While out walking earlier we looked from a bridge over the railway and I saw something that has me wondering. About 50 yards along the single track line I saw a strange yellow cylinder, the same diameter but about half as tall as a dustbin, on edge close to the side of the rails. It appears to be connected to to the nearest rail by a white 2.5 inch dia pipe and to the opposite rail by a couple of blue 3/4 inch dia pipes (they may have been cables). The connections are a couple of yards along from a track joint. About another 25 yards along the the line there is the same set up on the opposite side of the line, again not associated with a joint in the rails.
There is no obvious mechanical action at that section of the line nor any close signal equipment so what is it all about?
Railway type friends of mine seem to think it may be something called a 'flange greaser'. Believing I was being subject to a wind up I did a Google search (with Safe Search firmly on!) and it appears to be real!! :-)
Location: Why oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?
Don't knock the wheel tapper (pun intended ). Theirs was a very important and skilled job. By tapping the wheel the resulting sound gave an indication as to whether all was well or not. Quite reassuring when one is bowling along at 80mph.
As it is an extinct profession presumably nowadays one waits until the carriage comes off the rails at 125 mph.
They still tap wheels on trains in South Africa, it seems to be a speciality at early morning stops in places like De Aar and Beaufort West, to wake up the sleeping. Or maybe it's the sound of the wheels being nicked!