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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 5 (September 1, 1929)

Sleepers of Steel

Sleepers of Steel

In fact, as well as in fiction, the railway is fast becoming an “Iron Way” in every sense of the term. Some time ago there was re-recorded the experimental utilisation of steel sleepers by the Southern Railway of England. Now this lead has been followed by the Great Western line, and lengths of track in South Wales and on the main line near Reading have been equipped with sleepers of a somewhat similar description. The Great Western steel sleepers are eight feet long. They consist of a plate three-eighths of an inch thick, pressed to trough form, with a bead along the lower edge of the trough for stiffening purposes. The sleeper is nine and a quarter inches wide by four and three-sixteenth inches deep for a distance of sixteen inches each side of the centre, and is spread to a width of eleven inches by three and one-eighth inches deep for the remainder of its length. The ends are turned down and splayed to a width of 12 inches. So far, experience gained with the steel sleepers has been most satisfactory. The only difficulty associated with the use of this equipment is the fact that steel sleepers cannot at present be employed on lines where track circuiting is utilised. Here is an opportunity for some brainy railwayman to bring forward a simple device to overcome this difficulty.

On the Continent of Europe the steel sleeper is not unknown, and on the German railways there is a considerable mileage of track so equipped.