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How to change fish plates on a plain joint

Brief introduction of the rail fish plates

The fish plate is the end connection of tracks by the rail bolt. It has the advantages of saving time and easy installation.  It can reduce the impact of wheels on the jointing sections of the tracks, improving the stability of trains. The fish plate mainly includes two types: (2) the joggled fish plate, (3) the common fish plate. It can be classified into nodular cast iron plates,  Q235 rolling plates, forging plates, etc. carbon steel is the raw material of the fish plate.      

AGICO Group has rich experience and advanced equipment to manufacture rail fish plate fasteners. We have supplied many rail fish plates for foreign clients. In the meantime, we also can make various customized railway clips with different standards or according to the drawings and requirements of clients. And also the quality has been tested and approved by South American, European and Southeast Asian markets and in China mainland. We are sure that we are capable of producing all types of rail fish plates.

How to change the rail fish plates

Preparation work of changing the fish plates

The tools and equipment for changing the rail fish plates

we need to change them periodically to ensure the normal operation of rail fish plates. Then how should we change them? Let's find out together. Before starting, we are supposed to have some preparation of the tools and equipment for changing the rail fish plates including bars, thermometer, cross level, fishbolt spanner,running off spanner, torque spanner, brushes, Scrapers and set of temporary bonds. And also, some materials and spares should be prepared beforehand such as the correct pair of new fishplates and a corresponding set of new fishbolts.

The risks we may face during the changing process

After that, we are supposed to learn the risks we may face. Be careful with your finger while trying toremove the fish plates in case the joint closes up. Read and understand some COSHH information on the lubricants you may use. The fishplate is applied to provide sliding support to the rail. Overtightening the bolts beyond the correct torque will restrict the sliding action leading to potential misalignment.

Some notes concerning changing the fish plates

In addition, there are some notes concerning changing the fish plates. You must not start work if the rail temperature is greater than or likely to rise above 32℃。And this work must only be undertaken when the movement of trains has been stopped in agreement with the Signaller。

Changing procedure of the fish plates


  • First of all, check whether the existing fish plate and the types of bolts in the existing joint are correct or not. We need to fit the correct ones for the joints in case the existing bolts are wrong. We may find that the boltholes are drilled incorrectly and see whether the joint is shimmed as shown in the following figures.

  • And then, we ought to examine whether the various parts of the track are in a good condition. We will need to repair this as well as replacing the fish plates in case there is a problem. And also we should replace the damaged fishbolts or nuts.

  • After that, we need to tap them with a hammer or a pinch bar to free them. Recover all shims and clean the rail ends with a scraper. And examine that the boltholes are at the correct centres, making sure the new plates are in the right way and keeping the lubricant away from the railhead and any cables.

  • Meanwhile, make sure that the original shims are still in good condition and they are the correct size. We should fit new shims in case there are some problems.

  • Moreover, tighten the bolts evenly and progressively and do not tighten one bolt completely before the others are fully assembled.

  • Finnally, inform the signaller that we have completed the work and watch a train over the joint to see whether or not all is in order. And also clear away the remains of the old fishplates, shims and fishbolts. We would better do a final check on the tightness of the fishbolts before leaving the site.
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