The Constructor

What are the Different Types of Rails?

Railway lines

Railway lines

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A rail is a horizontally extending steel bar between supports that serves as a track for trains, automobiles, and other vehicles.

Types of Rails

There are three types of rails:

1. Double-Headed rails

These rails were used in the early stages of railroad development. They are divided into three sections:

The upper and lower tables were identical, and they were introduced in the hopes of doubling the rail's lifespan. When the upper table wears out, the rails can be placed on the chair upside down and reversed, allowing the lower table to be used.

However, this plan quickly proved to be incorrect since the continuous contact of the lower table with the chair caused the lower table's surface to become rough, making smooth train operation impossible. As a result, this type of rail is almost obsolete. These rails are now available in lengths ranging from 20 to 24 feet.

Double Headed Rail

2. Bull-Headed rails

This type of rail is made up of three pieces:

Steel was used to construct these rails. The head is larger than the foot, and the foot holds the wooden keys that fasten the rails in place.

As a result, the foot's sole purpose is to provide the required strength and rigidity to rails.

When these rails are used, two cast iron chairs are required for each sleeper. Their weight ranges from 85 to 95 pounds, and they can grow up to 60 feet long.

Bull Headed Rail

3. Flat-footed rails

These rails were first invented in 1836 by Charles Vignoles, and so are also known as Vignols rails. They are divided into three sections:

This type of rail has grown in popularity to the point where it now makes up over 90% of all railway lines in the world.

The benefits of flat-footed rails are as follows:

The weights from train wheels are distributed over a large number of sleepers and hence a broader area, resulting in increased track stability, longer rail and sleeper life, lower maintenance costs, less rail failure, and fewer traffic delays.

Flat Torted Rail

Rail Wear

Wear is defined as the abrasion or cutting of rail owing to friction and abnormally high loads.

There are three different types of rail wear:

Rail Wear Reduction Techniques

To reduce rail wear, the following procedures are used:

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