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safeloc Installer_TM.jpg

Thankfully, today’s railroad workers don’t have to drive spikes John Henry style.  Tools like this dual railroad clip installer save time — and help prevent repetitive stress injuries — by automatically driving in clips to hold rails in place on modern concrete ties.  It takes an incredible amount of force to install these clips quickly, which this device receives from a separate hydraulic power unit.  The power units come in electric, diesel, and gas-powered versions.

It installs both clips simultaneously.  You stand over the rails and squeeze the trigger to install the clips, and the installer disengages and opens up once you release the trigger.  The entire device is kept on track (literally) by a small guide wheel, which also folds up to reduce the space required for storage.

If you’re interested in fulfilling your “steel driver” fantasies — but don’t want to sweat it out too much — you’re going to have to contact PortaCo, Inc. and see if they’ll sell you one.  Obviously it’s not for everyone, so they don’t really advertise pricing to the general public.

Dual Safeloc Wheeled Installer [PortaCo, Inc.]


5 Responses to It’s Just Cool: A Railroad Clip Installer

  1. John Henry says:

    I’m John Henry and I’m really getting a kick out of this, i was about to build a new railroad.

    Good find on a tool that is obscure. When I finally buy my mansion, I’ll put down some trolley tracks with these.

  2. Evan N. says:

    Hopefully one of these won’t meet the fate of Mr. Steam Drill and scatter ‘cross the hills.

  3. Mel says:

    I’m now curious as to where concrete railroad ties are used. I’m a bit of a railfan, but I’ve never seen them.

  4. I was under the impression that any new rails being laid were concrete. But I could be wrong on that. I do know that in my area (New York City and Suburbs) they’ve been converting all of the old wooden ties to concrete for years now. Most of the more heavily traveled lines are already converted, at least the ones used by Metro-North (the commuter railroad serving the suburbs north of the city). Amtrak and freight traffic come through the same right of way, but I’m not sure if they actually run on the same rail lines. I think there’s one down the center that’s still got the wooden ties, and it’s where I see the passenger and freight trains come through. (I ride the train into NYC each day)

  5. tony clark says:

    I believe all the big class one railroads are now concrete ties and continuous rail. I do know my local lines are all class 2 and they are still wooden ties and weld rail.

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