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Catherine L. Gibbon: Improvements in Street Railway Construction, 1892

A Good Foundation

The foundation of all good railroading is a good track, without which, no matter how superior all other appliances and equipment may be, there can be no success. Speed, safety and economy in operating expenses, all depend upon the character of the track.1

As the railroads expanded and more tracks were laid, there was much debate over what materials should be used in construction of the rails and how to use them efficiently. Poor building materials were susceptible to moisture retention from rainy or snowy weather conditions, contributing to a weakening of the track system. Weakened joints in the track were a particular problem; it was no easy task to hold the adjacent ends of two shallow rails or bars firmly together under the impact of the heavily-loaded wheels of a train. Weak joints potentially caused the track to impart a rolling or jumping motion to the train.

1Paine, Charles. "The Elements of Railroading."