Railroad Tracks PNG Transparent Images

Submitted by on Jan 12, 2022

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The permanent way on a railway or railroad is the construction made up of rails, fasteners, railroad ties, and ballast (or slab track), as well as the underlying subgrade. Trains may travel because it provides a stable surface for their wheels to roll on.

It’s also known as a railway track (in British English and UIC nomenclature) or a railroad track (predominantly in the United States). An electrification system, such as an overhead electrical power line or an extra electrified rail, is installed on tracks where electric trains or electric trams travel.

Despite recent technological advancements, flat-bottom steel rails supported on timber or pre-stressed concrete sleepers, which are themselves set on crushed stone ballast, remain the most widely used track type globally.

Most heavy-traffic railroads use continuously welded rails that are supported by sleepers attached to base plates that distribute the strain. When concrete sleepers are utilized, a plastic or rubber cushion is frequently inserted between the rail and the tie plate. In most cases, robust fastenings are utilized to secure the rail to the sleeper, while cut spikes are commonly employed in North American usage.

Rail track employed softwood wooden sleepers and jointed rails for much of the twentieth century, and this track type may still be found on secondary and tertiary lines. In North America and Australia, the rails were normally of flat bottom section secured to the sleepers with dog spikes through a flat tie plate, whereas in Britain and Ireland, the rails were often of bullhead section borne in cast iron chairs.


The London, Midland and Scottish Railway was the first to convert to flat-bottomed rail, and the ostensible advantage of bullhead rail – that it could be turned over and re-used when the top surface became worn – proved to be unworkable in practice because the underside was frequently ruined by fretting from the chairs.

Because there was no other option available at the time, jointed rails were employed. However, the ballast becomes depressed as a result of its inherent weakness in resisting vertical loads, and a substantial maintenance effort is required to prevent unacceptable geometrical faults at the joints.

The joints required to be lubricated, and wear on the mating surfaces of the fishplate (joint bar) needed to be corrected by shimming. As a result, jointed track is not economically viable for highly used railroads.

Timber sleepers come in a variety of wood species and are frequently coated with creosote, chromated copper arsenate, or other wood preservatives. Where lumber is limited and tonnage or speeds are high, pre-stressed concrete sleepers are frequently employed. In various situations, steel is employed.

Crushed stone is commonly used as track ballast, and its purpose is to support the sleepers and allow for some change of their position while allowing for free drainage.

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