Jointed railroad track - Union Pacific Chester Subdivision

Jointed railraod track along Union Pacific's Chester Subdivision
Jointed rail along the Chester Sub - Cahokia, IL

This view is looking south along a siding with jointed rail on the Union Pacific Chester Subdivision. To the right are the two main tracks of the Chester Subdivision. The siding ends just past the signal bridge in the distance, at Jerome Lane. 

Jointed rail

Jointed rail was the standard before continuous welded rail (CWR) came to be used on railroads. In North America the standard jointed rail length is 39 feet. The jointed rail segments are held together using joint plates which are bolted to the rails. Even though jointed rail is not common place on main lines these days, there is still plenty of jointed rail to be found on sidings, such as the one seen in the photograph above, and on branch lines.

Continuous welded rail

Continuous welded rail is made from welding together the 39 feet track segments, or even longer length segments, to form rail segments of around a quarter of a mile. While jointed rails can be easily carried on a typical railroad flat car, welded rails need to be transported on trains dedicated to carrying them.

Photograph taken: October 13, 2007, at Cahokia, Illinois.


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