By canting or tipping railway rails inward so that their flat under sides are inclined to the tie on a slope of from 1 in 40 to 1 in 20, a number of the largest
railways of the United States agree that the rail wears more evenly and had a longer life. A canted rail hold a gauge or spacing much better than a vertical rail, especially on curves, the flange wear on the wheels of rolling stock is decreased; engines stick to the rails better, the breakage of tie plates is reduced, and there is less cutting in of the ties. The New York "Railway Age" sent out a questionaire to 37 typical railroads, asking to what extent each was canting the rail, the degree of inclination, and the results. The replies indicate that about half of the railroads cant the rails as a regular practice, chiefly by the use of inclined or wedge-shaped tie plates. Pro- ponents of the 1 in 20 slope advocate it because this slope corresponds to the coning of new wheels. One reason this ratio is favoured is that it brings the contact of the wheel over the centre or web of the rail, instead of inside of it, as is the case with uncanted rails. Again this inclination offers an offset to the forces tending to turn or bow the rail out ; i.e., cause spreading rail. Other railroads prefer a milder slope of 1 in 40 or 44. The Erie, the Chicago and Alton, the Great Northern, the Lehigh Valley, the Southern Pacific, and the Union Pacific, as well as others, all now cant the rail. But this practice is opposed quite strongly by the Pennsylvania, which maintains that the various arguments offered in its favour are unsound. The Rock Island also opposes the use of canted rail, but 15 out of 36 railroads have adopted the practice since the World War.
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