Occasionally the joints thus formed are " supported " on a sleeper, as was the practice in the early days of railway construction, but they are generally " suspended " between two sleepers, which are set rather more closely together than at other points in the rail.
It is regarded by many savage peoples as highly dangerous to arouse a sleeper suddenly, as his soul may not have time to return.
Still more dangerous is it to move a sleeper, for the soul on its return might not be able to find the body.
At one end of each rail the flange spread out to form a foot which rested on a cross sleeper, being secured to the latter by a spike passing through a central hole, and above this foot the rail was so shaped as to form a socket into which was fitted the end of the next rail.
Each length was thus fastened to a sleeper at one end, while at the other it was socketed into the end of its fellow.