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Gravel on the Railway Tracks: What Are They Used for?

Sep. 30, 2021 Share:

Standing on the platform and looking down, you will see that the train tracks are covered with gravel. Most of us must have wondered, at least once in our lives, why there are stones on the tracks. These stones are known as track ballast and they help to keep the train tracks in place. Steel Rail Manufacturer YONGYANG shares with you.

What is track ballast?

Track ballast is the collective name for the gravel on railway tracks. They form the roadbed and pack around the railway track. They form the ground for the railway sleepers that are used to keep the railway track upright and properly spaced. It is needed for both light steel rails and heavy steel rails.

Railway sleepers are rectangular support elements that remain perpendicular to the track. Railway sleepers are also known as railway sleepers or sleepers. Early sleepers used to be made of wood, but now they are mainly made of concrete.

Why not use cobbles?

Track ballast cannot be made of any type of stone. If smooth round cobbles like those used in river beds or for decoration are used on railway tracks, they may roll or slide against each other as the train passes over the line. The wrong type of stone will therefore not fulfil the main function of rail ballast in providing support for the railway track. Only stones that do not move too much are suitable for the job. They work together with the railway  fasteners to maintain the operational safety of the railway track.

This is why sharp edge stones are used as track ballast on railway tracks.

Gravel on the Railway Tracks: What Are They Used for?

Tel Aviv Metro Project, Israel

Gravel on the Railway Tracks: What Are They Used for?

Shanxi Yellow River Project

Track ballast function

In addition to securing the railway line and providing support for the passage of heavy trains, the following are other functions of the stones known as track ballast.

1. The stones do not allow vegetation to grow on the railway track, which would weaken the ground on which the railway line runs.

2. Helps with proper drainage under or around the track to ensure that water does not remain on the track.

3. Provides a firm and level bed for sleepers.

4. Allows the correct level of the track to be maintained without disturbing the railway bed.

5. Holds sleepers in place during train passage, transferring and distributing loads from sleepers to the strata.

6. Protects the surface of the strata, creating a resilient layer that provides lateral stability throughout the track.

Reducing railway vibrations

In addition to the loud noise which is also a problem, the tremendous vibrations of passing trains are a threat to nearby buildings.

Railways use clamping technology to minimise vibration, which consists of EPDM or ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber, which is highly resistant to heat, water and other mechanical strains. This helps to reduce noise and vibration to a large extent.

Please contact us if you are looking for some railway products. Our products are widely used in railroad, seaport, mining industry and tunneling industry.etc. Light steel rail, heavy steel rail and mining support steel were awarded as well-known product by Hebei Provincial Administration of Quality and Technical Supervision, and the company is the designated production enterprises of mining support product for China coal industry companies, which occupy 70% of domestic market.

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