Close your eyes and imagine the tracks of a train. I'm sure your mental image you won't have forgotten to put some wooden or concrete sleepers or posts next to the track. Another thing you may have imagined are the stones that almost always surround the train tracks. Even though it's so clear in your mind, Do you know why there are almost always stones in the train tracks? Join us in finding out!
Sean suburban, medium or long-distance trains, the stones will surround the tracks as inseparable companions on most railroad tracks. All the terminology related to railways is mysterious to the profane in matter and yet each one of these pieces is vital for the proper functioning of the railway.
The reason for the stones on the train tracks
The stones we see near the train tracks are called "ballast." . The word derives from the English word "ballast" which designated the material formerly used in ships as ballast. It is a type of granulated material that measures between 30 and 150 mm. and is used in construction and especially in railways.
The train is a transport that moves through guides. As it travels through rails from which it cannot deviate, these must have very specific geometric and technical characteristics. As the tracks must maintain a constant width In the case of a crossbeam, which does not vary, and which must not be deformed, sleepers are placed along the route. However, if the sleepers are placed directly on the platform, when the transmitted loads exceed the capacity of the platform as a carrier, especially in clayey or low consistency soils, they deform and sink into the platform.
In order to solve this problem the engineers of the old railways saw that they had to place, as if it were a bed or bed , a granular element underneath and to the sides of the sleepers to spread the loads over a larger area. .
In order for the stones on the railway track to fulfil their function, they must have special characteristics.
- They must measure between 3 and 6 cm.
- They must come from crushing quartzite, basalt and granite because this type of rock, placed together, work, due to friction, as extraordinary load distributors on its surface.
- They must be pointed and sharp because if they were rounded they would roll out of place with ease.
The ballast forms an elastic bed that acts as if it were a spring and cushions the effect of rail freight. It also serves as a superelevation and refines the gradient preventing the train from derailing, prevents vegetation from growing on the platform, helps proper drainage and evaporation of rainwater and helps reduce noise.
All these are the reasons why there are stones on the train tracks . It provides stability, distributes pressure, dampens vibrations and allows good drainage. Do you know any more? Share it with us! If you've been interested in this post you might want to read the article: The true history of the Orient Express .