Here's a photo snapped at Cochrane Yard June 2005 where I stumble on this interesting gizmo spiked onto the Yard's Transfer Lead switch. This little piece of ingenuity is called a "Switch Point Protector". It's job is to relieve wheel flange impacts to the switch point (the switch point is that sharp section of rail that guides a car through the switch). How this is done is courtesy of that big plate with all of the writing & stickers applied to it. That plate is made of practically indestructable magnesium. How this switch point protector works is, as a car approaches the switch, the wheel flange is aimed almost directly at the switch point until it meets up with that magnesium plate. Once the wheel impacts that magnesium plate, it is slightly moved over just far enough to relieve undo stress to the point resulting in a smoother move over the switch & into the designated track.