4 Types of Fasteners Used Within Rail Construction
Blindbolt NZ | 30th March 2021
Blind bolt fastener
In general terms the rail construction industry makes use of four main types of fastener. These are blind bolts, fang bolts, spring spikes and screw spikes. Each of the fasteners has different attributes and is best suited to particular uses, as detailed below:
Blind Bolt Fasteners
Blind Bolt fasteners offer the huge advantage of being simple to install with disruption kept to a minimum, so that staff and travellers alike can continue to make use of the rail service in question. The reputation for strength, durability and high performance which blind bolts come with means that they are the certified choice for fitting automatic warning system (AWS) units onto steel sleepers in a secure manner.
Since AWS units of this kind represent the most vital aspect of the entire rail safety system it is imperative that they can be attached in a safe, convenient and effective manner, and blind bolt fixings are the best choice for all of these reasons. As well as strength and durability, blind bolts provide ease of use, quick, simple installation and ultimate convenience.
The fact that no specialist tools are required to install blind bolts makes them the ideal choice for even the largest infrastructure maintenance and construction projects, many of which provide only limited access and demand the minimum level of disruption.
Fang bolts incorporate a specialist design which creates a fang shape when the bolts are in place. This means that the bolts – also known as rail anchor bolts – ensure that a sleeper is fixed in pace and unable to shift or move, once they have been placed inside a hole within the sleeper.
The unique nature of fang bolts means that they are particularly resistant to any movement within the tracks. This is vitally important when the level of vibrations caused by trains which weigh several tons is taken into account, and has resulted in fang bolts generally being regarded as offering a more reliable fix than standard screws. This makes them the ideal fastener for use in delicate locations such as the switch tie plate, or when the railing in question is being fixed on sharp and severe twists and turns.
Spring spikes are also known as elastic spikes. They hold the rail track firmly in place and stop it moving or tipping in any direction. Most spring spikes are very large and installation involves a pre-drilled hole within the sleeper.
Screw spikes are another larger fastener which are generally utilised to attach tie plates to railway tracks. Installing a screw spike involves drilling a hole within the sleeper, and the screw spike sitting within that hole in a way which maximises security.
Although screw spikes usually cost more than alternative fasteners such as rail spikes, they are often preferred because of the huge fixing power they offer, and the fact that they can be combined with spring washers to increase functionality. Another selling point of screw spikes is the fact that they lower the cost of railway maintenance in general when compared to the use of standard rail spikes.
Would you like to discover more about blind bolt fasteners and whether they are the right fastener choice for your project? Check out our guide to discover what a blind bolt is, and what blind bolts are used for by clicking here. You can also get in touch and speak to a member of the BlindBolt team today by using the contact form below.