Rail Anchors

Disclaimer/Printing Acknowlegment
Rail Anchors Defined
Rivet Tool from a Rail Anchor
Pipe Swage Made from 2 Rail Anchors
Other Rail Anchor Projects

Rail Anchors - Defined

The white bar is where the bottom of the rail would be.
For scale the picture is 8.5" x 11". All of these specimens were located within only a few yards of each other along a track in Irving, TX. (DFW Metro Area).

A- This one has a "T" cross section and is called the "Fair® Rail Anchor" mfg by "Portec Rail Products, Inc." Old link - http://www.portecrail.com/html/ra.htm

B- This one has a "U" cross section. The opening is down, away from the rail.
C- This one has a made plain retangular bar stock.
Unit Rail Anchor Co. makes a product similar to B and C. Take a look.

From the Railroad Glossary, Terms, Definitions
Anticreeper- A device attached to the base of a rail and bearing against a crosstie, to keep the rail from moving longitudinally under traffic. Also called Rail Anchor.

Rail anchor- A device attached to a rail to keep it from moving longitudinally as a result of temperature change or under traffic. Also called anticreeper.

Rail creeping- Intermittent longitudinal sliding movement of rails in track under traffic or because of temperature changes. The effect of rail creeping is resisted by anticreepers or rail anchors.

A similar item is sold at this link. This product is for maintaining a current in an electrified rail system. Old link - http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/track/kaufman/index.html - A. KAUFMANN AG - KAGO RAIL CONTACT CLAMPS

Railroad Definitons. An excellent set of graphics defining the parts of the rail and tie system.

My interest in railroads and its hardware is much as any young feller. Trains, planes and boats ... anything that is big, moves and makes a great sound. I was raised in southern Oklahoma only a mile from a railroad and brought home every old spike or whatever that I could pick up and mom or dad didn't tell me to throw down.

From this and many other such things I developed a taste for tools and wood and metal were my main stay. At about age 27 (1987) I met op with some folks that did blacksmithing and that has been a passion ever since. I didn't get into using old railroad stuff until I joined the North Texas Blacksmiths Association (NTBA) and found some advice and encouragement to do more 'smithing.

This article is being written because of some mis-guidance or at least possibly mis-leading info from a the Summer 2000, Hammer's Blow, page 17-18 (ABANA Periodical see www.abana.org). In a terrific article about making "A Heading Plate" (which I need and will try to make someday) the stock was a discarded "spring clip from a railroad rail". I had recently made a pipe fuller from such a device (the "T" section type marked "A" in the picture"). The neat "bar" shape of the rivet header seemed like a lot of work to be made from what I was thinking about, them I remembered seeing different types of these things and like the author, didn't know their name either. Note that there was niether picture, drawing or description of the orginal rail anchor.

The heading plate from the Hammer's Blow - it appeared to be about 15" long and 1.5" wide and 0.5" thick with a rectagular cross section. The holes are from about 0.25" to 0.625" from what I could see in the article. The holes should match your common rivets and whatever holes you would like.

An Internet search ensued and the above references showed up. I didn't find a page such as this, and wanted to document what I had found. I love railroads and blacksmithing and this is a good way to tie them together.

The use of old railroad stuff (spikes, rail anchors, bolts, rods, springs, I even have a piece of a coupler with a chain and rachet with a square hole in it that I used for a makeshift hardie hole, etc.) is as natural as using any other old tool or scrap metal to give life to some new items. This is in keeping with the craftsman blacksmiths of old that had to rely on their scrap pile and reuse what they could. The local hardware store didn't sell iron and if it did the cost was prohibitive in many cases (sounds like today, huh?) The blacksmith is a master at "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle", even before the green earth and other late 20th century fads.

Let me know if you have any more interesting things to do with rail anchors. I have a bucket or two full of this "new old steel" for new tools or handy items. And the price is reasonable, just some more sweat.