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

Laying Tracks

First, longitudinal trenches of appropriate width and lateral trenches for tie-bars were created. The metal chairs were then positioned in the longitudinal trenches, on a foundation of either stone or concrete, and the tie-bars were slipped through the chairs so that the slots in the tie-bars corresponded to the slots in the chairs. Connected by tie-rods, a pair of joint chairs was placed every fifteen feet. The intermediate chairs were placed every five feet.

Wooden templets that corresponded to the "web" of each section of rail were then placed longitudinally in the grooves of the chairs. Operation of these templets spaced the chairs and aligned and gauged the track. Next, the trench was filled with sand or fine concrete and tamped. Only then could the inner templet be removed and the girder of the flange section put in place, and the outer templet removed and the girder of the head section put in place, so that the head and flange sections formed a jointless track. Once two sections of rail were correctly positioned, the wedges were driven into place.

the Gibbon system
Click image for larger view of the Gibbon system. (879K) (From Gibbon Catalogue)