There is always talk about what size rail should be used to model prototype rail of different weights. Some time back, I picked up a document published by the AT&SF Railroad which had different sizes of rail for different manufacturers listed. It contains the dimensions and sizes of rail made by Illinois Steel Company, Carnegie Steel Company, Pennsylvania Steel Company, Bethlehem Steel Company, Lackawanna Steel Company, Cambria Steel Company Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and Dominion Iron & Steel Company.
I scanned it last week.
Download the whole booklet – Table of Weights & Dimensions of Rail
In page 8 above, the sizes for rail from the Pennsylvania Steel Company are listed in the left hand table. There are eight different lines for 100 pound rail. The base width ranges from 5 inches to 5.5 inches, the height ranges from 5.5 inches to 6 inches and the tread width from 2.75 inches to 3 inches. The one listing for a 135 pound rail has it’s base at 6 inches, it’s height at 6 inches and it’s tread width at 3 5/32 inch.
So how is someone going to tell the difference between 100 pound rail and 135 pound rail when one sample has the same height (6 inches) only a quarter of an inch in base width difference, and 5/32 of an inch difference in tread width?