Title:
Railroad tie spacer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A railroad tie spacer including a left shoe, a right shoe, a handle connected to the left and right shoes and a support bar therebetween.



Inventors:
Herman, Vincent H. (Peoria, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/872239
Publication Date:
12/22/2005
Filing Date:
06/18/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01B3/12; E01B29/13; (IPC1-7): E01B3/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LE, MARK T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP (ST. LOUIS, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A railroad tie spacer comprising: a left shoe, said left shoe having a first face and a second face offset from said first face; a right shoe, said right shoe having a third face and a fourth face offset from said third face; said first and third faces being spaced from said second and fourth faces in a direction parallel to a railroad track in a dimension corresponding to a proper installation space between ties; a support interconnecting said left shoe and said right shoe; a handle operatively connected to said left shoe and to said right shoe; and wherein said first face and said third face are located substantially within the same plane, and said second face and said fourth face are located substantially within the same plane.

2. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said handle is vertically adjustable.

3. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said dimension is horizontally adjustable.

4. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said left shoe and said right shoe are made of aluminum.

5. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said left shoe and said right shoe are made from cast metal.

6. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein each of said shoes includes a mounting flange.

7. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein each shoe includes a lip.

8. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein each of said shoes includes a pocket.

9. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said support comprises a square tube.

10. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said support comprises an aluminum tube.

11. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said handle includes an ergonomic shape.

12. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said handle is tubular.

13. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, wherein said handle comprises an aluminum tube.

14. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 1, further comprising a cover operatively connected to said handle.

15. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 14, wherein said cover is selected from the group consisting of foam, leather, and vinyl.

16. A railroad tie spacer comprising: a left shoe, said left shoe having a first member with a first face and a second member with a second face offset from said first face; a right shoe, said right shoe having a third member with a third face and a fourth member with a fourth face offset from said third face, said first and third members being horizontally adjustable relative to said second and fourth members; said first and third faces being spaced from said second and fourth faces in a direction parallel to railroad track in a dimension corresponding to proper installation between ties; a support interconnecting said left shoe and said right shoe; a handle operatively connected to said left shoe and to right shoe, wherein said first face and said third face located substantially in the same plane, and said second face and said fourth face are located substantially within the same plane.

17. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 16, further comprising a plurality of horizontally spaced holes located within each shoe.

18. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 17, further comprising at least two pins adapted for mounting in said plurality of horizontally spaced holes.

19. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 16, wherein said handle is vertically adjustable.

20. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 19, wherein said handle includes a plurality of vertically spaced holes.

21. The railroad tie spacer according to claim 20, further comprising at least one pin adapted for mounting in said plurality of horizontally spaced holes.

22. A method of assembling a railroad tie spacer, the method comprising the steps of: a. providing a left shoe having a first face and a second face offset from said first face; b. providing a right shoe having a third face and a fourth face offset from said third face; c. spacing said first and third faces from said second and fourth faces in a direction parallel to a railroad track in a dimension corresponding to a proper installation space between ties; d. interconnecting said left shoe and said right shoe with a support; and e. connecting a handle to said left shoe and to said right shoe.

23. The method according to claim 22, further comprising the step of manufacturing a plurality of vertically spaced holes in said handle.

24. The method according to claim 22, further comprising the step of manufacturing a plurality of horizontally spaced holes in each shoe.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

APPENDIX

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention generally relates to measuring devices and, more particularly, to a spacer for spacing railroad ties.

2. Related Art

U.S. Pat. No. 2,556,350 to Tucker et al. discloses a tie plate for railroad tracks. The tie plate includes rail supporting members 16 and 17 and web 18. The web 18 separates or spaces the railroad ties. The tie plate is permanently mounted to the railroad ties. Tucker does not disclose a portable device for temporarily spacing railroad ties during installation.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,991,857 issued to Soderberg discloses a railroad bridge tie spacer. The bridge tie spacer includes a plurality of spacers that separate and hold the railroad ties in a fixed relationship. The railroad bridge tie spacer is held in a fixed position and can only be used for a limited number of ties. Soderberg does not disclose a portable device for temporarily spacing railroad ties during installation.

There remains a need in the art for a portable device for temporarily spacing railroad ties.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is in view of the above problems that the present invention was developed. The invention is a railroad tie spacer. The railroad tie spacer includes a handle, a left and right shoe connected to the handle and a support separating the left and right shoes. Each shoe includes a first face, a second face, a third face, and a fourth face. The faces are used to distance and locate railroad ties for installation.

In an alternative embodiment, the railroad tie spacer is adjustable in height and/or width. In other words, the handle includes structure for vertical adjustment, and the faces are horizontally adjustable relative to one another.

Further features and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the present invention, are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of the specification, illustrate the embodiments of the present invention and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a railroad tie spacer in a first embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the first embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the first embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the first embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a front view of the first embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a back view of the first embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the railroad tie spacer;

FIG. 8 is a side view of the second embodiment;

FIG. 9 is a bottom view of the second embodiment;

FIG. 10 is a front view of the second embodiment; and

FIG. 11 is a back view of the second embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the accompanying drawings in which like reference numbers indicate like elements, FIGS. 1 through 6 illustrate a railroad tie spacer, generally indicated by numeral reference 10. The railroad tie spacer 10 includes a left shoe 12 and a right shoe 14. The left shoe 12 and the right shoe 14 are connected by a handle 20. The left shoe 12 and the right shoe 14 are separated by a support 16.

Each shoe 12, 14 includes a lip 30. The lip 30 is placed on top of a railroad tie to locate the railroad tie spacer 10 in a vertical direction. Each shoe 12, 14 also includes a pocket 32. The pocket 32 is used to reduce the weight of a shoe and may be omitted in some embodiments. Additionally, each shoe 12, 14 includes a mounting flange 34. The mounting flange 34 receives and provides support for the handle 20. In the depicted embodiment, the left and right shoes 12, 14 are formed by aluminum castings, and the lip 30, the pocket 32, and the mounting flange 34 are integral portions of the shoe casting.

The left shoe 12 includes a first face 26 and second face 28. The right shoe 14 includes a third face 22 and fourth face 24. The first face and the third face 26, 22 are in the same plane. The second and fourth faces 28, 24 are also in the same plane. Moreover, the faces 22, 26 and 24, 28 are parallel to one another. The first and third faces 26, 22 are dimensioned to be a distance from the second and fourth faces 28, 24 that corresponds to the proper spacing between installed railroad ties. This dimension may be varied to establish any space between ties as they are installed according to a gauge or other rail construction specifications or requirements. A height of the faces 22-28 may also be varied so that the railroad tie spacer 10 rests on the bed or ground between railroad ties when in use or not.

In the depicted embodiment, the handle 20 is formed from tubular aluminum, and has an ergonomic shape. Sides of the handle 20 bow in a first longitudinal direction, and a center of the handle 20 projects in an opposite longitudinal direction, facilitating movement of the railroad tie spacer 10. Additionally, the handle 20 includes a cover 36, for example a foam cover, in the depicted embodiment. In alternative embodiments, the cover 36 may be made of leather or vinyl.

In the depicted embodiment, the support 16 is formed by an aluminum square tube. However, those skilled in the art will understand that other material and other shapes may be used.

FIGS. 7-11 illustrate a second embodiment of the railroad tie spacer, generally indicated by numeral reference 110. The railroad tie spacer 110 includes a left shoe 112 and a right shoe 114. The left shoe 112 and the right shoe 114 are connected by a handle 120. The left shoe and the right shoe are separated by a support 116 (not shown in FIG. 7 for clarity).

Each shoe 112, 114 includes a lip 130, a pocket 132, and a mounting flange 134. The left shoe 112 includes a first face 126 and a second face 128. The right shoe 114 includes a third face 122 and a fourth face 124.

The railroad tie spacer 110 is adjustable in vertical height and horizontal width. In the depicted embodiment, both the handle 120 and the mounting flange 134 include a plurality of vertically spaced holes 150. A user (not shown) aligns the holes 150 and places a pin 152 in the selected hole for a selected height. In this manner, the user can vertically adjust the handle 120 to achieve a comfortable handle position.

Each shoe 112, 114 includes a first member 164a, a second member 166a, a third member 164b, and a fourth member 166b. The members 164, 166 slidingly engage one another such that the width of the shoe may be variable. In other words, the dimension between the first and third faces 126, 122 and the second and fourth faces 128, 124 is adjustable such that the proper spacing between installed railroad ties is achieved. This dimension may be adjusted to establish any space between ties as they are installed according to a gauge or other rail construction specifications or requirements. In the depicted embodiment, each shoe 112, 114 includes a plurality of horizontally spaced holes 160 and pins 162. A user (not shown) moves the first member 164 relative to the second member 166 and aligns the plurality of holes 160. Thereafter, the user places at least two pins 162 in the holes 160 to locate the first and third faces 126, 122 relative to the second and fourth faces 128, 124.

There is also provided a method of assembling the railroad tie spacer. The method includes the steps of: providing a left shoe having a first face and a second face offset from said first face; providing a right shoe having a third face and a fourth face offset from said third face; spacing said first and third faces from said second and fourth faces in a direction parallel to a railroad track in a dimension corresponding to a proper installation space between ties; interconnecting said left shoe and said right shoe with a support; and connecting a handle to said left shoe and to said right shoe. In a first optional step, the method includes the step of manufacturing a plurality of vertically spaced holes in the handle. In a second optional step, the method includes the step of manufacturing a plurality of horizontally spaced holes in each shoe.

In operation, a user grasps the handle 20 and places the second face 28 and fourth face 24 against a railroad tie that is already installed in its proper position. The lip 30 of each shoe 12, 14 sits on top of the railroad tie. Thereafter, the user places a second railroad tie abutting the first face 26 and the third face 22. Then the user secures a next railroad tie in position for installation. The proper spacing between ties is easily maintained without the need for measurement. The user then lifts the railroad tie spacer 10 up above the railroad ties and places the second face 28 and the fourth face 24 against the second railroad tie. Thereafter, the user places a third railroad tie against the first face 26 and the third face 22. The worker then secures the location of the third railroad tie. The user repeats this process until the appropriate number of railroad ties are installed and located into position.

In view of the foregoing, it will be seen that the several advantages of the invention are achieved and attained.

The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. As various modifications could be made in the constructions and methods herein described and illustrated without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the foregoing description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative rather than limiting. For example, while the handle is depicted as having an ergonomic shape, other shapes may be used. Thus, the breadth and scope of the present invention should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims appended hereto and their equivalents.