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Publication numberUS3753404 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 21, 1973
Filing dateSep 21, 1970
Priority dateSep 21, 1970
Also published asCA938499A1
Publication numberUS 3753404 A, US 3753404A, US-A-3753404, US3753404 A, US3753404A
InventorsBryan J
Original AssigneeBryan J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Spike driving system
US 3753404 A
Abstract
In a spike driving system, a tie nipper assembly, a spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly, and a spike feeder assembly are supported on a vehicle for movement along a track. The tie nipper assembly grips one of the ties of the track and applies an upwardly directed force to the tie. The spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly includes four subassemblies each for automatically locating a spike receiving hole on one side of one of the rails of the track and for thereafter driving a spike through the hole and into the tie. The spike feeder assembly supplies spikes to the subassemblies and simultaneously manipulates the spikes into orientation necessary for insertion.
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[4 1 Aug. 21, 1973 SPIKE DRIVING SYSTEM [76] Inventor: John F. Bryan, Jr., 3212 Mapleleaf Cir., Dallas, Tex.

22 Filed: Sept. 21, 1970 21 Appl. No.: 74,016

[52] 11.8. CI 104/17 R [51] Int. Cl E0lb 29/26 [58] Field of Search 104/1-17 R [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,581,665 6/1971 Johnson 104/17 R 3,504,635 4/1970 Stewart et a1..... 104/12 3,257,962 6/1966 Doorley et a]. 104/17 R 993,869 5/1911 Peasley 104/17 R 3,581,665 6/1971 Johnson 104/17 R 2,925,048 2/1960 McWilliams et a1. 104/17 R 3,163,122 12/1964 Johnson 104/17 R 3,426,698 2/1969 Foxx et a1. 104/17 R 3,330,220 7/1967 Stewart et al..... 104/17 R 3,120,195 2/1964 McWilliams 104/17 R 1,448,264 3/1923 Doak 104/17 R 2,018,129 10/1935 Jackson... 104/17 R 1,856,893 5/1932 Talboys 104/17 R Pn'mary Examiner-Robert G. Sheridan Assistant ExaminerRichard A. Bertsch Attomey-Richards, Harris & Hubbard ABSTRACT In a spike driving system, a tie nipper assembly, a spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly, and a spike feeder assembly are supported on a vehicle for movement along a track. The tie nipper assembly grips one of the ties of the track and applies an upwardly directed force to the tie. The spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly includes four subassemblies each for automatically locating a spike receiving hole on one side of one of the rails of the track and for thereafter driving a spike through the hole and into the tie. The spike feeder assembly supplies spikes to the subassemblies and simultaneously manipulates the spikes into orientation necessary for insertion.

Patented Aug. 21, 1973 5 Shuts-Shut 1 INVENTOR.

JOHN E BRYAN, JR.

mm on ATTORNEYS Patented Aug. 21, 1973 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 N Ql 8 U INVENTOR. JOHN E BRYAN, JR.

ATTORNEYS Patented Aug. 21, 1973 3,753,404

5 Shuts-Shoot :s

INVENTORI w JOHN E BRYAN, JR. 64

FIG.3 w 2% m;

ATTORNEYS Patented Aug. 21, 1973 3,753,404

5 Shoots-Sheet 4 INVENTOR: JOHN E BRYAN, JR.

ATTORNEYS Patented Aug. 21, 1973 5 Shuts-Shoot s MAN FOLD SPIKE DRIVING SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a spike driving system, and more particularly to a fully automated system for driving railroad spikes and the like.

Until relatively recently, railroad spikes were driven manually. In the early l940s, mechanization of spike driving began with the use of hand-held pneumatic hammers to finish the insertion of manually started spikes. In about 1952, similar hammers were mounted on carriages, and the carriages were equipped with tie nippers that provided the reaction force necessary for the operation of the hammers. However, it was still necessary to start each spike manually.

In about I960, the first spike driving system capable of both setting and driving spikes were introduced. Typically, such a system includes a chute that positions spikes in the path of a pneumatically or hydraulically operated hammer. However, it is necessary to feed spikes into the chute manually, and it is also necessary to manually align the chute prior to operating the hammer. The most advanced versions of this type of spike driving systems are capable of operating at rates up to eight spikes per man minute.

The present invention relates to the first fully automatic spike driving system. In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, a spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly automatically positions each spike and a spike feeder assembly automatically feeds spikes to the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly. Spike driving systems employing the invention are capable of operating at a rate of twenty-four spikes per man minute, i.e., three times faster than has been possible heretofore.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A more complete understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the following Detailed Description when taken in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a spike driving system employing the invention;

FIG. 2 is a detached end view illustrating the tie nipper assembly and the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly of the spike driving system;

FIG. 3 is a detached side view of the tie nipper assemy;

FIG. 4 is a detached side view of a portion of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assem- FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are side, end and partial top views, respectively, of a portion of the spike feeder assembly of the spike driving system, and

FIG. 8 is a schematic illustration of hydraulic circuitry employed in the spike driving system shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings, a spike driving system 10 employing the present invention is shown. Referring particularly to FIG. 1, the spike driving system 10 is shown positioned on a pair of rails 12 which are supported on a plurality of ties 14. As is conventional in railroad tracks and similar structures, a tie plate 16 is positioned between each rail 12 and each tie 14. Each tie plate 16 has four spike receiving holes 18 formed through it, two on one side of the rail 12 and two on the opposite side. In use, the spike driving system 10 drives conventional railroad spikes through the spike receiving holes 18 in each tie plate 16, and thereby secures the rails 12 to the ties 14.

The spike driving system 10 includes a vehicle 20 that is supported on four flanged wheels 22. An operator's compartment 24 is situated at one end of the vehicle 20, and an engine 26 is supported at the other end. The engine 26 drives a plurality of hydraulic pumps 28 which in turn provide operating power for the spike driving system 10. For example, power from the hydraulic pumps 28 operates a hydraulic motor 30 which propells the spike driving system 10 through a transmission 32, a pair of drive shafts 34, a pair of difl'erentials 36, and the wheels 22.

The operating components of the spike driving system 10 includes a tie nipper assembly 40, a spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42, and a spike feeder assembly 44. The assemblies 40, 42 and 44 are mounted on a subframe 48 which is positioned between the operators compartment 24 and the hydraulic pumps 28 of the spike driving system 10. The subframe 48 is supported on a pantograph assembly 50 for movement relative to the vehicle 20 under the control of a pair of vertical positioning hydraulic cylinders 52. It will be understood that the pantograph assembly 50 limits the movement of the subframe 48 to vertical motion and maintains a predetermined orientation of the assemblies 40, 42 and 44.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the tie nipper assembly 40 includes a pair of tie nippers 54 which are supported at the opposite ends of the subframe 48 by a pair of tie nipping hydraulic cylinders 56. Each tie nipper 54 includes a pair of arms 58 which are pivotally supported on one of the nipping cylinders 56 by a C- shaped member 60 and a pair of rubber shear pads 62. The arms 58 extend to inwardly facing tie engaging hooks 64 and are interconnected by a tie clamping hydraulic cylinder 66 and a linkage 68. The linkage 68 restrains the arms 58 to equal and opposite motion.

The tie nipper assembly 40 further includes a shaker mechanism 70. The mechanism 70 includes a shaft 72 .that is rotatably supported in a pair of plates 74 comprising a portion of the subframe 48. The shaft 72 is connected to a hydraulic motor 76 for rotation thereby and is provided with a plurality of eccentrics (not shown) which are connected to the tie nippers 54 by a plurality of rods 78. The motor 76 and the eccentrics of the shaft 70 are so constructed that, upon operation of the motor 76, the tie nippers 54 of the tie nipper as sembly 40 are vibrated rapidly in a direction extending perpendicularly to the rails 12 and parallel to the ties 14,.

In the use of the spike driving system 10, the engine 26, the pumps 28 and the hydraulic motor 30 are operated to position the tie nipper assembly 40 in alignment with a particular tie 14. Then, the vertical positioning cylinders 52 are operated to move the subframe 48 toward the tie 14. During this action, the motor 76 is operated to vibrate the tie nippers 54. This permits the arms 58 to penetrate the ballast surrounding the tie 14 until the hooks 64 are positioned below the lower edges of the tie.

When the hooks 64 are properly positioned, the clamping cylinders 66 are operated to draw the arms 58 into gripping interengagement with the tie 14. Because the arms 58 are interconnected by the linkage 68, actuation of the clamping cylinders 66 also centers the subframe 48 over the tie l4 and squares the tie 14 relative to the rails 12. After the actuation of the clamping cylinders 66, the nipping cylinders 56 are actuated to draw the tie nippers 54 upwardly. The nipping cylinders 56 act through the shear pads 62 to impose a springloaded, upwardly extending force on the tie 14. This force provides the back pressure necessary to permit operation of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42.

The details of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 are shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. The assembly 42 comprises four subassemblies 80, each associated with one side of one of the rails 12. Each subassembly 80 includes a frame 82 which is pivotally supported on the subframe 48 and which extends to a pair of rail locators 84. The frames 82 of the subassemblies 80 associated with each rail 12 are interconnected by a linkage 86. The linkages 86 are in turn connected to rail locating hydraulic cylinders 88 that are selectively actuated to draw the rail locators 84 in engagement with the rails 12.

Referring now particularly to FIG. 4, each subassembly 80 of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 includes a pair of piston rods 92 and 94 that are secured to the frame 82. A pair of horizontal positioning hydraulic cylinders 96 and 98 are mounted on the piston rods 92 and 94, respectively. Each of the cylinders 96 and 98 houses a piston (not shown) that is secured to its respective piston rod. In use, the cylinders 96 and 98 are moved back and forth along the piston rods 92 and 94 by selectively directing hydraulic fluid to and removing hydraulic fluid from the opposite ends of the cylinders.

The horizontal positioning cylinders 96 and 98 of each subassembly 80 support a spike driving hydraulic cylinder 100 and a spike positioning guideway 102. The cylinder 100 is adapted for hydraulic actuation to move a spring-loaded piston rod 104 downwardly relative to the frame 82 of the subassembly 80. As is most clearly shown in FIG. 3, the piston rod 104 of each cylinder 100 is normally enclosed in a guide sleeve 106 which extends downwardly from its respective cylinder 100.

The spike positioning guideway 102 of each subassembly 80 extends first parallel to and then beneath the spike driving cylinder 100 of the subassembly. Spikes are then inserted into the upper end of the guideway 102 by the spike feeder assembly 44 and fall through the guideway under the action of gravity. Approximately midway through the guideway 102, the movement of the spikes is arrested by an escapement 108 that is actuated upon downward movement of the piston rod 104 of the cylinder 100. Upon actuation the escapement 108 feeds a single spike into the lower portion of the guideway 102.

The lower portion of the guideway 102 is positioned directly beneath the piston rod 104 of the cylinder 100, and includes a pair of spike positioning springs 110 and a pair of springJoaded spike retaining rollers 112. As a spike falls through the lower portion of the guideway 102, it is brought into alignment with the piston rod 104 by the springs 110 which restrict the stem of the spike to movement along one side of the guideway 102. The rollers 112 engage the spike as it reaches the bottom of the guideway 102 and prevent the spike from falling out of the guideway 102 until it is driven therefrom by the operation of the cylinder 100.

Referring now to FIG. 2, each subassembly of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 is provided with an electro-optical spike receiving hole locating system 114. The four electro-optical spike receiving hole locating systems 114 of the spike driving system 10 are preferably constructed as taught in the copending application entitled Spike Positioning System filed by John F. Bryan, Jr. on July 2, I969, Ser. No. 839,142, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein. As is fully set forth in the Bryan application, the electro-optical spike receiving hole locating systems 114 operate the horizontal positioning cylinders 96 and 98 of the subassemblies 80 comprising the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 to position the lower ends of each guideway 102 in alignment with a spike receiving hole 18 formed in a tie plate 16. Then, the corresponding spike driving cylinder is actuated to drive a spike through the spike receiving hole.

It will be understood that the four electro-optical spike receiving hole locating assemblies 114 of the spike driving system 10 operate independently of one another. This permits the simultaneous alignment of four spikes with four spike receiving holes, notwithstanding either the misalignment of a particular tie 14 or the misalignment of the two tie plates 16 positioned between a particular tie 14 and the rails 12. Even though two spike receiving holes 18 are formed in each tie plate 16 on each sideof the rail 12, it is conventional to insert only one spike on each side of each rail. Thus, the spike driving system 10 simultaneously drives all of the spikes that are normally employed to secure the rails 12 to a particular tie 14.

In use, the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 is actuated following the actuation of the tie nipper assembly 40. First, the locating cylinders 88 are actuated to draw the rail locators 84 into engagement with the rails 12. This action properly aligns the spike driving cylinders and the guideways 102 transversely of the rails. Then, the horizontal positioning cylinders 96 and 98 are actuated to automatically move the spiking cylinders 100 and the guideways 102 longitudinally of the rails 12 and into alignment with spike receiving holes 18 formed in the tie plates 16. Finally, the spike driving cylinders 100 are actuated to drive spikes out of the guideways 102 and into the tie 14. The latter action forms conventional rail-tie plate-tie-spike connections and thereby secures the rails 12 to the tie 14.

The structural details of the spike feeder assembly 44 of the spike driving system 10 are best shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7. The spike feeder assembly 44 comprises a pair of subassemblies each for feeding spikes to the two subassemblies 80 of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 associated with one of the rails 12. Only one of the subassemblies 120 is shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, however, it will be understood that in actual practice of the spike feeder assembly 44 comprises two subassemblies 120, and therefore operates to feed spikes to all of the subassemblies 80 simultaneously.

Referring first to FIG. 5, the subassembly 120 includes a pair of arms 122 that extend downwardly from the subframe 48 to a point adjacent the operator's compartment 24 of the spike driving system 10. A spike receiving hopper 124 is supported on the distal ends of the arms 122 by a pair of rubber springs 126 and a pivot 127. The hopper 124 is preferably adapted to receive an entire keg of spikes at one time.

A pair of conveyors 128 extend through one end of the hopper 124. Each conveyor 128 is comprised of a pair of chains 130 that extend around sprockets 132 and 134 mounted for rotation about spaced, parallel axes 136 and 138, respectively. The sprockets 132, and therefore the chains 130, are rotated by a hydraulic motor 140 which drives the chains 130 through a speed reducer 142. The speed reducer 142 also drives an eccentric 144 which vibrates the hopper 124 in the direction indicated by the arrow 145. By this means, spikes are continuously fed through the hopper 124 and into engagement with the conveyors 128.

The chains 130 of each conveyor 128 are provided with a plurality of projecting fingers 146. As the chains 130 are rotated through the hopper 124 by the motor 140, the fingers 146 receive spikes from the hopper 124, and transport the spikes upwardly to a trough 148. As is best shown in FIG. 5, the trough 148 is inclined so that spikes discharged into the trough 148 slide downwardly through the trough under the action of gravity. The trough 148 is provided with an upstanding ridge 150 that engages spikes discharged into the trough 148 and therefore tends to cause the spike ,to slide through the trough 148 in a head first manner.

Referring now to FIG. 7, the trough 148 is provided with a slot 152 that receives the stems of spikes sliding through the trough 148. It is possible for a spike to enter the slot 152 in any one of four orientations, i.e., with the projecting portion of the head of the spike facing toward the distal end of the trough 148, facing toward the ridge 1S0, facing one side of the trough 148, or facing the other side thereof. However, due to the use of the ridge 150, spikes tend to align themselves in one of the latter three directions. In the case of the latter two directions, the heads of the spikes engage camming walls 154 which rotate the spikes until the heads of the spikes face the upstanding ridge 150. Thus, spikes passing through the trough 148 are necessarily aligned in one of the two orientations.

As each spike reaches the end of the slot 152 remote from the ridge 150, it falls downwardly from the trough 148 into a chute 156. As is best shown in FIG. 5, spikes entering the chute 156 and facing the upstanding ridge 150 of the trough 148 pass freely through the chute 156 and enter the upper end of the guideway 102. However, spikes facing in the opposite direction engage a camming surface 158 and are cammed out of the chute 156 through an opening 160. Spikes leaving the chute 156 through the opening 160 are received in a bucket (not shown) for subsequent return to the hopper 124. Alternatively, a conveyor extending directly to the hopper 124 can be positioned at the outlet of the opening 160. In any event, the use of the trough 148 and the chute 156 in the spike feeder assembly 44 assures the proper orientation of spikes entering the guideways 102 of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42.

It will be understood that whereas the lower ends of the conveyors 128 of the spike feeder assembly 44 are fixed to the subframe 48 by the arms 122, the upper ends of the conveyors are fixed to the guideways 102 of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42. To this end, the upper ends of the conveyors are not interconnected, and the various components of the spike feeder assembly 44 are adapted for pivotal movement about the axes 136 and 138. This permits the upper ends of the conveyors to move with the guideways 102 while the lower ends of the conveyors remain fixed, and thus facilitates the continuous feeding of spikes.

The upper end of the guideway 102 of each subassembly 80 of the spike hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 is provided with a spike sensing shoe 162. A pneumatic valve 164 is actuated by the shoe 162 in the guideway 102. If no spike is positioned in the guideway 102 in alignment with the shoe 162, the shoe moves into the guideway, and the valve 164 is closed. However, if the guideway 102 is so full that a spike is positioned in alignment with the shoe 162, movement of the shoe 162 into the guideway 102 is prevented. In the latter case, the valve 164 actuates a cylinder 166 which advances a cam 168 into a path of spikes traveling. on the fingers 146 of the conveyor 128 associated with the particular guideway 102, The cam 168 dislodges spikes from the fingers 146, and the dislodged spikes are returned to the hopper 124 by a chute 170. Preferably, a time delay orifice (not shown) is provided between the cylinder 164 and the cylinder 166 so that the cam 168 is not actuated by a spike falling through the guideway 102.

In use, the spike feeder assembly 44 is operated to supply spikes to each subassembly 80 of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42. Preferably, the motors are operated at such a rate that spikes are fed to the subassemblies 80 faster than they are inserted thereby. It will be understood that during the feeding of each spike, the spike feeder assembly 44 manipulates the spike into the proper orientation for insertion.

A more complete understanding of the operation of the spike driving system 10 may be had by referring to FIG. 8, wherein a hydraulic system employing in the spike driving system is schematically illustrated. Initially, the motor 30 is operated to position the spike driving system 10 at a spike driving site. This is accomplished by actuating a manually operated valve 176 to direct hydraulic fluid to the motor 30 from a pump 28a comprising one of the plurality of pumps 28. If the initial positioning of the spike driving system 10 requires transportation of the system over a long distance, a manually operated valve 178 is actuated to add the output of a pump 28b to the output of the pump 28a, whereupon the speed of operation of the motors 30 is increased.

When the spike driving system 10 is suitably located at a spike driving site, the valve 178 is actuated to direct hydraulic fluid from the pump 28b to a hydraulically actuated valve 180, and a manually actuated valve 182 is actuated to direct hydraulic fluid from the pump 28a to the vertical positioning cylinders 52. This action retracts the cylinders 52 and thereby lowers the subframe 48 at a rate controlled by a counterbalance valve 184. Actuation of the valve 82 also directs pilot pressure to the valve 180, which is thus actuated to direct hydraulic fluid from the pump 28b to the hydraulic motor 74. The latter action commences operation of the shaker mechanism 68, so that the nippers 54 are vibrated as the subframe 48 is lowered. The vertical positioning cylinders 52 areprovided with a pair of lock valves 186 which function to maintain the position of the cylinders 52 in the absence of the application of external pressure thereto.

It will be understood that upon lowering of the subframe 48 and operation of the shaker mechanism 68, the nippers 54 enter the ballast that surrounds the ties 14. When the nippers 54 fully seated in the ballast, a manually operated valve 188 is actuated to direct hydraulic fluid from the pump 28a to the clamping cylinders 66 which, upon actuation, draw the arms 58 of the nippers 54 into engagement with a particular tie 14. The pressure that is applied to the cylinders 66 is controlled by a counterbalance valve 190, and the cylinders 66 are maintained in their actuated condition by a lock valve 192.

The output of the counterbalance valve 190 is directed to the nipping cylinders 56. Thus, after the nippers 54 are clamped into engagement with a tie 14, the cylinders 56 are operated to apply an upward force to the tie l4, and thereby supply the back pressure necessary for the spiking operation. Upon actuation, the cylinders 56 are retained in the actuated condition by a lock valve 194.

The output of the counterbalance 190 also supplies pilot pressure to the valve 180 which is thereupon actuated to discontinue the operation of the motor 74 of the shaker 68 and to begin the operation of the motors 140 of the spike feeder assembly 44. Also, the output of the counterbalance valve 190 supplies pilot pressure to a hydraulically operated valve 196. This actuates the valve 196 to direct hydraulic fluid from a pump 28c to the locating cylinders 88. Upon actuation, the cylinders 88 actuated the mechanisms 86 to draw the frames 82 into engagement with the rails 12.

At the completion of the foregoing operation, the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly 42 is actuated to align the spikes with the spike receiving holes 18 in the tie plates 16. This operation is preferably accomplished automatically in accordance with the teaching of the above-identified copending application of John F. Bryan, Jr., entitled Spike Positioning System. However, it will be understood that horizontal positioning cylinders 96 and 98 can alsobe operated manually to align the spikes with the spike receiving holes 18.

After the spikes are properly aligned, the spiking cylinders 100 are actuated to drive the spikes through the spike receiving holes and into the particular tie 14, whereupon the rails 12 are secured to the tie. Hydraulic fluid for the operation of the cylinders 100 is supplied by a pump 28d which directs hydraulic fluid to a manifold 198. Hydraulic fluid is in turn directed from the manifold 198 to the cylinders 100 through solenoid operated valves 200 which are selectively actuated by the operator of the spike driving system 10.

After all of the. spike driving cylinders 100 have been actuated, the valve 188 is actuated in a reverse direction to extend the nipping cylinders 56 and the clamping cylinders 66. This action disengages the nippers 54 from the tie 14. Then, the valve 182 is operated to extend the cylinders 52, and to apply pilot pressure to the valve 196. This action raises the subframe 48 and extends the locating cylinders 88 which operate through the linkages 86 to disengage the locators 84 from the rail 12. Thus, upon reverse actuation of the valves 182 and 188, the spike driving system is returned to the condition shown in FIG. 1, and the system is ready for movement to a new spiking site. Of course, the latter function is accomplished by operating the motor 30.

From the foregoing, it will be understood that the present invention comprises a spike driving system including apparatus for gripping a tie, apparatus for automatically locating a spike receiving hole formed in a tie plate positioned between the tie and a rail, apparatus for forcing a spike through the spike receiving hole and thereby forming a connection between the rail and the tie, and apparatus for automatically supplying spikes to the spike driving apparatus. The use of the present invention is advantageous over the prior art in that both the locating of the spike receiving holes and the feeding of spikes is fully automated. This permits operation of a spike driving system incorporating the present invention by a single operator at a rate approximately three times as great as the rate of operation of prior art spike driving systems.

Although a single embodiment of the invention has been illustrated in the drawings and described herein, it will be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment disclosed, but is capable of rearrangement, modification and substitution of parts and elements without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. In a spike driving system, the improvement comprising:

gripping a tie and applying an upwardly directed force thereto;

subsequently automatically aligning a spike driving mechanism with a spike receiving hole in a tie plate supported on the gripped tie and then driving a spike through the spike receiving hole and into the tie, and

meanwhile automatically feeding spikes to the spike driving mechanism.

2. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein the tie gripping and force applying step is further characterized by centering the spike driving mechanism relative to the tie.

3. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein the tie gripping and force applying step is further characterized by moving the tie gripping mechanism into alignment with a tie and simultaneously vibrating the tie gripping mechanism, subsequently gripping the tie in the tie gripping mechanism, and subsequently urging the tie gripping mechanism upwardly and thereby forcing the tie upwardly.

4. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein the spike driving step is further characterized by driving the spike into the tie during the application of the upwardly directed force thereto.

5. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein the spike driving step is further characterized by positioning a spike driving mechanism supporting structure in engagement with a rail, thereafter moving the spike driving mechanism into alignment with a spike receiving hole, and thereafter driving a spike through the spike receiving hole.

6. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein the spike feeding step includes the step of manipulating the spikes into a predetermined orientation during the feeding of the spikes.

7. A spike insertion system comprising:

a spike insertion mechanism for forcing spikes into a tie;

means for automatically moving the spike insertion mechanism into a spike insertion orientation wherein the spike insertion mechanism is positioned to drive a spike through a spike receiving hole formed in a tie plate and into a tie located directly under the tie plate, and

means for automatically feeding spikes to the spike insertion mechanism.

8. The spike insertion system according to claim 7 wherein the spike insertion mechanism includes spike guiding means for guiding spikes into position for insertion and spike driving means for driving spikes out of the spike guiding means through a spike receiving hole and into a tie.

9. The spike insertion system according to claim 8 wherein the spike feeding means includes a spike receiving hopper, means for conveying spikes from the hopper to the spike guiding means, and means for orienting the spikes so that all of the spikes entering the spike guiding means are oriented in the same direction.

10. The spike insertion system according to claim 7 wherein the spike insertion mechanism moving means includes means for moving a portion of the spike insertion mechanism into engagement with a rail and means for subsequently moving another portion of the spike inserting mechanism into alignment with a spike receiving hole.

11. The spike insertion system according to claim 10 further characterized by a frame for supporting the spike insertion mechanism; means for moving the frame into engagement with a rail, and means for moving the spike insertion mechanism relative to the frame and into alignment with a spike receiving hole.

12. The spike insertion system according to claim 7 further including a tie nipper mechanism comprising a pair of arms, means for clamping the arms into engagement with a tie, and means for applying an upwardly directed force to the arms and thereby providing the back pressure necessary for the operation of the spike insertion mechanism.

13. The spike insertion system according to claim 12 further characterized by means for moving the arms into alignment with a tie and means for vibrating the arms during the movement thereof to facilitate the penetration of ballast surrounding the tie.

14. A spike driving system comprising:

a spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly including four subassemblies each comprising means for independently locating one spike receiving hole formed in a pair of tie plates and for driving a spike through the spike receiving hole and into a tie which supports the tie plates, and

a spike feeder assembly including means for feeding spikes to each subassembly of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly.

15. The spike driving system according to claim 14 further including means for initially centering the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly over a tie and aligning the tie relative to a pair of rails.

16. The spike driving system according to claim 15 wherein the centering and aligning means includes a pair of pivotally supported arms, and means for drawing the arms into gripping interengagement with a tie and means for constraining the arms to equal and opposite movement under the action of the driving means.

17. The spike driving system according to claim 14 wherein each spike driving subassembly of the spike re- 10 ceiving hole locating and spike driving assembly includes spike driving means for inserting spikes in ties and spike positioning means for receiving spikes from the spike feeder assembly and for positioning spikes for insertion by the spike driving means.

18. The spike driving system according to claim 17 further characterized by means for locating each subassembly transversely of a rail and for thereafter moving the spike driving means and the spike positioning means longitudinally of the rail until the spike positioning means aligns a spike with a spike receiving hole.

19. The spike driving system according to claim 14 wherein the spike feeder assembly includes at least one spike receiving hopper and a plurality of spike conveying mechanisms each for feeding spikes to one of the subassemblies of the spike receiving hole locating and spike driving assembly.

20. The spike driving system according to claim 19 wherein each spike conveying mechanism is further characterized by means for orienting the spike in a predetermined direction as the spike is conveyed from the hopper to the subassembly.

21. A spike driving system comprising:

a vehicle for movement along a trackway;

a subframe mounted on the vehicle for vertical movement with respect thereto;

means mounted on the subframe for gripping the opposite ends of a tie upon downward movement of the subframe;

means for thereafter applying an upwardly directed force to the tie gripping means and thereby applying an upwardly directed force to the tie;

means mounted on the subframe for movement into alignment with a spike receiving hole formed in a tie plate supported on the tie gripped by the gripping means and thereafter for driving a spike through the spike receiving hole and into the tie, and

means mounted on the subframe for feeding spikes to the spike driving means.

22. The spike driving system according to claim 21 further characterized by means mounted on the vehicle for propelling the vehicle along the trackway.

23. The spike driving system according to claim 21 wherein the spike driving means includes a guideway for receiving at least one spike from the spike feeding means for aligning the spike with a spike receiving hole, and spike driving means for driving the spike out of the guideway, through a spike receiving hole and into the Inc.

24. The spike driving system according to claim 23 further including a frame mounted on the subframe for supporting the guideway and the spike driving means, means for moving the frame transversely of the trackway and into engagement with a rail thereof, and means for thereafter moving the guideway and the spike driving means longitudinally of the rail into alignment with a spike receiving hole.

25. The spike driving system according to claim 21 wherein the spike feeding means includes:

a spike receiving hopper;

means for transporting spikes from the hopper to the spike driving means, and

means for aligning the spikes in a particular direction during the transportation thereof.

26. In a spike driving system, a tie nipper assembly comprising:

a pair of tie engaging arms;

means for moving the arms toward each other and thereby gripping a tie;

means for constraining the arms to equal and opposite motion under the action of the arms moving means;

means for positioning the tie engaging arms in alignment with a tie prior to the operation of the arms moving means, and

means for vibrating the arms during the operation of the positioning means and thereby facilitating movement of the arms into the ballast surrounding the tie.

27. The tie nipper assembly according to claim 26 further including means for supporting the arms and for applying an upwardly directed force thereto after the operation of the moving means.

28. The tie nipper assembly according to claim 27 further including at least one spring connected between the supporting and force applying means and the arms.

29. in a spike insertion system, a spike feeding assembly comprising:

a trough including a slot for receiving the stems of spikes;

camming means for orienting the heads of the spikes in one of two directions, and

means for separating spikes having heads oriented in one ofthe directions from spikes having heads oriented in the other direction and for directing spikes having heads oriented in one of the directions into one path and for directing spikes having heads oriented in the other direction into another path.

30. The spike feeding assembly according to claim 29 wherein the inclined trough is further characterized by an upstanding ridge for deflecting spikes into a headfirst orientation.

3]. The spike feeding assembly according to claim 29 wherein the spike separating means comprising a camming surface for deflecting spikes having heads oriented in one direction and for passing spikes having heads oriented in the other direction.

32. The spike feeding assembly according to claim 29 further including a spike receiving hopper and a conveyor for transporting spikes from the hopper to the trough.

33. The spike feeding assembly according to claim 32 wherein the conveyor is characterized by a pair of chains mounted for rotation through a portion of the hopper and a plurality of fingers mounted on the chains and projecting therefrom for receiving spikes upon rotation of the chains through the hopper.

34. The spike feeding assembly according to claim 33 further including a motor for operating the conveyor and an eccentric operated by the motor for vibrating the hopper.

35. In a spike driving system the improvement comprising:

automatically sorting randomly arranged spikes to provide spikes oriented in a predetermined manner;

feeding the sorted spikes to a spike driving zone;

simultaneously automatically locating a spike receiving hole in a tie plate; and

thereafter driving a spike from the spike driving zone through the hole in the tie plate and thereby securing a rail supported on the tie plate to an underlying tie.

36. A spike driving apparatus comprising:

frame means;

a spike driving mechanism;

structure for supporting the spike driving mechanism on the frame means,

means for moving the spike driving mechanism supporting structure relative to the frame means into engagement with the base of a rail and thereby locating the spike driving mechanimsm transversely of the rail; and

means for thereafter moving the spike driving mechanism relative to the supporting structure and longitudinally of the rail and thereby aligning the spike driving mechanism with a hole in a tie plate underlying the rail.

37. A spike driving system comprising:

a vehicle for movement along a trackway;

a subframe;

a pantograph mechanism supporting the subframe on the vehicle for vertical movement with respect thereto;

means extending between the subframe and the vehicle for raising and lowering the subframe;

means mounted on the subframe for movement into alignment with a spike receiving hole formed in a tie plate supported on a tie and thereafter for driving a spike through the spike receiving hole and into the tie; and

means mounted on the subframe for feeding spikes to the spike driving means.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification104/17.1
International ClassificationE01B29/14, E01B29/26, E01B29/00
Cooperative ClassificationE01B29/14, E01B29/26
European ClassificationE01B29/26, E01B29/14