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I have been intending on commenting on the condition of the track in Ottawa because CSX has not properly maintained it. Roger's pictures below show that in 1963 the track was in good shape.
Posted by Marty Bernard. Stuart B. Slaymaker commented "Great shots. Second pic has two suburban passenger RS-3s in the trail, one of which is the 490. This is probably a Saturday or Sunday, as they were used as fill ins on freight, on the weekends."
I started taking some closeups of the track because I noticed that many of the rivet heads were well above the base of the track. I found a stretch of nine ties in a row that had loose rivets. (2021 update: since these photos that I took in 2015, I have been observing rivets in tracks on BNSF, UP, etc. It turns out, loose rivets are quite common.)
The fact that the track is still jointed rather than CWR (Continuous Welded Rail) indicates that CSX is forcing IAIS to run over a bad route. I wonder how well IAIS maintains the former Rock Island route further west that it owns. Checking out the track that IAIS owns would be a reason to do a field trip further west. (Update: it probably is still jointed because the mainline track speed is just 25 mph. [Facebook post])
While I was taking photos of the depot, and the above pulled rivets, I noticed to the west across Columbus Street that there was a "dimple" at each rail joint. This is a common problem with jointed rail and one of the reasons railroads put up with the Summer kinks and Winter breaks of CWR. Also notice the gauge pinch at the edge of the crossing. To catch that bend in the rail is why I lined this photo up along the left rail. (The rail joints look like they are closer than 39' because I took this photo with a telephoto lens.)
At first, I thought that CSX had installed CWR. But...
Street View, Oct 2019
...when I looked closer, the new rail is just part of the crossing upgrade. When I look past the crossing replacement, I see jointed rail again.
Street View, Oct 2019
Here is another example of well maintained jointed-rail track from back when railroad managers worried about serving their customers rather than their Operating Ratio bonuses, paying dividends and buying back shares.
This article first appeared on towns-and-nature.blogspot.com
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