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Any old iron...

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Any old iron...

Old 15th Jun 2022, 10:03
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Any old iron...

...well, steel actually. Noticed several times recently that there are an amazing number of rusting lengths of old steel railway track and/or third rail strewn along the approaches to Woking station, along side the line or resting on the sleepers between each track's rails. Also noticed similar sights elsewhere on the Network Rail estate.

Just curious as to why it is left in situ, surely it has some reuse value as scrap metal?
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 10:16
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I stand to be corrected, but they often put rails to be laid in the centre of the running tracks, they can be there for a long, long time before being used, so look like old rails. In this day and age surprised no one pinches them. Signalling cable often goes missing.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 10:43
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........In this day and age surprised no one pinches them. Signalling cable often goes missing.


Ever tried lifting a piece of rail ? Ever tried loading a 30' piece of rail onto a small 3.5 tonne truck ? A coil of wire is easier to move.

Also, even if you could get it to the scrap yard, it is clearly a train rail and therefore almost certainly nicked, whereas a coil of wire is not quite so identifiable.

What interests me is that rails that are loose or in sidings, rust, but those which are regularly run over don't. Why is this - a film of grease/oil from the train wheel bearings maybe ? Or possibly some sort of galvanic protection between the metal wheels and the rails?
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 10:46
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Friction.

Take a look at a car that's been sitting for a while, the brake discs have a thin rust layer on them. A spin around the block, and they're shiny again. I'd say friction abrades the iron oxide.
mmmmm
mmmmm
mmmmm

Last edited by TWT; 15th Jun 2022 at 10:57.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 11:59
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post

Also, even if you could get it to the scrap yard, it is clearly a train rail and therefore almost certainly nicked
Same with catalytic convertors, but the people who nick them seem to get rid of them without problems...
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 12:13
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post

Ever tried lifting a piece of rail ? Ever tried loading a 30' piece of rail onto a small 3.5 tonne truck ? A coil of wire is easier to move.

Also, even if you could get it to the scrap yard, it is clearly a train rail and therefore almost certainly nicked, whereas a coil of wire is not quite so identifiable.

What interests me is that rails that are loose or in sidings, rust, but those which are regularly run over don't. Why is this - a film of grease/oil from the train wheel bearings maybe ? Or possibly some sort of galvanic protection between the metal wheels and the rails?
Railway tracks are made from Mangalese ...which is a mixture of metals.

Hmmm ! classic !

As a thicko it was always my understanding, that, wheel bearings should be kept lubricated and not used to distribute the lubricant across the tracks....which leads to another minor detail....stopping " xxx " or "xxxx "tonnes of train either routinely or in a hurry....what could possibly go wrong with two lubricated surfaces in contact with each other !

By the way, thanks for the deja vu on the Food Strategy Salt and Sugar Tax and food thread..to wit " I bake my own bread (I have a bread maker)"...mentioned in a previous incarnation using an identical style.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 12:14
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Originally Posted by Saintsman View Post
Same with catalytic convertors, but the people who nick them seem to get rid of them without problems...
There is a legitimate market for used converters. From scrapped cars.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 12:50
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
Railway tracks are made from Mangalese ...which is a mixture of metals.

Hmmm ! classic !

As a thicko it was always my understanding, that, wheel bearings should be kept lubricated and not used to distribute the lubricant across the tracks....which leads to another minor detail....stopping " xxx " or "xxxx "tonnes of train either routinely or in a hurry....what could possibly go wrong with two lubricated surfaces in contact with each other !

By the way, thanks for the deja vu on the Food Strategy Salt and Sugar Tax and food thread..to wit " I bake my own bread (I have a bread maker)"...mentioned in a previous incarnation using an identical style.
Track steel is typically 1084 or equivalent hot rolled steel. This is a medium carbon steel with 0.7% to 0.8% carbon and 0.7% to 1% manganese.
I think Mangalese is a breed of Pig.

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Old 15th Jun 2022, 13:00
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Originally Posted by TWT View Post
Friction.Take a look at a car that's been sitting for a while, the brake discs have a thin rust layer on them. A spin around the block, and they're shiny again. I'd say friction abrades the iron oxide.
Sure, but what I don't get is that the whole surface of an active rail - sides and base too - is rust free, not just the running surface, hence my wondering what stops the rust. Sometimes when stopped in a train you can see what looks like grease/oil mixed with black dust on the sides of the other active rails. If lubricant was migrating from the bearings*, it would not fall on the rail tops because the wheel would be in the way and would prevent that - the lubricant would be thrown clear; but it could get onto the sides of the rails.

*When I say grease or a film of oil, I am talking about microscopically tiny amounts, not a flood !
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 13:24
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
Sure, but what I don't get is that the whole surface of an active rail - sides and base too - is rust free, not just the running surface, hence my wondering what stops the rust. Sometimes when stopped in a train you can see what looks like grease/oil mixed with black dust on the sides of the other active rails. If lubricant was migrating from the bearings*, it would not fall on the rail tops because the wheel would be in the way and would prevent that - the lubricant would be thrown clear; but it could get onto the sides of the rails.

*When I say grease or a film of oil, I am talking about microscopically tiny amounts, not a flood !
I think as the sides of the rail rust they form a thicker and thicker layer of oxide which tends to reduce further corrosion. Then the layer of rust gets covered in dirt and grime and loses its fresh rusty look.

I'm not sure why the 'spare' rails left lying around don't look the same. Maybe they're not left there for as long as we think?
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 13:44
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They can be there months/years, the running lines are typically 10s of years old.

The grease/dust could be just that - the side of rails id greased on tight radius curves to stop the wheels screeching. There is often residue after the greasing points which I guess is grease/dirt/brake dust.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 14:10
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Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
There is a legitimate market for used converters. From scrapped cars.
True, but if the same people are coming regularly with all different types, I think the cops would nick the scrapper for receiving stolen goods
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 14:22
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And back to treadigraph’s question..

Just curious as to why it is left in situ
The word you need is “possession” that is to say the ability of Railtrack to halt normal running in order to carry out works on the rail road. Replacing worn out track is often a nighttime activity and there is often insufficient time to remove tonnes of now scrap rail. That job is a lower priority hence can take months…
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 14:50
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Originally Posted by Mad Monk View Post
Track steel is typically 1084 or equivalent hot rolled steel. This is a medium carbon steel with 0.7% to 0.8% carbon and 0.7% to 1% manganese.
I think Mangalese is a breed of Pig.
How about Mangalloy then...
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 14:52
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
... it was always my understanding, that, wheel bearings should be kept lubricated and not used to distribute the lubricant across the tracks....which leads to another minor detail....stopping " xxx " or "xxxx "tonnes of train either routinely or in a hurry....what could possibly go wrong with two lubricated surfaces in contact with each other!
One of my contemporaries when I was studying Mechanical Engineering at university did a project while on work experience assessing the reduction in wheel wear by greasing rails on bends to determine the particular combinations of radius and speed which benefited from greasing.

So, yeah, they really do grease the rails.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 15:05
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
Sure, but what I don't get is that the whole surface of an active rail - sides and base too - is rust free, not just the running surface, hence my wondering what stops the rust. Sometimes when stopped in a train you can see what looks like grease/oil mixed with black dust on the sides of the other active rails. If lubricant was migrating from the bearings*, it would not fall on the rail tops because the wheel would be in the way and would prevent that - the lubricant would be thrown clear; but it could get onto tForumshe sides of the rails.

*When I say grease or a film of oil, I am talking about microscopically tiny amounts, not a flood !
No, the wheel runs along the head of the rail ( all down to the wheel / rail profile). The flange should never ideally come into contact with the track, and where they sometimes do (sharp curves is one reason, but there are other factors) "flange greasers" are generally deployed to stop flange / rail wear (and to stop an awful screeching sound). There is a lot of interesting science behind the wheel and rail interface, I am sure there are better read people than I on here who cloud explain it in better and in more depth.

As an aside if you have got grease leaking from your axle bearings, you are heading for a "hot box" trackside sensor activation which will hopefully see your train stopped before the bearing catches fire.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 15:35
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Could the "rusty rails" be of similar to Corten steel panels, which develop a thin layer of rust that protects the metal under ?
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 15:44
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Once again, can I just say I am not talking about loads of grease coming out of a bearing !
I am talking about a microscopic amount, of occasional tiny droplets which over time and many years might, I say again might, coat the rails with a tiny layer. Maybe not but I was just curious.

Bearings should be checked every so often and regreased or topped up as part of a maintenance schedule?
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 15:58
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
Once again, can I just say I am not talking about loads of grease coming out of a bearing !
I am talking about a microscopic amount, of occasional tiny droplets which over time and many years might, I say again might, coat the rails with a tiny layer. Maybe not but I was just curious.

Bearings should be checked every so often and regreased or topped up as part of a maintenance schedule?
No grease or lubricant of any kind is good nor applied on a rail head it is simply friction that keeps them shiny.

Wet leaves are a good analogy to grease, and an awful lot of effort goes into keeping the rails clear of them and then treated with a very sticky coarse substance known as Sandite using Rail Head Treatment Trains.

Yes all rail vehicles are subject to rigorous maintenance and overhaul regimes.
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Old 15th Jun 2022, 16:57
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Whilst I do not want to derail this thread, are we all sure it is on the right lines? Maybe diverted due to the Graduate Engineering works?
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