Rail Oiler

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Aug 25 09:03:23 EDT 2004


Although I've not seen the "N&W Signal Diagrams" book, I'll take a WAG and
say it refers to what is now called a "flange lubricator".

These are devices that spread a thin film (microns thick) of a very low
viscosity grease on the rail at the point of contact between the railhead
and the flange surface of the wheels. The device is activated by the passage
of a train over it.

Many railroads believe that the use of flange lubricators reduces the
frictional drag of a train--particularly around sharp curves (10 degrees or
more). There are several nearby to where I live in North Carolina on the CSX
line (nee Seaboard Air Line) from Hamlet to Bostic.

One in particular interested me. It is located in Waco, NC and is on a very
long tangent! Kind of blows the whole hypothesis as to why flange
lubricators are used in the first place.

Then I noticed that about 50 yards west of the lubricator is a very
noticeable vertical curve. Seems like the hypothesis holds for curves of all

Remember, this is just a WAG as to what the book was referring to. You are
correct in most instances that oily rails aren't particularly desirable.



-----Original Message-----
From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 6:09 PM
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Subject: Rail Oiler

As I was perusing my recently purchased copy of the NWHS "N&W Signal
Diagrams" book I found something I had never seen or even been aware of. 
It is found on pages 59 and following in the a fore mentioned book.  It
is a "rail oiler".  Can any one on the list fill me in on why they were
used and where.  It's obvious that it was to put oil on the railhead. 
I've always thought that oil and rails don't mix and make for a very
slippery time. 

Thanks ahead of time for any and all info.

Dave Moorehead
Milford, OH

The best thing to hit the Internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the Web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!
NW-Mailing-List at nwhs.org

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list