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Encyclopedia > Rail tracks
Rail gauge
Standard gauge
Narrow gauge
Minimum gauge
List of rail gauges
Dual gauge
Gauge convertible
Break-of-gauge
Rail tracks
Tramway track

Rail tracks.

The type of fastener depends partly on the type of sleeper, with spikes being used on wooden sleepers, and clips being used more on concrete sleepers. This article is about the construction material. ...

Usually, a baseplate tie plate is used between the rail and wooden sleepers, to spread the load of the rail over a larger area of the sleeper. Sometimes spikes are driven through a hole in the baseplate to hold the rail, while at other times the baseplates are spiked or screwed to the sleeper and the rails clipped to the baseplate. Double-shouldered tie plates A tie plate (US) or baseplate (UK) in railroading is a steel plate used between flanged T rail and the crossties. ... For other uses, see Wood (disambiguation). ...

Steel rails can carry heavier loads than any other material. Railroad ties spread the load from the rails over the ground and also serve to hold the rails a fixed distance apart (called the gauge.) The dominant rail gauge in each country shown Rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the two parallel rails that make up a railway track. ...

Rail tracks are normally laid on a bed of coarse stone chippings known as ballast, which combines resilience, some amount of flexibility, and good drainage. Steel rails can also be laid onto a concrete slab (a slab track). Across bridges, track is often laid on ties across longitudinal timbers or longitudinal steel girders. Concrete sleepers laid on Ballast Track ballast, consisting of gravel, cinders or other aggregate, forms the trackbed upon which railway sleepers are laid. ... Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given area. ... Timber in storage for later processing at a sawmill Timber is a term used to describe wood, either standing or that has been processed for useâ€”from the time trees are felled, to its end product as a material suitable for industrial useâ€”as structural material for construction or wood... For other uses, see Steel (disambiguation). ... This page is a candidate to be copied to Wiktionary. ...

Additional detail on tracks used for tram and light rail operations, as opposed to heavy rail, is available at tramway track. This article refers to public transport vehicles running on rails. ... This article is about light rail systems in general. ... The term heavy rail is often used for regular railways, to distinguish from systems such as trams/light rail and metro. ... Light rail tracks with concrete railroad ties. ...

## Railway rail GA_googleFillSlot("encyclopedia_square");

Main article: Rail profile

It has been suggested that Vignoles rail be merged into this article or section. ...

Light rail tracks with concrete railroad ties. ... Comparison of flat-bottomed with bullhead rail Vignoles rail is the name popularly used for the flat-bottomed rail used internationally for railway track, after Charles Vignoles the engineer who introduced it to Britain. ... Charles Blacker Vignoles (1793-1875) was an influential early railway engineer, and eponym of the Vignoles rail. ... Iron-strapped wooden rails were used on all American railways until 1831. ...

## Jointed track

Track joint.
Alternative view of track joints

Historically, North American railroads until the mid to late 20th century used sections of rail that measured 39 feet (11.9 m) long so they could be carried to and from a worksite in conventional gondolas, which often measured 40 feet (12.2 m) long; as car sizes increased, so did rail lengths. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901&#8211;2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900&#8211;1999... A railroad gondola seen at Rochelle, Illinois. ...

Fishplates or joint bars are usually 60 centimetres (2 feet) long, and are bolted through each side of the rail ends with bolts (usually four, but sometimes up to six.) Small gaps known as expansion joints are deliberately left between the rails to allow for expansion of the rails in hot weather. The holes through which the fishplate bolts pass are oval to allow for expansion. An expansion joint is an assembly designed to safely absorb the heat-induced expansion and contraction of metallic parts. ...

British practice was always to have the rail joints on both rails adjacent to each other, while North American practice is to stagger them.

Because of the small gaps left between the rails, when trains pass over jointed tracks, they make a "clickety clack" sound. Unless it is well maintained, jointed track doesn't have the ride quality of welded rail, and is unsuitable for high speed trains. A major problem is cracking around the bolt holes, which can lead to the rail head breaking. This was the cause of the Hither Green rail crash which caused British Railways to begin converting much of its track to Continuous Welded Rail. However, it is still used in many countries on lower speed lines and sidings. Jointed track is still extensively used in poorer countries due to the lower construction cost and lack of modernisation of their railway systems. French-designed Eurostar and Thalys TGVs side-by-side in the Paris-Gare du Nord. ... The Hither Green rail crash occurred on 5 November 1967. ... British Railways (BR), later rebranded as British Rail, ran the British railway system, from the nationalisation of the Big Four British railway companies in 1948 until its privatisation in stages between 1994 and 1997. ... A siding, in general rail terminology, refers to a section of rail used to store stationary rolling stock perhaps whilst it is loaded or unloaded, or alternatively, a short length of rail that provides access to and from factories, mines, quarries, wharves, etc. ...

### Insulated joints

Where track circuits exist for signalling purposes, insulated block joints are required. These compound the weakness of ordinary block joints. Specially made glued joints, where all the gaps filled with epoxy resin increases the strength again. Audio frequency track circuits such as those made by CSEE replace the conventional block joint with a tuned loop which uses say 20m of the rail as part of the blocking circuit. Axle counters can also reduce the number of track circuits and thus the number of insulated rail joints. It has been suggested that Rail circuits be merged into this article or section. ... It has been suggested that safeworking be merged into this article or section. ... Epoxy or polyepoxide is a thermosetting epoxide polymer that cures when mixed with a catalyzing agent or hardener. Most common epoxy resins are produced from a reaction between Epichorohydrin & Bisphenol A. The first commercial attempts to prepare resins from epichlorohydrin occurred in 1927 in the United States. ... An audio frequency (abbreviation: AF) is any frequency from about 20 hertz to about 20 kilohertz, which is the approximate range of sound frequencies that is audible to humans. ... An axle counter is a device on a railway that detects the passing of a train in lieu of the more common track circuit. ...

## Continuous welded rail

welded rail joint

Most modern railways use continuous welded rail (CWR); in this form of track, the rails are welded together by utilising the thermite reaction or flash butt welding to form one continuous rail that may be several kilometres long. Because there are few joints, this form of track is very strong, gives a smooth ride, and needs less maintenance. Welded track has become common on main lines since the 1950s. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x960, 307 KB) welded rail joint (de: geschweiÃŸter SchienenstoÃŸ) My own photo taken 28-jun-2005 File links The following pages link to this file: Rail tracks ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x960, 307 KB) welded rail joint (de: geschweiÃŸter SchienenstoÃŸ) My own photo taken 28-jun-2005 File links The following pages link to this file: Rail tracks ... Welding is a fabrication process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. ... A thermite mixture using Iron (III) Oxide A thermite mixture using Iron (II,III) Oxide Thermite is a kind of pyrotechnic composition of aluminium powder and a metal oxide which produces an aluminothermic reaction known as a thermite reaction. ...

Because of the increased strength of welded track, trains can travel on it at higher speeds and with less friction. Welded rails are more expensive to lay than jointed tracks, but have much lower maintenance costs.

Rails expand in hot weather and shrink in cold weather. Because welded track has very few expansion joints, if no special measures are taken it could become distorted in hot weather and cause a derailment (a condition known in America as sun kink, referred in Britain as buckling). The only derailment of a Shinkansen in normal operations occurred as a result of the 2004 ChÅ«etsu earthquake; no injuries were reported from this accident. ... Sun kink refers to a condition that can occur on hot days with improperly laid continuous welded rail. ... This article is about engineering. ...

To avoid this, welded rails are very often laid on concrete or steel sleepers, which are so heavy they hold the rails firmly in place. After new segments of rail are laid, or defective rails replaced (welded in), the rails are artificially stressed. Great attention is paid to compacting the ballast effectively, particularly the shoulder over the ends of the sleepers, to prevent them from moving. Even so, in extreme weather, foot patrols monitor sections of track known to be problematic. This article is about the construction material. ... Ferroconcrete sleepers A variant fastening of rails to wooden sleepers A railroad tie, cross tie, or sleeper is a rectangular object used as a base for railroad tracks. ... Examples of buckling track in CWR Stressing is a technique developed in the 1960s to avert rail track problems that can occur when installing Continuous Welded Rail (CWR). ... Trends in natural disasters, Pascal Peduzzi (2004) Is climate change increasing the frequency of hazardous events? Environment Times UNEP/GRID-Arendal Extreme weather includes weather phenomena that are at the extremes of the historical distribution, especially severe or unseasonal weather. ...

The stressing process involves either heating the rails causing them to expand,[1] or stretching the rails with hydraulic equipment. They are then fastened (clipped) to the sleepers in their expanded form. This process ensures that the rail will not expand much further in subsequent hot weather. In cold weather the rails try to contract, but because they are firmly fastened, cannot do so. In effect, stressed rails are a bit like a piece of stretched elastic firmly fastened down. Stressing Stressing is a technique developed in the 1960s to avert rail track problems that can occur when installing Continuous Welded Rail (CWR). ... Hydraulics is a branch of science and engineering concerned with the use of liquids to perform mechanical tasks. ... The term elastomer is often used interchangeably with the term rubber, and is preferred when referring to vulcanisates. ...

Engineers try to heat the rail to a temperature roughly midway between the average extremes of hot and cold (this is known as the 'rail neutral temperature'). If temperatures reach outside normal ranges however, welded rail can buckle in a hotter than usual summer or can actually break in a colder than anticipated winter.

Joints are used in continuously welded rail when necessary; instead of a joint that passes straight across the rail, producing a loud noise and shock when the wheels pass over it, two sections of rail are sometimes cut at a steep angle and put together with a gap between them - a breather switch (referred to in Britain as an expansion joint). This gives a much smoother transition yet still provides some expansion room. A Breather Switch (or Adjustment Switch) is a long diagonal gap in rail tracks created to allow for the transition between two segments of continuously welded rail, or at the transition between CWR and jointed track. ...

## Methods of fixing rail to sleepers/ties

Cross-sections of flat-bottomed which can rest directly on the sleepers, and bullhead rails which sit in chairs (not shown).
Screwed rail attachment
Rail Bender

Modern sleepers can be made of reinforced concrete and pressed steel, with rubber pads inserted between the sleeper and rail. This is done for two reasons: to give a smoother ride and to prevent the sleeper from shorting the track circuit, a low voltage passed through the rails for signalling purposes. This is different from a "traction current," which powers electric trains. See also [2] Reinforced concrete at Sainte Jeanne dArc Church (Nice, France): architect Jacques Dror, 1926â€“1933 Reinforced concrete, also called ferroconcrete in some countries, is concrete in which reinforcement bars (rebars) or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen a material that would otherwise be brittle. ... It has been suggested that Rail circuits be merged into this article or section. ...

A rail clip

A variety of different types of heavy-duty clips are used to fasten the rails to the underlying baseplate, one common one being the Pandrol fastener (Pandrol clip), named after its maker, which is shaped like a sturdy, stubby paperclip.[3], [4] and [5]. Another one is the Vossloh Tension Clamp.[6] Download high resolution version (768x1024, 141 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (768x1024, 141 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...

North American practice normally uses rail spikes, which are very large nails with over hanging heads to clasp the flat-bottomed rail. These are cheaper and simpler to install but can loosen if the tie rots, much more easily than the British chair (a type of baseplate) does. This is mitigated by using very large and solid creosoted ties or using another rot-proofing preservative. See also timber treatment. Two unused and one heavily corroded spike. ... Creosote is the name used for a variety of products: wood creosote, coal tar creosote, coal tar, coal tar pitch, and coal tar pitch volatiles. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Timber treatment or lumber treatment in forestry describes the intensive treatment of timber with chemical agents to increase its durability and ability to be used in an otherwise inappropriate situation like inground use. ...

A fishplate between two sections of jointed bullhead rail, with a rail chair screwed into a wooden sleeper, the keys are on the opposite side of the rail and not visible here. This example of traditional British practice was photographed at Cardiff Bay railway station

The idea behind bullhead rails was that because both the top and bottom of the rails were the same shape, when one side of the rail became worn, the rail could be turned over to the unused side, thus extending the rail's lifespan. However the bottom head turned out to get dented, rendering the original idea useless. Since the turnover requirement was no longer needed, bullhead rails came to have a flat base (narrower than flat-bottomed rail), and the top part has curved edges that fit the profile of the train wheels.

In recent years, methods have been developed to put tracks on concrete without using conventional sleepers or track ballast. While this method's construction cost is high, this system is expected to have significantly lower maintenance cost than conventional tracks. It is mainly used on high-speed lines and in tunnels, where maintenance access is difficult.

## Track maintenance

An abandoned railroad trestle in Skagway, Alaska

The profile of the track is maintained by using a railgrinder. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Common maintenance jobs include spraying ballast with weedkiller to prevent weeds growing through and disrupting the ballast. This is typically done with a special weedkilling train. A herbicide is a pesticide used to kill unwanted plants. ...

Over time, ballast is crushed or moved by the weight of trains passing over it, and periodically it needs to be leveled (tamped) and eventually cleaned or replaced. If this is not done, the tracks may become uneven causing swaying, rough riding and eventually the risk for derailment.

Rail Inspections utilize nondestructive testing methods to detect internal flaws in the rails. This is done by using specially equipped HiRail trucks, inspection cars, or in some cases handheld inspection devices. Rail inspection is the practice of examining rail tracks for flaws that could lead to catastrophic failures. ... // Nondestructive testing (also called NDT, nondestructive evaluation, NDE, and nondestructive inspection, NDI) is testing that does not destroy the test object. ... A HiRail truck is an ordinary road truck fitted with railway wheels so that it can operate on rail tracks. ...

Broken or worn-out rails also need replacing periodically. Mainline rails that get worn out usually have life left in branch line or rail siding use and are "cascaded" to those branch lines. A branch line is a relatively minor railway line which branches off a more important through route. ... A siding, in general rail terminology, refers to a section of rail used to store stationary rolling stock perhaps whilst it is loaded or unloaded, or alternatively, a short length of rail that provides access to and from factories, mines, quarries, wharves, etc. ...

The environmental conditions along railroad tracks create a unique ecosystem. This is particularly so in the United Kingdom where steam locomotives are no longer used and vegetation has not been trimmed back so thoroughly. This, however, creates a problem for steam-hauled "heritage" trains in prolonged dry weather. Railroad ecology is a term used to refer to the study of the ecological community growing along railroad tracks. ...

See also Maintenance of way Maintenance of way (often abbreviated as M of Way, MOW or MW) refers to the maintenance of railroad rights of way. ...

## History

Main article: Rail profile

It has been suggested that Vignoles rail be merged into this article or section. ...

## Gauge

Main article: Rail gauge

During the early days of rail there was considerable variation in the gauge used by different systems. Today, sixty percent of the world's railways use a gauge of 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm), which is known as the standard or international gauge. Gauges wider than standard gauge are called broad gauge, those smaller than standard narrow gauge. Some stretches of track are dual gauge, with three (or sometimes four) parallel rails in place of the usual two, to allow trains of two different gauges to share the same track. [2]. The dominant rail gauge in each country shown Rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the two parallel rails that make up a railway track. ... A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes, â€² â€“ a prime) is a unit of length, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, â€³ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... As railways developed and expanded one of the key issues to be decided was that of the rail gauge (the distance between the two rails of the track) which should be used. ... As railways developed and expanded one of the key issues to be decided was that of the rail gauge (the distance between the two rails of the track) which should be used. ... For other uses, see Gauge. ... Comparison of standard gauge (blue) and one common narrow gauge (red) width. ... Sunlight reflects off dual-gauge tracks near Chur, Switzerland Mixed-gauge track and pointwork (4 ft 8Â½ in (1435 mm) and 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm)) at Odawara in Japan Dual-gauge tram tracks in Katwijk, The Netherlands Dual-gauge or mixed-gauge railway is a special configuration of...

## U.S. track classes

In the United States, the Federal Railroad Administration has developed a system of classification for track quality. The class a track is placed in determines speed limits and the ability to run passenger trains. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) was created in 1966 as a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote rail transportation and safety. ...

• The lowest class is referred to as excepted track. Only freight trains are allowed to operate on this type of trackage, and they may run at speeds up to 10 mph (16 km/h). Also, no more than five cars loaded with hazardous material may be operated within any single train. Passenger trains of any kind are prohibited, including chartered excursions or fantrips.
• Class 1 track is the lowest class allowing the operation of passenger trains. Freight train speeds are still limited to 10 mph (16 km/h, and passenger trains are restricted to 15 mph (24 km/h).
• Class 2 track limits freight trains to 25 mph (40 km/h) and passenger trains to 30 mph (48 km/h).
• Class 3 track limits freight trains to 40 mph (64 km/h) and passenger trains to 60 mph (96 km/h). There is currently a legal battle between Amtrak and the Guilford Rail System over its trackage from Haverhill, MA, to Portland, ME. Amtrak is fighting for the Class 3 trackage to be used to operate its Downeaster at 79 mph (126 km/h).
• Class 4 track limits freight trains to 60 mph (96 km/h) and passenger trains to 80 mph (128 km/h). Most track, especially that owned by major railroads the Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern is class 4 track. Due to a technicality in law, Amtrak trains are limited to 79 mph (126 km/h) on this track, unless cab signaling or automatic train stop are employed.
• Class 5 track limits freight trains to 80 mph (128 km/h) and passenger trains to 90 mph (144 km/h). The most significant portion of Class 5 track is part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Chicago–Los Angeles mainline, the old Santa Fe main, upon which Amtrak's Southwest Chief can operate at up to 90 mph (144 km/h). This is notable as the only area outside Amtrak-owned trackage or trackage upgraded through state funds where Amtrak trains can operate above 79 mph (126 km/h).
• Class 6 limits freight trains and passenger trains to 110 mph (176 km/h). Amtrak is currently working with the Iowa Interstate Railroad and the state of Illinois to upgrade a portion of its Chicago, IllinoisKansas City, Missouri line to Class 6.
• Class 7 limits all trains to 125 mph (200 km/h). Most of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is Class 7 trackage.
• Class 8 limits all trains to 160 mph (256 km/h). A few small lengths of the Northeast Corridor are the only Class 8 trackage in North America.
• Class 9 trackage limits all trains to 200 mph (320 km/h). There is currently no Class 9 trackage.

$V_{max}=sqrt{frac{E_a + 3}{0.0007d}}$

where Ea is the amount in inches that the outside rail is superelevated above the inside rail on a curve and d is the degree of curvature in degrees per 100 feet. Vmax is given in miles per hour. Cant (rail) on a road (somethimes referred to as camber) or railway is the difference in elevation of the two sides of the track to help go around curves. ... Degree of curve or degree of curvature is a measure of curvature used in civil engineering for its easy use in layout surveying. ... Miles per hour is a unit of speed, expressing the number of international miles covered per hour. ...

Track unbalanced superelevation in the U.S. is restricted to 3 inches, though 4 inches is permissible by waiver. There is no hard maximum set for European railways, some of which have curves with over 11 inches of unbalanced superelevation to permit high-speed transportation. [3]

Generally the aim is for trains to run without flange contact, which also depends on the tyre profile of the wheels. Allowance has to be made for the different speeds of trains. Slower trains will tend to make flange contact with the inner rail on curves, while faster trains will tend to ride outwards and make contact with the outer rail. Either creates wear and may lead to derailment. Many high speed lines do not permit the use of slower freight trains, particularly with heavier axle loads. In some cases, problems are alleviated by the use of flange lubrication. On railways, the axle load is the maximum weight of a train per pair of wheels allowable for a given section of track. ...

Track lubrication on a reverse curve in an area prone to movement due to wet beds.

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

## Other types

In the early years of railways, there was much experimentation with rails and sleepers and fixtures, before the better designs emerged.

Wooden rails with a metal strap on top was tried to save costs, but the straps had a tendency to come loose and penetrate the carriages going over them. These were commonly known as "snakeheads".

"Pole Roads" were used in past American logging operations in place of the more expensive standard railroad. They consisted of wooden poles laid end to end and parallel to each other in place of the steel rails. Locomotives and rolling stock on pole roads used concave wheels (double flanged) as opposed to the single flange used on most railway lines. Fordson tractors were often converted into pole road locomotives. The major setback to these lines was that the primitive (often home-made) locomotives tended to derail on curves. Logging is the process in which trees are cut down usually as part of a timber harvest which is good for the environment. ... Fordson Model F The Fordson tractor by the Ford Motor Company was the first agricultural tractor to be mass produced. ...

The "flangeway" was an early type of railway, the rails of which were equipped with a flange, while the locomotives and rolling stock that ran on it had wheels with plain rims. However switches/turnouts were very primitive, and high speeds could not be achieved, thus leading to the demise of the flangeway and the rise of today's "edgeway".

Barlow rail had a wide cross section to spread the load, but the rail itself tended to spread and go out of gauge. [4] There are some examples in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Powerhouse entry The Powerhouse Museum is Sydneys museum of science and technology. ... This article is about the metropolitan area in Australia. ...

Brunel's Great Western Railway used longitudinal sleepers, with piles to hold the track down, but as the earthworks settled, the piles came to hold the track up. Brunel can mean: Isambard Kingdom Brunel Marc Isambard Brunel, Isambards father Brunel Bridge Brunel University Shlomo Ben Avraham Ole Brunell This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... The original Bristol Temple Meads station, first terminus of the GWR, is the building to the left of this picture The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company, linking South West England, the West Country and South Wales with London. ...

## References

1. ^ Continuous Welded Rail. Grandad Sez: Grandad's Railway Engineering Section. Retrieved on 2006-06-12.
2. ^ message in the mailing list '1520mm' on Р75 rails.
3. ^ The Shasta Route - Curve speeds: what's possible and what's real. [1]
4. ^ Light Railways October 2007 p13
• Pike, J., (2001), Track, Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0-7509-2692-9
• Simulation of the Dynamic Behavior of Bedding-Foundation-Soil in the Time Domain, Firuziaan, M., Estorff, o., Springer Verlag, 2002

Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 163rd day of the year (164th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Light Railways _________________________________________________________________________________ A Magazine produced by the Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc with the subtitle Australias Magazine of Industrial and Narrow Gauge Railways ISSN 07278101 _________________________________________________________________________________ The LRRSA started in the 1960s, and the run of this magazine is essential for research and news on...

 Railroad switch (points) Rail terminology (including US/UK and other regional/national differences) Rail transport Railroad ecology Grand union Third rail Rack railway Monorail LGV construction TGV tracks Double track Grooved rail Single track Rail siding Passing loop Vignoles rail Wagonway Wye Railway station layout Flanged T rail nl:Verschil tussen trein- en tramspoor Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rail track

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