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.

Did you know, last year MRE (this website) was nominated and went on to win Silver for best website in the British Model Railway Awards. This year, I'm honoured that it's been nominated again! MRE is a labour of love and your vote for it in these awards would really encourage and motivate me to develop the site further, creating more free tips, advice and guides. If you would like to support me, please click here and select your entries in the various classes of entry. If you don't have a preference for a particular category, you can skip that class. The Website of the Year is on the final page, just tick the box next to Model Railway Engineer to support me. Thanks Andy, creator of MRE.

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