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In a complete rail fastening system, every component is used to secure running rails into rail chairs or baseplates or directly to railway sleepers, bearers or other rail supports. Rail fastenings can keep the rails fastened to railway sleepers (transfer of forces), provide a proper slope of rail foot (1:20, 1:40) in the transverse plane, and prevent the steel rails from longitudinal movement, damp vibration, and noise coming from the rails.
Functions of Railway Fasteners:
1. Hold rails securely in the rail seat.
2. Limit the rotation of the rail about the outer edges of the rail foot.
3. Minimize longitudinal movement of rails through creep and thermal forces.
4. Assist in retention of track gauge.
5. Not cause damage to rail.
Where practicable, rail fastenings shall either be self-tensioning or permit tightening of the fastening to a predetermined load.
Where existing rail fastenings are not effective in minimizing longitudinal movement of rails, it is permissible to fit rail anchors as a method of meeting this requirement.