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Old 08-31-2009, 09:49 AM   #1
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


So someone above me in the corporate food chain has had the idea to take steel railroad rails we have on site, and make something useful of them.

The idea, is to drive them vertically into a nearby creek so that when water runs hard/fast we can use them to catch trees before they collide with the tressle down stream. If we can catch them, we can remove them and dispose of them properly, without having to risk our structures downstream.

So I take a look at this steel. Approx 35-40 feet long pieces. It's all anywhere from 50 to 60 years old I'd presume, some of it bent, some of it looks straight, to the naked eye at least.

Here's my personal issues with it all, and I'd love a couple other opinions.
1. Steel Rail. Not Steel HP Beams. It's not made to be pounded into the ground.
2. 40' max in a creek bed, driver 20' underground, wouldn't have a strong enough skin frictional force to take a tree running dwnstream.
3. Old steel is still steel. But 50-60 years, and alot of it with trains, would probably get SOME bending/warping/pitting in the beam. thus making driving it even scarier.
4. The biggest railroad beams were produced (in mass) were 155lb/yd. So do they make a pile driver SMALL enough to drive that into the ground?

This is going to be a headache...not to do the job I fear. But to show administrators and businessmen that it isn't technically feasible. I'd LOVE opinions, and if anyone knows a good way to get some Railroad Rail spec sheets...that would be immensely helpful.

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Old 08-31-2009, 10:52 AM   #2
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


I think the force of water in flood stage with trees would bend those like toothpicks

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Old 08-31-2009, 11:02 AM   #3
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I think the force of water in flood stage with trees would bend those like toothpicks
I agree. I have seen trees hit roadway bridges and cause damage.
At best you might slow them down, but I doubt it will stop them.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:28 AM   #4
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


even if they held em,the trapped trees would act as a dam until the force exceeded the limit on the steel then you would have a massive debris filled wall of water crashing into everything downstream and guaranteed to blow out your bridges
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:44 PM   #5
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks it's nuts. I appreciate it.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:25 PM   #6
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


Your state's Department of Environmental Protection (or the equivalent) might have a few choice words to say about something that impedes the natural flow of a waterway under flood conditions. They tend to get uptight about things that back water up behind them, but are by no means engineered as a flood control device. Stack some debris behind this and that's exactly what you'll have.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:29 PM   #7
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


Ayuh,... Do alittle more digging,.. I believe RR rail is 2 different Steels,..
Wear resistent on the top, with a lesser Steel under it...
It brings a Premium as rail over scrap Short Steel...
When you torch cut through the top of the rail, the lower section will Shatter with a blow by a BFH...

I Agree, just driving them into the creek won't stop Squat...
Now, if All tied Together,... That might be Different...
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:40 PM   #8
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


If they do insist on doing this, please setup a web cam so that we can watch
And do submit a video to Funniest Home videos when it falls apart
Also have them fully insure all structures downstream for replacement costs
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:31 PM   #9
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


Draw straws with them for the midnight to 4am shift, you supply the straws...........

Be safe, G
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:07 PM   #10
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


This brings to mind a situation that ocurred here where I live. Our little community has a river flowing through it.
My neighbor decided to have a steel dock made, so that he didn't have to remove the wooden dock in the winter.
He had 6" channel iron driven into the river bottom and had an expanded metal deck installed.
The first winter, all was well! However, in the 2nd winter, we had a very quick warming that flooded the waterway. The flooding waters floated the river ice and great chunks came floating down.
Then an ice jamb occurred where the steel works projected out into the river. All the ice piled up and formed a dam. Water backed up behind the dam and flood the whole area up-stream of the dam.
Finally, the ice bull-dozed the steel dock, twisting it up like a bowl full of spaghetti.
When, all this water was released it roared down-stream to the river mouth at the lake.
Here the ice piled up again, forming a new dam that in turn flooded the community at the river mouth!

I can just imagine the tree's forming a dam on the rails, that would cause areas up-stream to flood. Then, when they finally fail to hold back the water, the whole lot will come roaring at the trestle like a huge bull-dozer that takes the trestle out completely.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:19 PM   #11
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


I think they'll do it regardless of what you prove or disprove. If it then goes wrong scapegoats will be found.
If you meet with these guys, wear a wire. I know I should have, when I was in similar situations.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 08-31-2009 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:15 AM   #12
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
If they do insist on doing this, please setup a web cam so that we can watch
And do submit a video to Funniest Home videos when it falls apart
Also have them fully insure all structures downstream for replacement costs
This is what I was thinking!
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:16 AM   #13
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


Agreed, futile plan.

I assure you that the Corps of Engineers and your state's waterways commission will take serious interest in such a project if your boss doesn't run it by them first.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:53 AM   #14
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


Although I don't think DEP would do alot, seeing as who I work for. Also the fact we're less than 5 miles from a major US river, if that helps with the downstream. It's literally just woods that're owned by my facility. But you guys are making alot of points I've been thinking as well, which I really appreciate. Trust me, if I disapprove and have some strong numbers or logic on my side, i can shoot this thing out of the air. Then the hard part is saying "I know I'm 25, and have been working for 2 months here at your facility, but this is not going to work at all." Ugh.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:59 AM   #15
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Railroad rails....to catch trees.


If the creek/stream/river runs thru the property you very rarely own it or can block it or divert it
We have a stream on our property & just to build a garage 45' away we had to go thru a bunch of paperwork & proper approval.
If we didn't then the State/Feds could step in & make us take it down if it was not properly approved

Are you 5 miles upstream of the major river, or downstream?

How big is the creek?
Ours is only 2-6" deep at times
But in heavy rains that can be 4-5' deep

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