How to remove fish plates / rail joiners – Sunday Scribbles

rail joiner toolHow to remove fish plates without damaging your rails, or your nails.

If you’ve ever tried removing fish plates from old track you’ll be familiar with the problems.

At best, the fish plates (rail joiners) are ruined.

Your fingers can get ripped and at worse the rails can be buckled.

But there’s a really easy solution, helpfully described by Andrew Oram:


Essentially, it’s a matter of sliding a spare end of rail into the rail joiner to be removed, gripping the sides of the joiner with pliers and gently pinching it tight around the rail and then pulling it off.

It’s a simple but effective technique but we can make it better.

I pushed and glued my spare rail into an old wooden File handle (see top picture) to make it holding the rail easier, allowing you to pull it with more force if needed, and gentler on my fingertips.

With it, I can remove old rail joiners without damaging them, my track or fingers.

  • And if there are any 009 society members reading this, yes that was the June ’16 issue newsletter in the background. I happened to be reading it when I took the photo.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

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