Railroads are one of the major means of transportation and as such play an
important part in military operations. On the Russian front the problem of
rail transportation is complicated by the fact that German rolling stock
is designed to standard-gauge track, while the Russians use the wide gauge. To
meet this difficulty, one of the principal functions of the Todt organization* in
Russia has been the alteration of Russian trackage. The following report on a
new-type German rail is therefore of interest.
A press correspondent recently returned from a visit to the Stalingrad
front, reports that he noticed on a siding a new type of movable rail
used by the Germans to increase the siding capacity of the particular
These rails are described as "U" shaped channel irons, simply placed
on top of the frozen ground and bolted end to end. There were no lateral supports.
The correspondent was unable to give measurements, but he stated that the
interior width of each channel rail was sufficient to permit the wheel of
the railway car to roll freely, and that the weight on the wheel was supported
by the flanged end which normally carries no weight since it is inside the rail.
The cross-section shown indicates approximate relative dimensions. Since the
ground was frozen at the time, there was sufficient support for the rails
placed in this manner, but it would seem that some kind of ballast would
have to be provided in summer or wet weather.
* Semi-military construction corps.