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Ever Wondered Why Are There Stones On Railway Tracks? Here Is The Reason

Railway Track Ballast
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Indian Railways are the lifeline of everyone. The kind of comfort they provide to all travelers is beyond praiseworthy. Furthermore, it is safe to say that it has made commuting a lot easier for people from distant lands. We are sure that during your travel you must have seen the stones that are there on the tracks. However, have you ever wondered why there are stones on the railway tracks? What are they called? Well, they are referred to as the track ballast. What are they, though? What are they made up of? If you are curious about these questions, you are in the right place. Read on to enlighten yourself.

 

What Are Track Ballast?

Railway Track
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The stones on railway tracks are referred to as track ballast. This is because they basically serve as a bed for rail tracks, providing drainage and strength for heavy loads carried by trains. Furthermore, they keep the train in place throughout the journey. Another noteworthy thing is that Ballast describes the aggregate beneath the rail track.

They form the track bed that supports the rail track load and provides water drainage. It is the foundation of the railway tracks and keeps all the sleepers maintain proper track alignment.

 

What Types Of Stones On Railway Tracks Are Used?

Train Railway Track
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The railway tracks need great support; therefore, not all types of stone are suitable for making track ballast. However, one of the ideal types of rock that are best suited for track ballast is considered to be the sharp-edged one. Furthermore, you might wonder why is the reason behind specifically using sharp-edged stones. Well, sharp-edged stones are relatively immobile, which is essential for the job.

If we talk about the material, various materials have been used as track ballast. Crushed stone, washed gravel, bank run (unwashed) gravel, torpedo gravel (a mixture of coarse sand and small gravel), slag, chats, coal cinders, sand, and burnt clay, are to name them.

 

Purpose Of Track Ballast

Track Ballast
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Have you ever wondered why the trains are always in line? Why is there so much vegetation around the railway tracks but not on the railway tracks? Furthermore, why is there never any drainage issue on the tracks? Well, the primary reason behind it is nothing but the track ballast. Here are three significant points that showcase their prime purpose.

  • The purpose of track ballast is to hold the railway lines in place. Furthermore, it offers support for the passage of the heavy train.
  • The second purpose is that it does not allow vegetation to grow on railway tracks. It is beneficial because otherwise, the ground would go very weak on which the railway lines run.
  • Track ballast also keeps water from reaching the tracks regularly and softening the ground.

I hope this was enlightening for you and that you got to know everything about the stones on railway tracks, aka track ballast. What do you think about them? Do share your thoughts via the comments below. 

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