Tying it together

Railroad... plates? Grills? Reinforcements? Stabilizers? Irons?

Calling all railroad afficianados! Do you know what the metal cheese-grater plates on the ends of some railroad ties are called? ‘Cos I can’t figure it out.

Apparently “plates” are what you call the thingies on TOP of the ties (aka “sleepers”) that hold the rail in place. Both Wikipedia and Google have been most unhelpful in my quest for the correct terminology.

I’m guessing the grate-plate-iron-things are for reinforcement— so that the wood doesn’t rot and collapse too quickly. But that’s just a guess.

Aaaaaaaanyway. This is a stack of ’em at Gillette Station.


4 Comments to “Tying it together”

  1. They reduce the amount of splitting that occurs naturally on the wood railroad tie.

  2. Ah, so the wood doesn’t split too quickly. Okay. Awesome!

    Do you happen to know what they’re called?

  3. You’re getting to be a fantastic photographer. Good for you. I’d like to believe everything has a name. And if you can’t find the name for one particular thing, then you break that thing down to its function and search for the name of something that accomplishes the same function. The function of your plates, I believe, is to keep the wood grains/fibers from breaking apart as they expand or otherwise deteriorate in their exposed condition. So the associated function is a plate that holds something together. The engineering term for such a plate is a “patress.” Continue to search for a better word. And don’t be fooled, patress can take any form and shape, though they are most typically associates with wall-ties alleviating stress on historic masonry structures.

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