Wooden Rail Joiners

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I have a wooden rail joiner that came from the SAL yard in Savannah, Ga., for about 60 lb rail. Does anyone know when these were installed, and in what applications they were used (yard and sidings only)? Thanks!

-- Russell Underwood (Jay611@home.com), December 02, 1999



I think what you have is part of a Weber joint. They were common on rail weights up to about 100#. I remember seeing some on the L&N/W&A main track near Underground Atlanta in the mid seventies.

Unlike the more common rolled steel joint bars, Weber joints were fabricated from steel plate, and looked something like a model railroad rail joiner split lengthwise with a vertical plate attached for the bolts to go through. The wooden part you have was milled to fit between the vertical plate and the web of the rail. Because the Weber joint completely encased the rail below the head it was a very rigid joint, as long as the wooden insert remained sound. The insert was its weakness - they required frequent replacement due to rot and mechanical abrasion. I wonder how they would have fared with a modern hard rubber insert.


-- Gary Bechdol (gbechdol@rwhitehead.com), December 03, 1999.

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