Let sleeper bolts lie

I recently visited the Watercress railway line and I noted a collection of sleeper bolts in a bit of a heap. It reminds me that I have one of these items at home and here it is.


This is quite a hefty piece of metal work, about six inches long and I suppose, technically it is a screw rather than a bolt but to me they have always been sleeper bolts. And at one time there would have been about ten thousand of them on every mile of railway line. Their job was to hold the chair to the sleeper. Chairs then supported old bull head rail which was held in place with wedges.

My bolt came from the Bluebell Railway. My dad and I were walking the old line south of Sheffield Park, not so long after closure and removal of the valuable metal work. I came across this bolt which had obviously escaped the journey to the scrap yard. It has been in my possession for well over fifty years.

The bolt has some lettering which I can’t quite make out – or at least I can’t attribute a meaning to it.


Does that say BOB or BJB?

And right on top of the bolt there is a large S.


There’s surely a super nerd out there who’ll know what the letters are for???

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One Response to “Let sleeper bolts lie”

  1. Old Chairs | Locksands Life Says:

    […] chairs would be attached to a sleeper using sleeper bolts. The fisherman’s rope is passing through the bolt holes here. The rail (of a kind called bull […]

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