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Unit of measurement: Rail?

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39 feet comes to 11.3~ meters, 36 feet comes to 11 meters, 33 feet comes to 3 meters.


If the tracks are abandoned, or have never been upgraded to ribbon rail (each section being a little less than a kilometer in length) you should be able to count the physical rail sections to get close to the mark. A rail joint usually has a pair of splines, one on each side, bolted together with four bolts. If you can see the sides of the rail you should be able to spot the joints, and simply count them.


If you have a contractors tape measure, you may want to look for some abandoned track in the area to confirm what the local interpretation of a "rail" length is.


At 9 rails, I would start from about 85 meters going out to about 110 meters from the starting point. This should cover everything from 8.5 rails at 10 meters per rail through 9.5 rails at 11.3 meters per rail.


Again the best option would be if the original rails were in place. Then you count them, estimate back from the rail joints as necessary, and start looking in that area. Searching over a 15-20 meter range would be a bit more than I would like to take up as a challenge.



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As I have mentioned before, only half in jest, there is really no end to confusing elements in the measurement business. The Rail is just one of many obscure and variable measurements one may encounter. To wit, the Vara, a unit of length used in Spain, Mexico, New Mexico, Texas, California, Florida and elsewhere, has no less than 38 definitions, each accepted as correct at one time, or in one place. Conversely, the distance we would probably refer to as 16 feet and 6 inches, or 16 and a half feet, has had at least 5 different names over the years. It has been known as "one rod", "one rood", "one pole", "one perch", and "one quarter-chain". So we have an example of one name assigned many different values, and also one value assigned many different names. By the way, one foot = 0.3048 meters and one meter equals 3.2808 feet, more or less, in the US.

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Thanks for the replies all!


Now I've got a starting place. I have found that the county surveyors have been out marking benchmarks with witness posts quite a bit and not logging with the NGS, so it is possible that it is marked a little better and just not logged. Once I get closer I should be able to tell.


The original rails are gone. I believe the NGS sheet makes references to the abandonded railroad when the marker was monumented (1935). It appears that the marker should be near an old road and the abandonded railway. The hard part is telling which is which. Going by the grade and width of one of the clearings, I think I can tell the old railway from the roadway.


I will take this up again in May or June when I have more time for it (and when the bugs are worse).

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