Not only is the claw bar inefficient, but it’s an injury waiting to happen.
Rail workers have been using claw bars to pull spikes since the advent of railroads in the 1800’s. Unlike many other fads that have faded over time due to the progression of technology, inexplicably, there are many instances where these age-old tools are still being used.
Let’s be clear: There is no reason anybody should be pulling spikes with a claw bar in 2020.
While some may argue that the claw bar is useful for pulling a small amount of spikes, rather than setting up the hoses and generators of hydraulic pullers, there are better options available.
There are just not enough pros and too many cons to justify using a claw bar to pull spikes.
For starters, the tool puts an uncanny amount of physical strain on a rail workers’ body. Workers are forced to abandon standard spike pulling procedure while using the tool due to its innately ineffective nature. This often leads to injury, some of which have led to multi-million dollar lawsuits, including a $1.78 million suit in 2014 and a $3.75 million suit in 2014.
Not only that, the tool, in certain climates — namely freezing winter temperatures — is impossible to use. On those occasions, the spikes could be so solidly in place that attempting to pull them would feel like pulling a sword out of stone, rendering this method completely useless.
At the end of the day, the claw bar is a dinosaur of a tool and it’s about time they go extinct.