ACL rail weight : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread


I've got this info stashed away somewhere but.... Can tell someone tell me the rail weights the ACL used on their main lines, sidings, and yard trackage? Thanks,


-- David Wiggs (, January 22, 2002


Please disregard the date 1930's for the rail above. It may be earlier 1900? also it may be Richmond and Petersburg RR. Any one have rail sizes for Richmond and Petersburg mainline before 1900.

-- Randall Bass (, January 23, 2002.

I have several fence post made of ACL rail. Most are marked in the 88 LB range. The web reads BICO or PICO steel crown about 2 1/2", base about 4". Wear from wheels is extensive on one side of the crown. Steel is brittle and will break. Dates maybe to the 30's.

-- Randall Bass (, January 22, 2002.

I doubt if it was greater than 100 lb rail. The mainline down to Wildwood was 100 lb as of 1947, when the Meteor derailed at Maxville.

-- Mike Savchak (, January 22, 2002.

What weight of rail did Seaboard use on their Baldwin sub. and the Brooksville subdivision? I would assume that the Baldwin used heavier rail than the Brooksville. My interest is the steam era years around WW2. Thanks!!

Richard Stallworth

-- Richard Stallworth (, January 22, 2002.

As Harry mentioned, the TC&I 100 lb rail had a tendency to develop transverse fissures and shatter under movement. While ACl and FEC were plagued with derailments due to this rail, SAL experienced its problems postwar. The Silver Meteor was derailed at Blaney NC on Jan 2, 1946 and the Orange Blossoom Special was derailed at Maxville Fla on February 14, 1947,, due to transverse fissures in 100 lb TC&I rail.

The problem was serious. After the Oct 17, 1943 derailment at Bellbluff Va. on the ACL, the ICC noted that in the past year, 1278 defective rails were replaced on the ACL. That works out to 3.5 a day!

-- Michael W. Savchak (, January 22, 2002.

During the installation of CTC from Sanford to Tampa, Florida (Circa 1950)those mainline rails were relaid with 115 pound rail. I think the pass tracks were smaller rail 100 pound?

The Orlando yard was a mixture of many various vintage and sizes of rail down to 60 pound. This created much consternation when rails broke. Obsolete angle bars, trying to match different size rails without proper compromise joints etc....

As an aside, if you have ever noticed on the old ACL branch lines of ligher rail, the actual portion of the road crossings would be relaid with larger size rail. That was because there were no insulated joints available for the ligher rail. This was in the "X" circuit of the actual highway portion of the crossing. This determined when the crossing lights went off as the caboose cleared the crossing.

The "X" circuit was not able to be turned off with a switch key at the signal case or key pedestal. It was always an active circuit. When ever the "X" circuit was fouled, the signals would activate.

Curtis E. Denmark Jr.

-- Curtis E. Denmark Jr. (, January 22, 2002.

Until the mid-1940's ACL's main line was laid in 100# rail rolled by Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company. Begining on March 30, 1941 and continuing for several years, ACL had a series of derailments caused by transverse fissures. As information, FEC's main line was laid in 90# rail rolled by Tennessee. FEC had two passenger trains derail in a 24-hour period attributed to transverse fissures. ACL replaced the 100# rail with 131# rail. It was subject to head and web separations, but can't recall any serious derailments traced to 131# rail.

-- Harry Bundy (, January 22, 2002.

Well since I was born in Brooklyn, I guess I have to say that the greeting is more like Youse'all!

Anyway-based upon the various accident reports, pre-war-that is between say 1925-26 and 1945, most of the mainline was 100 lb rail rolled by Tennessee Coal and Iron Co. This rail unfortunately had a propensity to shatter, causing numerous tragedies, inluding the wrecks at Buie and Stockton. After the war, ACL started to relay their mainline with 131 lb rail.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, January 22, 2002.

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