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Public Transportation Photo: Train Track, Train Commuters

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Train Track

The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast (or slab track), plus the underlying subgrade. For clarity it is often referred to as railway track (British English and UIC terminology) or railroad track (predominantly in the United States).

Notwithstanding modern technical developments, the overwhelmingly dominant track form worldwide consists of flat-bottom steel rails supported on timber or pre-stressed concrete sleepers (railroad ties in the US), which are themselves laid on crushed stone ballast.

Most railroads with heavy traffic use continuously welded rails supported by sleepers (ties) attached via baseplates which spread the load. A plastic or rubber pad is usually placed between the rail and the tieplate where concrete sleepers (ties) are used. The rail is usually held down to the sleeper (tie) with resilient fastenings, although cut spikes are widely used in North American practice.

Timber sleepers (ties) are of many available timbers, and are often treated with creosote, copper-chrome-arsenic, or other wood preservative. Pre-stressed concrete sleepers (ties) are often used where timber is scarce and where tonnage or speeds are high. Steel is used in some applications.

The track ballast is customarily crushed stone, and the purpose of this is to support the ties and allow some adjustment of their position, while allowing free drainage.

(Source: Wikipedia.org)

 

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