You may or may not have traveled in a train but you must have seen crushed stones on railway tracks. We all have read about in our textbooks but I’m sure not everyone remembers why the stones are placed on the railway tracks. Here I’m going to explain to you in the best way possible. Keep reading, you are just a few seconds away from knowing the science behind it.
Here is the reason why crushed stones are placed on a railway track. Take a look!
Ever heard about track ballast?
The crushed stones we see on the railway track is called as track ballast and it’s packed between the sleepers.
What are sleepers?
The tracks used in railway is made of steel and it is supported by wooden ties which are called sleepers. A sleeper is kept perpendicular to the railway track.
Has it been there from the time of trains were invented?
Yes, it has been there for 200 years and hasn’t been improved after that. So you know effective these crushed stones are.
Why do we use these stones?
The major purpose of these stones is to hold the wooden ties and by doing this, we hold the rail in place.
Why only these stones?
It’s not like whatever stones the engineers find, they place it on the track. If we use round pebbles, it will roll over when the train passes.
How the shape of stones plays a major role
We need stones that won’t roll over or move around too much, and this is why we use stones with sharp edges so it can hold the track.
Is it the only thing that crushed stones do?
Its job is not only holding the track tight but it also helps in draining out the water when the track is filled with water. It doesn’t completely insulate water but it does help in water drainage.
Other important benefits of crushed stones
It doesn’t allow plants to grow on the tracks, provides water drainage and most importantly is to hold the tracks firmly even in the case of heavy loaded trains.
What if we don’t use crushed stones and simply nail the tracks on the ground?
This is what will happen if we don’t place the crushed stones on the track.
Such a small invention that was done years ago but the purpose it serves is extremely amazing.
Know the scientific names
In case you are confused with the scientific names, this image will clear your doubts.