All About Railways

What is a railway?


Railway refers to a system of metal tracks along which a train travel. Railways are meant to be a means of transporting people and commodities between two places. Companies or organisations operate railways. The railway tracks act as low friction low-friction surface where the train travels on. In addition, they transmit the train weight to the ground below.


How are railway tracks made?


They are essentially composed of two adjacent, and parallel rails of steel with a fixed distance between them referred to as the gauge. The standard gauge is universally set at 4 feet 8.5 inches. Railroad ties keep the rails connected. The ties may be constructed from wood or concrete are fixed to the rails by bolts. Usually, the ties are constructed in gravel or ballast. Ballast refers to stones that are loose and assist in weight transfer to the underlying foundation


Rail construction workers usually use flat-bottom steel rail when laying the track. These rails are like the steel l-beam girders utilised in construction. The rails are shaped such that it has a wide base, a narrow middle section and a head that is narrower than the base but wider than the middle part. The rails weigh from around 80 to 160 pounds per yard, and the variation is dependent on the trains riding them. Fishplate connect sections of the railway track.


The tracks may be curved or straight to direct the train as steel can be bent into the desired shape. Depending on the terrain, some bends may be slightly banked to assist in keeping the train on the track while making the bend. Along the track, there is a switch that is critical in regulating the traffic.


What are railways made from?


The tracks are majorly made for steel. The steel is hot rolled steel which composes of medium carbon steel that has 0.7 % to 1% manganese and 0.7 % to 0.8 % carbon. The steel undergoes a standard metal fabrication process that results in high carbon steel shot.

Read more about high carbon steel shot

The high carbon steel shot has a dimpled, peened surface. For the long-term performance of railway tracks, there are two key properties which include resistance to fracturing and wearing. The longer the heat treatment process, then the stronger the resulting steel is.


Rail pads, baseplates and ballast mats are also used in railway construction. The track stiffness is the major determinant for the railway tracks structure, basic dimensions, construction and maintenance.


Why and When do people use railway tracks?


The continued use of trains as a means of transport has several encouraging advantages. Trains operate on a fixed schedule. This enables the transporter plan for the transportation of his/ her goods or their travel. Trains are also economical for transporting heavy and bulky goods over long distances. The trains may also possess facilities that enable the transportation of special types of goods such as petrol and gas. Perishable goods may also be transported on railway tracks using special cool cargo compartments. In addition, there are significantly lower instances of accidents when using this mode of transport.