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Steam & Excursion > Spike Driver Recommendations Please!


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Date: 11/26/18 10:28
Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: meixel

I am involved with the track laying work at Como, Colorado.  For the last two years we have used spike mauls to drive the spikes.  For us it is a challenge at any altitude and much worse at 10,000 feet!  We are looking at various mechanical spiking tools.  The most heavy duty are pneumatic and hydraulic spikers but they are expensive and require a more expensive air compressor or power unit.  We have found the Dewalt model D25980 Pavement Breaker which costs $999 at HD.  It is electric so it requires a reasonably priced portable electric generator.  Does anyone have experience with it and can tell us if it will be adequate for our needs?

Thank you!

John Meixel
Longmont, CO



Date: 11/26/18 11:58
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: hoggerdoug

I had a fellow last year using an electric jackhammer (deWalt ???) to break up 12 inches of concrete porch. It worked very well and only plugged into the wall outlet for power, although couple of lights in the house dimmed when he started it. That might work very well for pounding spikes, just make sure your portable generator is up to the task.
Doug



Date: 11/26/18 12:09
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: 2720

This machine will probably work for you, the biggest thing is coming up with
a spike driving tool. Not something that would normally come with this
type of equipment. Most tooling that will fit this a points, spades and the
like! For spike driving you would need something with a concave end with a
rim around it to keep it on the spike head.

The other drawback to electric breakers/jackhammers are they are not as
powerful as pneumatic or hydraulic equipment!

Mike



Date: 11/26/18 12:19
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: meixel

Thanks!  I have found several pin driver bits that will fit the Dewalt.  They have the concave end that will fit over a spike head.

John Meixel
Longmont, CO



Date: 11/26/18 13:01
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: czuleget

Try and rent one before you buy it. maybe buy the tool bit for it that way if it is not a good option you are only out price for the tool head. 



Date: 11/26/18 13:06
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: meixel

Good idea.

John Meixel
Longmont, CO



Date: 11/26/18 16:02
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: atsfm177

Once you have determined if it will work or not, please report back.  While I have pneumatic spike drivers, there are lots of times where I only need to drive a few spikes and its too much trouble to drag out the air.  That and I'm getting to old to swing a spike maul.  :-)
 

Greg Ramsey
Oxnard, CA



Date: 11/26/18 22:47
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: webmaster

From experience it will not work.

I have a Makita electric hammer that I tried on spikes two summers ago when I was involved with replacing a road crossing on the Nevada Northern Railway.  We took an off the shelf bit and welded a collar around it to aid in hammering spikes.  It did not work.  The electric hammer did not have enough force to hammer in spikes.    However, we successfully used it for tamping ballast.  We took one of the chisel bits and ground the point flat so it could shove the ballast under the ties.   The electric hammers and a small Honda generator are worthwhile tools for track work, just not for hammering spikes.

Here is our video showing the project and you'll see the Makita in action for tamping.

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,4382340,4382340#4382340




 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 11/27/18 01:48
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: wcamp1472

Hear Hear!

The voice of experience.
Not having the necessary mass to drive spikes, makes total sense.
You've come up against Newton’s Laws of Motion....
Trackwork, for actual service is VERY HARD WORK.  Expect to be worn out by the experience, in short order.

Try checking the used market with outfits that specialize in track work equipment, for the proper air tools.
Or, try balsawood crossties.

Thank you, Todd.

W.



Date: 11/27/18 05:16
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: meixel

A person in our group has a electric hammer that only weighs 30 pounds.  It could pound the spikes in around 80% and then it had to be finished with a spike maul.  The Dewalt weighs 68 pounds so we believe it should have enough force.

John Meixel
Longmont, CO



Date: 11/27/18 07:07
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: railstiesballast

Railroads and contractors have periodic sales of surplus equipment.  If you can find a copy of Railway Track & Structures magazine there will be lists of equipment brokers.
Or the web search.....
A small walk-behind hydraulic unit should work, of course you may need to replace the engine, some hoses and other wearing parts, and re-set the gauge.



Date: 11/27/18 07:15
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: Buhl56

You should consider pre-drilling the spike holes.  

It may make driving the spikes easier, and it may make them more accurate if you are inexperienced.
It can reduce splitting of ties and less fiber distortion.

A 1/2" electric drill and long bit may work.  It does depend upon spike size.

Bill 



Date: 11/27/18 10:14
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: meixel

Thanks.  We drill pilot holes today.

John Meixel
Longmont, CO



Date: 11/27/18 11:04
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: CPRR

With pre-drilled holes, would waxing the spikes (do that with wood screws) help in the driving?

Just a thought

Posted from iPhone



Date: 11/27/18 16:57
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: spnudge

Lots of factors. 

 New ties, used ties. If they are used you want to get a bag of plugs or sticks.  Leave the switches to someone that has done 50 or more. 

They yanked us off our power one day at Ft. Eustis to "help" "A" company. I don't know if they ever got King Jct. fixed after we worked on it.. All they gave us were hand tools. We stole a tractor from the golf course and invinted our own "Track Crew". Used the tractor to pull the old ties out with a cable & tie tong. Fed the cable back thru the old hole in the ballast and pulled a new one back in its place.  Someone showed up with a jack hammer. We used the engines air to run it. Somewhere the first shirt showed up with an attachment that fitted right over the spikes head and locked into the hammer. It looked like hell when we were done but it worked. We made it around the curve and hid in the shade until they found us around  1600. "C" company was never used as a track gang again when I was there.


Nudge



Date: 11/27/18 17:17
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: Spoony81

We sell these where I work. Our customers use them to drive traffic sign posts into the ground using special shanks and drive caps we make. They’re pricy though, around 4 grand but if they can drive sign posts into hard dirt then I’d say a spike wouldn’t be an issue

https://www.atlascopco.com/en-us/construction-equipment/products/handheld/breakers/petrol-breakers/cobra-proi-short

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/18 17:39 by Spoony81.



Date: 11/28/18 02:50
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: dan

air comprssor and a jack hammer with a different attachment.  set the spikes with a maybe a drill and a 5lb hammer



Date: 11/28/18 05:39
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: Buhl56

CPRR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> With pre-drilled holes, would waxing the spikes
> (do that with wood screws) help in the driving?
>
Waxing (or soaping) screw threads is acceptable, especially for long threads compared to diameter where you may break the screw before seating it.  The threads cut into the wood, and keep the screw from being pulled out by the load.

It's not  a good idea to wax spikes or nails, which are retained by friction of wood fibers bent during driving.  

Bill



Date: 11/28/18 06:22
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: meixel

Thanks everyone!

John Meixel
Longmont, CO



Date: 11/28/18 14:10
Re: Spike Driver Recommendations Please!
Author: EMDSW-1

railstiesballast Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Railroads and contractors have periodic sales of
> surplus equipment.  If you can find a copy of
> Railway Track & Structures magazine there will be
> lists of equipment brokers.
> Or the web search.....
> A small walk-behind hydraulic unit should work, of
> course you may need to replace the engine, some
> hoses and other wearing parts, and re-set the
> gauge.

OPR has obtained and reconditioned in-house  a Fairmont/Harsco 130B ride along curve gang spiker which is a single-sided machine and only weighs about 7,500 pounds. It feeds, sets and drives the spikes from a joystick control panel, is self propelled;has a 3 cylinder air cooled diesel engine and a turntable. Best investment we ever made my crew says!

Dick Samuels
Oregon Pacific Rail



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