The Constructor

Types of Railway Sleepers, Their Functions, Benefits and Drawbacks

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What is a Railway Sleeper?

Railway sleepers are the components on which the rails are arranged with proper gauge. These sleepers generally rests on ballast and is also called as ties in some regions. The load from rails when train passes, is taken by these sleepers and is distributed it to the ballast.

Functions of Railway Sleepers

The basic functions of Railway sleepers are to:

Classification of Railway Sleepers

Based on the materials used, railway sleepers are classified into following types.
  1. Wooden sleepers
  2. Concrete sleepers
  3. Steel sleepers
  4. Cast iron sleepers
  5. Composite sleepers

Wooden Sleepers

These are sleepers made of wood. Wooden sleepers are used since olden days. These are still widely using in some western countries. Either hardwood or softwood can be used to make wooden sleepers. However, hardwood sleepers made of oak, jarrah, teakwood are more famous.

Benefits of Wooden Sleepers

Drawbacks of Wooden Sleepers

Concrete Sleepers

Concrete sleepers are manufactured by concrete with internal reinforcement. Concrete sleepers used in many countries due to its high stability and small maintenance. These are more suitable for high speed rails. Most of the concrete sleepers are made from pre-stressed concrete in which internal tension is induced into the sleeper before casting. Hence, the sleeper withstand well against high external pressure.

Benefits of Concrete Sleepers

Drawbacks of Concrete Sleepers

Steel Sleepers

Steel sleepers are more often used because of stronger than wood and economical than concrete. They also have good life span. They are molded in trough shape and placed on ballast in inversed trough shape.



Cast Iron Sleepers

Cast iron sleepers are widely used in the world especially in Indian railways. They are available in 2 types, pot type sleepers and plate type sleepers. Pot type sleepers are not suitable for curves sharper than 4 degrees. CST 9 type sleepers more famous in Indian railways.



Composite Sleepers

Composite sleepers are modern type sleepers which are made from waste plastic and rubber. Hence, it is also called as plastic sleepers. They have many combined properties of all other types.



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