tracks of different gage meet
may have to serve both lines. Then it is necessary for all tracks to have three rails. One is commonly used by
both types of rolling stock while each of the other two serves only one road. This solution is simple in ordinary
track but becomes more involved in switches and crossings. Three-rail track is obviously a great deal more
difficult to maintain, but the procedures, aside from being complicated, are similar to those for two-rail track.
An electrified railway is one on which the locomotives do not carry with them the source of their power,
such as coal or oil. Instead, they collect energy from an electric power line as they move along the track. The
power may be supplied by a third rail alongside the track or by an overhead trolley wire.
On both military and civilian railroads, specially trained men are responsible for maintaining electric
transmission equipment. They should always be informed or consulted if other maintenance work may affect
power lines, trolley wires, or third rails. Examples of such work include major track raises under overhead trolley
wires or along third rails, changes of alinement, or operation of odd-sized equipment that may extend to within a
close clearance of electric conductors.
To insure the safety of track maintenance men working near third-rail or overhead lines, it is desirable and
required by many railroads that electric transmission employees accompany them. Men working in electrified
territory should know how to administer artificial respiration to revive victims of electric shock. When removing
a victim from contact with energized conductors, no part of the victim's bare skin should be touched. The victim
may be dragged away from the conductor by his dry clothing, or with rubber gloves, or he may be pushed or
dragged away with a nonconducting material, such as dry wood or rope. In addition, both third rails and overhead
trolley wires require special safety precautions by track forces.