Odd support beam

This is a picture of an old steel railway tie used as a support. The floor joist is coped around it on both sides. It looks to have been installed about 40 or so years ago when the addition was built. House is a war time house about 60 years old. It is build right into the foundation on either side and has steel support posts present as well. No sag in the floor above. Anyone have any thoughts of this?

Interesting find Tim, The joists seem to be sitting on the bottom plate of the railway so support is not an issue. Not sure how you would ever know the loads or spans of this though.LOL If there are no sagges and it seems solid(no bounce) I would probably just describe it the best I could and move on. If the buyer is concerned they could get a second oppion from a PE but that is up to them.

I’ve seen those steel ties used in homes built near railroads; I bet you they help themselves…

I don’t mention them as being a problem unless something is apparent.

Home owner had no concern at all. I thought it was a creative way to install it. It is sitting on the lower part of the railroad tie and coped around the top on both sides. The span is only about 8 to 10 feet. Thats the total railroad tie. There is still steel jack posts inside of that measurment. So I will mention it, but no immidiate issues were found.

And yes this is a railroad town. The rail yard is about 6 or 7 blocks away from location of the property.

Very interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that. I suppose if I had inspected the item, I would have measured the bearing surfaces, and how/if the notch/cut may impact the joist… although, you say it’s been there for some time, which in some regard bears some weight and in others… has none.

Certainly creative, nice find!

Is there a minimum of 1 1/2" bearing? Describe what you see and let them decide.

Kinda what I was thinking… looking at the web pic of the profile… looks like the rail is sloped, which albeit minor, could act like a wedge with bearing… wikipedia is certainly pretty cool, weren’t they (powers that be) thinking of getting rid of it? Good pic/find Larry.

If it has been there 60 years and no sign of floor sag or other signs of a structural problem then describe what you see and move on. The correct terminology would be railroad “rail” the railroad “tie” is the wooden support under the rails.

I’m not even sure that’s a rail. Why go through all the trouble of cutting the head off of a railroad rail. Rails are forged, plus the webs are flared toward the top and bottom. I could certainly be wrong, but if you asked me to bet lunch on what that was, I’d say an ST-10 or an ST-12 before I’d say a railroad rail with the head cut off.

Having worked for Amtrak.
it is Not a “Tie” but a “Rail”