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Solved Question papers Transportation Engineering II

1. Explain the role of rail Transportation in the development of country (8 Marks)

Since its creation Indian Railways has successfully played the role of the prime carrier of
goods and passengers in the Indian Subcontinent. As the principal constituent of the nations
transport infrastructure, the railway has important role to play.
1. Railways provide the cheapest and most convenient mode of passenger transport both for
long distance and suburban traffic.
2. Railways have played a significant role in development and growth of industries. Growth
of textile industry in Mumbai, jute industry in areas surrounding Kolkata, coal industry in
Jharkhand, etc is largely due to the development of railway network in these areas. Railways
help in supplying raw materials and other facilities to the factory sites and finished goods to
the market.
3. Agriculture also owes its growth to railways to a great extent. Now farmers can sell their
agricultural produce to distant places and even sell them in the world market at remunerative
4. Railways are also helpful in removing isolation between cities and countryside and have
played a significant role in disseminating innovations and new ideas.
5. Railways are particularly suited to long distance journey and provide a strong medium of
national integration.
6. Railways play a vital role in mitigating the sufferings of the people in the event of natural
calamities like droughts, floods, famines, earthquakes, etc. This is done by carrying relief and
rescue teams and essential items to the affected areas and save people from sufferings and
7. Railways also help in facing man-made calamities like social, political, religious
disturbances, insurgency, etc. It facilitates easy movement of police, troops, defence
equipment, etc. The importance of railways to save the countrys freedom and integrity from
external aggression has been proved at several occasions.
8. Railways carry the British legacy and connect major ports, thereby lending a helping hand
to the overall prosperity of the coastal areas.
9. Introduction of superfast trains and container services in major cities of India have ensured
quick movement of men and material.
10. Railways are especially suited to long haulage of bulky materials like coal, petroleum and

2. What are the different types of rails used in Indian railways? Mention their
There are mainly three types of rails used
1. Double headed
2. Bull headed

3. Flat footed
The first rails used were double headed (DH) and made of an I or dumb-bell section (Fig.
6.1). The idea was that once the head wore out during service, the rail could be inverted and
reused. Experience, however, showed that while in service the bottom table of the rail was
dented to such an extent because of long and continuous contact with the chairs that it was
not possible to reuse it. This led to the development of the bull headed (BH) rail, which had
an almost similar shape but with more metal in the head to better withstand wear and tear
(Fig. 6.2). This rail section had the major drawback that chairs were required for fixing it to
the sleepers.
A flat-footed rail, (Fig. 6.3), with an inverted T-type cross section of inverted T- type was,
therefore, developed, which could be fixed directly to the sleepers with the help of spikes.
Another advantage of the flat-footed rail is that it is a more economical design, giving greater
strength and lateral stability to the track as compared to a BH rail for a given cross-sectional
area. The flatfooted (FF) Rail has been standardized for adoption on Indian Railways.
Double Headed
They mainly have 3 components
1. Uppertable
2. Wed
3. Lower table
Both Upper and lower tables are identical in shape and they were introduced with the hope of
doubling the life of the rails. i.e when the upper table is wornout then the rail can be inverted
and reused by fixing the upside down. But the idea soon turned out to be wrong as due to
continuous contact of the rail with the chair made the surface of the lower table rough and
hence the smooth running of the train was impossible
Bull headed
It is similar in shape to double head rail. The only difference between double headed and bull
headed rail is that in bullheaded rail more metal is added to the head to allow the greater wear
and tear. The lower head or table was kept of just sufficient size to be able to withstand the
stresses to be induced by moving loads. This rail also required chair for fixing it to the
sleeper. This proved the greatest drawback of this rail
The advantages and disadvantages are given in the other question
3. Mention the requirements of Ideal Permanent way.



Permanent track is regarded to be semi elastic in nature. There is possibility of track getting
disturbed by the moving wheel loads. The track should, therefore, be constructed and
maintained keeping the requirements of the permanent way.
The gauge should be correct and uniform
The rails should be in proper level, in a straight track, two rails must be at the same level. On
curves, the outer rail should have proper superelevation and there should be proper transition
at the junction of the straight and a curve
The alignment should be correct. i.e it should be free from kinks or irregularities.
The gradient should be uniform and as gentle as possible. Any change of gradient should be
followed by a smooth vertical curve, to give smooth riding quality

5. The track should be resilient and elastic in order to absorb shocks and vibrations of running
6. The track should have enough lateral strength, so that alignment is maintained even due to
effects of
a. Side thrust on tangent lengths and centrifugal force on curves
b. Lateral forces due to expansion of rails, particularly in case of welded rails
7. The radii and superelevation on curves should be properly designed and maintained
8. Drainage system must be perfect for enhancing safety and durability of track
9. Joints, including points and crossings which are regarded to be weakest points of railway
track, should be properly designed and maintained
10. If there is trouble from the creep, the preventionary measures should be to prevent it
11. The various components of track, i.e the rails, fittings, sleepers, ballast and formation must
fully satisfy the requirements for which they have been provided
12. There should be adequate provision for easy renewals and replacements.
13. The track structure should be strong, low in initial cost as well as maintenance cost.
4. Draw neatly the cross section of a straight Broad Gauge Railway Track in
Cutting for Double Lane and Single Lane in Embankment

5. Define creep. What are the possible causes and effect of creep?

Creep of rails
Creep is defined as the longitudinal movement of rails with respect to the sleepers in a track
Indications of creep
1. Closing of successive expansion spaces at rail joints in the direction of creep and
opening out of joints at the point from where the creep starts
2. Marks on flanges and webs of rails made by spike heads, by scraping or scratching as
the rail slide
The main factors responsible for the development of creep are as follows.
Ironing effect of the wheel The ironing effect of moving wheels on the waves formed in the
rail tends to cause the rail to move in the direction of traffic, resulting in creep.
Starting and stopping operations When a train starts or accelerates, the backward thrust of
its wheels tends to push the rail backwards. Similarly, when the train slows down or comes to
a halt, the effect of the applied brakes tends to push the rail forward. This in turn causes creep
in one direction or the other.
Changes in temperature Creep can also develop due to variations in temperature resulting in
the expansion and contraction of the rail. Creep occurs frequently during hot weather
Unbalanced traffic In a double-line section, trains move only in one direction, i.e., each
track is unidirectional. Creep, therefore, develops in the direction of traffic. In a single-line
section, even though traffic moves in both directions, the volume of the traffic in each
direction is normally variable. Creep, therefore, develops in the direction of predominant
Poor maintenance of track Some minor factors, mostly relating to the poor maintenance of
the track, also contribute to the development of creep. These are as follows.
(a) Improper securing of rails to sleepers
(b) Limited quantities of ballast resulting in inadequate ballast resistance to the movement of
(c) Improper expansion gaps
(d) Badly maintained rail joints
(e) Rail seat wear in metal sleeper track
(f) Rails too light for the traffic carried on them
(g) Yielding formations that result in uneven cross levels
(h) Other miscellaneous factors such as lack of drainage, and loose packing, uneven spacing
of sleepers.
Effects of Creep
The following are the common effects of creep.
Sleepers out of square The sleepers move out of their position as a result of creep and
become out of square. This in turn affects the gauge and alignment of the track, which finally
results in unpleasant rides.
Disturbance in gaps. Due to creep, the expansion gaps widen at some places and close at
others. This results in the joints getting jammed. Undue stresses are created in the fish plates
and bolts, which affects the smooth working of the switch expansion joints in the case of long
welded rails.
Distortion of points and crossings Due to excessive creep, it becomes difficult to maintain
the correct gauge and alignment of the rails at points and crossings.

Difficulty in changing rails If, due to operational reasons, it is required that the rail be
changed, the same becomes difficult as the new rail is found to be either too short or too long
because of creep.
Effect on interlocking The interlocking mechanism of the points and crossings gets
disturbed by creep.
Possible buckling of track If the creep is excessive and there is negligence in the
maintenance of the track, the possibility of buckling of the track cannot be ruled out.
Other effects There are other miscellaneous effects of creep such as breaking of bolts and
kinks in the alignment, which occur in various situations.
6. Mention the advantage of having uniform gauge in the country
Gauge to be used in a particular country should be uniform throughout as far as possible,
because it will avoid many difficulties experienced in a non uniform system. The uniformity
of gauges results in the following advantages.
1. The delay, cost and hardship in transhipping passangers and goods from the vehicles of one
gauge to another is avoided.
2. As the transhipping is not required there is no breakage of goods.
3. Difficulties in loading and unloading are avoided and labour expenses are saved.
4. Possibility of thefts and misplacement, while changing from one vehicle to another, is
5. Large sheds to store goods are not required
6. Labour strikes etc. do not affect the service and operation of trains
7. Surplus wagons of one gauge cannot be used on another gauge. This problem with not arise if
gauge is uniform
8. Locomotives can be effectively used on all the tracks of a uniform type of gauge is adopted.
9. Duplication of equipment such as platforms, sanitary arrangements, clocks etc,. is avoided.
This saves a lot of extra expenditure
10. During military movement, no time is wasted in changing personnel and equipment from one
vehicle to another if gauge is uniform
11. It is quite expensive to convert one gauge into another at a later stage as it may require new
rolling stock, fresh construction and widening of bridges and tunnels.
12. Due to late arrival of trains at the junction, where change of gauge is involved, the missing
links results in number of difficulties.

7. Draw a neat sketch of double line B.G track Cross section in curves. Mention
various component parts.

8. What are the different types of welding of rails? Explain any two of them

Types of welded rails

Short Welded Rails (SWR). A short welded rail is one which con tracts and expands
throughout its entire length due to temperature variations. These rails are welded into 3, 5
or 10 rail lengths to make Short Welded Rails. The Short Welded Rails of 3 rail length
have been standerdized on Indian railways.
Long Welded R ails (LWR). Long Welded Rail is one whose-central part does not
undergo any longitudinal movement and only end portions are affected due to
temperature variations. The minimum length of more than 200 m in ease of B .G. and 300
m for M.G. will function as Long Welded Rail. The maximum length of LWR is prescribed
as one kilometre (1000 m) under Indian conditions.
Continuous Welded Rails (CWR). The Welded Rails longer than one kilometre and
extending from one station to other with switch expansion joint are called C.W.R.

9. Compare between bull headed, double headed and flat footed rails
of Flat-footed rail
Strength and stiffness they have more strength and
stiffness for same weight
Laying and relaying
Fitting of these rails is simpler
and so can be easily laid and relaid
at The arrangements are simpler
points, crossings and and easy
at sharp curves
and In this impact of rolling wheels
stability of track
affect the fittings
Initial Cost

Lesser cost

Bull-headed rails na double

headed rails
They have less strength and
stiffness for same weight
The fitting of these rail is
difficult and time consuming
as they are supported on chairs
complicated and difficult
These rails when fitted on
chairs, provide a more solid,
smooth track
More cost is required because
of costly fastening

Maintenance cost


More rigid
Daily inspection is not necessary

They are less rigid

Daily inspection of wooden
keys is necessary
Is less
More suitable because of better More suitable at places where
stability, economy, strength and lateral
important rather than vertical

F.F rails
They have more strength and stiffness, both vertically and laterally, than B.H rails
Fitting of rails with sleepers is simpler, so they can be easily laid and relaid
No chairs or keys are required as in case of B.H. Rails
In points and crossings, the arrangements are simpler than B.H. rails
The fitting get loosened more frequently than in case of B.H rails
The straightening of rails, replacing of rails and dehogginf of battered rails are difficult
B.H rails
They keep better alignment and give more solid and smoother connection with the latter
The heavy chairs with larger bearing on sleepers give longer life to wodden sleepers and
greater stability
They require additional cost of iron chairs
They have less strength and stiffness
They require heavy maintenance cost
Double .Headed
As in double headed rails does not have any advantages as the main concept of using a
double head in the rail failed due to the damages caused on the lower end or the rails due to
They require additional cost of iron chairs
They have less strength and stiffness
They require heavy maintenance cost
10. What is coning of wheel? What are the advantages of coning of wheels
The head of the wheels of railway vehicle are not flat but made sloped, and this sloping of
surface along the circumference forms a part of a cone. On straight tracks, the coning of the
wheels keep them centrally, thereby reducing the wear of wheel flanges. If at any movement
the wheels go out of the central portion, then they have to travel unequal distance due to the
change in diameter of inner and outer wheel thus forcing it back to the central position and
hence the ride will be smoother.

The problem, however, arises in the case of a curve, when the outer wheel has to negotiate
more distance on the curve as compared to the inner wheel. Due to the action of centrifugal
force on a curve, the vehicle tends to move out. Hence the conning of wheel helps in outer
wheel to travel larger distance since it has larger diameter of the wheel and the inner wheel
will travel smaller distance because it has smaller diameter of wheel. The wheels of a railway
vehicle are connected by an axle, which in turn is fixed on a rigid frame. Due to the rigidity
of the frame, the rear axle has a tendency to move inward, which does not permit the leading
axle to take full advantage of the coning. The rigidity of the frame, however, helps to bring
the vehicle back into central alignment and thus works as a balancing factor.
On rails laid flat, conning of the wheels will subject the rails to eccentric loading at the inner
edge. This would create problem in both rail design and maintenance. To avoid this rails are
not laid flat but they are instead tilted inwards at a slope of 1:20. Which is the slope of wheel
cone. This is called as canting of rails.
Coning of wheels causes wear and tear due to the slipping action. It is, however, useful as
(a) It helps the vehicle to negotiate a curve smoothly,
(b) It provides a smooth ride, and
(c) It reduces the wear and tear of the wheel flanges.
11. Sketch the rail sections with dimensions. Discuss the criteria for deciding the
cross section and length of rails.

a) 52 kg rail b) 60 kg rail

The length of rail depends upon the maximum length- size that manufacturers can produce at
a reasonable cost. Longer rails lengths require expensive arrangements at the rail mills for
their controlled cooling, stacking and handeling. Another limiting factor is the problem of
transport. Theoretically, the longer the rail, the lesser the number of joints and fittings
required and the lesser the cost of construction and maintenance. Longer rails are economical
and provide smooth and comfortable rides. However, the length of rail is governed by the
following considerations
1. The length of rail which can be manufactured at the reasonable cost
2. The rails should be of such length that they may be carried in the largest wagon
3. The length of rail is also limited by the facilities available for lifting or handling the
4. The length of shortest rail should be larger than largest rigid wheel base of wagon
The length of a rail is, however, restricted due to the following factors.
(a) Lack of facilities for transport of longer rails, particularly on curves.
(b) Difficulties in manufacturing very long rails.
(c) Difficulties in acquiring bigger expansion joints for long rails.
(d) Heavy internal thermal stresses in long rails.
Taking the above factors into consideration, Indian Railways has standardized a rail length of
13 m (previously 42 ft) for broad gauge and 12 m (previously 39 ft) for MG and NG tracks.
But, Rail weld or rail joint is the know zone of weakness in track structure hence should
avoided to the extent that is possible. The rolling of rails in longer length is therefore
encouraged. The new rail rolling set up by zindal steel and power lmd in india, is rolling rails
upto length of 120 m each.
Weight of rail
Though the weights of a rail and its section depend upon various considerations, the heaviest
axle load that the rail has to carry plays the most important role. The following is the thumb
rule for defining the maximum axle load with relation to the rail section:
Maximum axle load = 560 sectional weight of rail in lbs per yard or kg per metre
12. What is meant by wear of rails? How do you classify the wear? Discuss the
various causes of wear?



Type of Wear on Rails

Classification based on location
On sharp curves
On gradient
On approaches to stations, where brakes are frequently applied
In tunnels
a. Where sand is used on rails to produce more friction on damp rails but on the
contrary it gives more wear
b. In tunnels, the gases emitting from the engine being confined attack the metal
and results in wear.
In coastal area, due to action of sea breeze, the corrosion of metal takes place

6. On weak foundation- sinking of rails due to heavy loads gives uneven surface which results
in wear
On bases of portion of wear
1. Wear on top of head of rail
2. Wear at the ends of rails
3. Wear on the sides of head
Wear on top of rails
1. Due to flow of metal- this is because the heavy loads concentrated on small area produce the
stresses which exceed the elastic limit and hence plastic flow of metal takes palce and burrs
are formed, which later get chipped off by moving wheel flanges
2. and its recurring impact causes the wear at the top pf rails
3. Due to abrasion of rolling wheels, the rails generally get worn out at the top of rails
4. Due to constant brakes application, which results in skidding and burning of the rail head.
This finally results in excessive wear and abression
5. Due to use of sand which is spread to produce friction in case of dampness in tunnels. The grinding
action of sand particles with rails gives rise to wear.
6. Due to fluctuations in gradients.
7. Due to corrosion of rails by the action of sea breeze, which also gives rise to wear on top
of rails.
8. Due to weak tracks viz., loose packing of ballast or loose fitting of rails and sleepers increase,
On curves.
The wear on top of rails at curves is die to the following causes
1. Due to slipping or skidding of wheels
2. Due to effect of centrifugal force and improper superelevation, load on one rail is greater than
the other. If superelevation is more or less for a given speed, the load will be more on inner or
outer rail respectively
3. Due to adzing of sleepers: on curves the sleepers have to be laid at a slope for the purpose of
superelevation, but when the rail is laid at a slope of 1 in 20 on sloping sleeper, the resulting
slope or tilts s different from the slope of wheel cone, giving lesser a of contact between the
wheel and the rail, resulting in more wear due to heavy concentration of stresses
Wear at ends of rails

This type of wear is encouraged due to following factors:

Due to loose fish plates and fish bolts
Due to heavy loads and larger joint openings
Difference in rail levels at joints
Small wheels
Bad condition of the vehicle springs
Poor maintenance of the track
Wear on sides of the rail head:
This type of wear is only prominent when the rails are laid at curves. This type of wear is
more than first two types of wear and is most distructive in nature. This wear occurs due to
following causes

1. At curves, there is greater thrust on inner rail, when trains run at lesser speed than
equilibrium speed
2. due to rigidity of the wheel base
3. slipping and skidding of wheels at curves.

13. Draw a neat sketch showing the details of double line B.G. track with electrical

14. Draw a typical Cross section of a permanent way. Discuss in brief the basic
functions of various components of railway track.

Fig : Typical Cross section of a permanent way on embankment

The combination of rails, fitted on sleepers and resting on ballast and subgrade is called the
railway track or permanent way. Sometimes temporary tracks are also laid for conveyance of
earth and materials during construction works.
In a permanent way, the rails are joined in series by fish plates and bolts and then theya are
fixed to sleepers by different types of fastening. The sleepers properly spaced, resting on
ballast, are suitably packed and boxed with ballast. The layer of ballast rests on the prepared
sub grade called the formation.
The component of permanent way include
1. Rails
2. Sleepers
3. Fasteners

4. Ballast
5. Subgrade
The rails act as girders to transmit the wheel load to the sleepers and also it provides level
surface for train movement.
The sleepers hold the rails in proper position with respect to the proper position with respect
to the proper tilt, gauge and level, and transmit the load from rails to the ballast.
In a permanent way, the rails are joined in series by fish plates and bolts and then they are
fixed to sleepers by different types of fastening.
The ballast distributes the load over the formation and holds the sleepers in position.
Subgrade transfers and distributes load to soil layer
On curved tracks, super elevation is maintained by ballast and the formation is levelled.
Minimum ballast cushion is maintained at the inner rail, while the outer rail gets more ballast
cushion. Additional quantity of ballast is provided on the outer edge of the track for which the
base width of the ballast is kept more than for a straight track.
15. Mention the Economic, political and social significance Of Railways
Economic Significance
Indian railways is the backbone of the countrys economy. Its role as a service provider and
the nation builder is all penetrating. It has unfailingly ensured that fruits of development are
distributed far and wide within the country. It facilitates large scale production by increasing
mobility of raw materials, workers, consumption of heavy, bulky and perishable commodities
by cheap and speedy transportation. Railway have contributed to time- distance convergence.
It has introduced competition, and bring stability and uniformity in prices. Since the railway
ownership is within the control of union government, it may be better utilised in accordance
with developmental needs, public, welfare, national security and defence.
Political significance
1. There is a strong link amoung various parts of the country with a good network of
rails. Today, India is held together by the railways, which roll day and night, cutting
across racial and regional barriers. It has forged bonds of unity and brings different
cultures an people together
2. It contributes for national defence through provision of logistic support
3. Development of railways and the colonising activities has gone hand in hand
4. Railways help maintenance of internal security, law and administration
Social significance
Railways have greatly influenced social life and brought revolutionary changes in social
values, beliefs, contacts and way of living. Before development of railways, social life was
local in character. It has promoted social mobility of people. Frequent mixing of people,
break short sighted social values and new social values has emerged based on reason and

scientific thinking. Persons of different caste, creed, colour, language and religion come into
contact which strengthens brotherhood and social mingling
Unit 2
1. Explain with a neat sketch the important features of cast iron sleepers

CST-9 Sleeper has got following features

1. The tie bar is fastened to the plate by means of four standard cotters. Small variation
in gauge can be corrected by these four cotters
2. The shape of cost iron support os such as to give a stable base for the rail, and high
lateral and longitudinal stability to the track
3. The sleeper may be used in sections of track in corrosive conditions such as saline
soil, industrial waste etc
4. The bearing area is approximately equal to the effective bearing area of a wooden
5. This sleeper forms the rigid track subjected to vibrations under moving loads without
any damage or absorption
6. The cantilever ends of the rails are long which lead to battering, and ultimately
hogging of the rail end and deterioration of ballast under the joint which finally need
the replacement of sleeper.
7. This type of sleeper is suitable for speeds upto 110 KMPH
8. If used for tracks above speed of 110 kmph, due to the shallow depth of the bowl,
packing becomes loose under vibrations at high speed
As the sleeper does not have a flat bottom, it is not quite suitable for mechanical maintenance
with tie tamers.
1. The suitability of a CST-9 sleeper on Long Welded Rails (LWRs), particularly on the
breathing lengths, is doubtful because of rigid fastenings and the inability of the
fastenings to hold the rail with a constant toe load.
2. The rail seat wears out quickly causing the keys to come loose.
3. The sleeper has only limited longitudinal and lateral strength to hold LWRs
particularly in the breathing length.

4. Due to the use of less metal under rail seat, the shocks and vibrations are directly
transmitted to the ballast, resulting in poor retention of packing (loose packing) and
hence an increased frequency of attention.
2. With neat sketches explain the various types of spikes and also mention the
requirements of good spike
The requirements of a good spike are
1. First of all, the spike should be strong enough to hold the rail in position and it should
have enough resistance against motion to retain its original position so that it does not
lead to creep
2. The spike should be as deep as possible, for better holding power
3. The spike should be easy in fixing and removal from the sleepers
4. The spike should be cheap in cost
5. It should be capable of maintaining the gauge
Dog spikes
For holding the F.F. Rails to a wooden sleeper, dog spikes are commonly used. These are
simply stout nails to hold rail flanges with timber sleepers. The shape of head of spike
resembles with ear of the dog and hence its nomenclature as dog spike. The section of the
spike is square-shape and bottom part is either pointed,blunt or chisel shaped. They are
cheapest, easy in fixing and removing from sleepers and maintain a better gauge than scre
Screw spikes
These are tapered screws with V threads used to fasten the rails with timber sleepers. The
head is circular with square projection
Screw spike has double the holding power as that of dog spike an can also resist lateral thrust
in a better way as compared to dog spikes. However, the screw spikes are costly and with that
their use, the gauge maintenance become difficult
Round spikes
Round spikes with a head either cylindrical or hemispherical are used for fixing chairs of
B.H. Rails to wooden sleepers for fixing slide chairs of points and crossings. These have a
blunt end and limited use
Standard spikes
These are used for cast iron chairs only to fix them with timber sleepers
Elastic spikes
Actually the main disadvantage with the dog head spikes is that due to wave motion the spike
comes out hence the fastening will get loose. To over come this disadvantage elastic spikes
are introduced which will absorb the wave motion without getting loose
Dog Spikes
It is used to hold flat footed rails to a wooden sleeper.
The shape of the top head resembles that of a dog, hence the name.

The section of the spike is square shaped and the bottom part is either pointed, blunted
or chisel shaped.
They are cheap and easy to install, but they move out of place due to wave motion,
resulting in creep.

These are tapered screws with V threads used to fasten rails with timber sleepers.
The head is circular with a square projection.
Screw spikes have more than double the holding power of dog spikes but they are
costly and maintenance is more difficult.

3. Briefly explain the advantages and disadvantages of any three types of ballast
Type of ballast
Sand ballast



Coal ash or

No noise
produced on the
Good packing
material for CI

Causes excessive

Cheap, if locally
Prevents water
from percolating

Easy availability

Blows off easily
Poor retentively
of packing
Track cannot be
maintained to high


Suitable for CI
pot sleeper
Not suitable
for high-speed

Very soft and turns

into dust
Maintenance of
track the difficult
Quality of track

Used as a subballast

Initial ballast
for new

Harmful for steel

Normally used


on railways

Good drainage

Broken stone

Hard and durable

when procured
from hard rocks
Good drainage
Is stable, and
resilient to the
Economical in
the long run

Corrodes rail
bottom and steel
Soft and easily
Maintenance is

Initial cost is high

Difficulties in
Angular shape may
injure wooden

yards and
Suitable for
of formations
floods and

Not fit for


Suitable for
high speed

4. Draw the dimensional sketch of fish plate. Also state the requirements of Fish

Requirements of fish plates

1. They must support the underside of the rail and top of the foot
2. They should allow a free movement of rails for expansion and contraction for this
purpose, they should not touch web of the rail
3. They must be of such a section as to bear the stresses due to lateral and vertical
bending moments without getting distorted and must absorb the shock caused by the
jumping of wheel over the gap
4. They should hold the end of rail both laterally in line and vertically in level
5. They should be provided against the wear of fish plate due to impact expansion and
6. Strength should be atleast 58 to 67 kg/cm2

7. Minimum Elongation required is 20%

8. Sectional area of fish plate and rail section should be same
9. Strength should approximately be of 55% of rail strength
5. Mention the various requirements of ballast. Mention different types of ballast
used in permanent way
Ballast material should possess the following properties.
1. It should be tough and wear resistant.
2. It should be hard so that it does not get crushed under the moving loads.
3. It should be generally cubical with sharp edges.
4. It should be non-porous and should not absorb waterIt should resist both attrition and
5. It should be durable and should not get pulverized or disintegrated under adverse
weather conditions.
6. It should allow for good drainage of water.
7. It should be cheap and economical.
Different types of ballast used in permanent way are as follows

Sand ballast
Moorum ballast
Coal ash or cinder
Broken stone ballast
Other types of ballast

Mention the requirement of ideal sleeper

Holding the rails in their correct gauge and alignment
Giving a firm and even support to the rails
Transferring the load evenly from the rails to a wider area of the ballast
Acting as an elastic medium between the rails and the ballast to absorb the blows and
vibrations caused by moving loads
5. Providing longitudinal and lateral stability to the permanent way
6. Providing the means to rectify the track geometry during their service life.
7. To support the rails at proper level in straight tracks and at proper super elevation on
8. The initial as well as maintenance cost should be minimum.
9. The weight of the sleeper should be moderate so that it is convenient to handle.
10. The designs of the sleeper and the fastenings should be such that it is possible to fix
and remove the rails easily.
11. The sleeper should have sufficient bearing area so that the ballast under it is not
12. The sleeper should be such that it is possible to maintain and adjust the gauge
13. The material of the sleeper and its design should be such that it does not break or get
damaged during packing.
14. The design of the sleeper should be such that it is possible to have track circuiting.
15. The sleeper should be capable of resisting vibrations and shocks caused by the
passage of fast moving trains.
16. The sleeper should have anti-sabotage and anti-theft features.

17. Fittings of the sleepers should be such that they can be easily adjusted during
maintenance operations such as easy lifting, packing, removal and replacement.

7. Explain the basis for arriving at minimum depth of ballast section

Minimum depth of Ballast section

The load on the sleeper is transferred through the medium of the ballast to the
formation. The pressure distribution in the ballast section depends upon the size
and shape of the ballast and the degree of consolidation. Though the lines of
equal pressure are in the shape of a bulb, yet for simplicity, the dispersion of
load can be assumed to be roughly 45 to the vertical. In order to ensure that the
load is transferred evenly on the formation, the depth of the ballast should be
such that the dispersion lines do not overlap each other. For the even distribution
of load on the formation, the depth of the ballast is determined by the following
Sleeper spacing = width of the sleeper + 2 depth of ballast
If a BG track is laid with wooden sleepers with a sleeper density of N + 6, then
the sleeper spacing would be 68.4 cm. If the width of the sleeper is 25.4 cm,
then the depth of the ballast cushion would be

A minimum cushion of 1520 cm of ballast below the sleeper bed is normally

prescribed on Indian Railways

8. Explain the following 1) sleeper density 2) concrete sleeper

Sleeper Density and Spacing of Sleepers
Sleeper density is the number of sleepers per rail length. It is specified as M + x or N + x,
where M or N is the length of the rail in metres and x is a number that varies according to
factors such as (a) axle load and speed, (b) type and section of rails, (c) type and strength of
the sleepers, (d) type of ballast and ballast cushion, and (e) nature of formation. If the sleeper
density is M + 7 on a broad gauge route and the length of the rail is 13 m, it means that 13 + 7
= 20 sleepers will be used per rail on that route. The number of sleepers in a track can also be
specified by indicating the number of sleepers per kilometre of the track. For example, 1540
sleepers/km. This specification becomes more relevant particularly in cases where rails are
welded and the length of the rail does not have much bearing on the number of sleepers
required. This system of specifying the number of sleepers per kilometre exists in many
foreign countries and is now being adopted by Indian Railways as well. The spacing of
sleepers is fixed depending upon the sleeper density. Spacing is not kept uniform throughout

the rail length. It is closer near the joints because of the weakness of the joints and impact of
moving loads on them. There is, however, a limitation to the close spacing of the sleepers, as
enough space is required for working the beaters that are used to pack the joint sleepers.
Concrete Sleepers
These types of sleepers were promoted because of shortage of good wooden sleepers and
need for better design and economy of sleepers on sustainable basis.
These sleepers are mainly of two types
1. Reinforced cement concrete sleepers
2. Pre-stressed concrete sleepers
Experiments have shown that concrete sleepers are idela material for sleeper for the
following reasons
1. They are made of a strong homogeneous material, impervious to effect of moisture
and is unaffected by the chemical attack of atmospheric gases or sub soil salts
2. It is easily moulded to size and shape required by scientific investigation, to withstand
the stresses produced by fast and heavy traffic
Advantages and disadvantages
Concrete sleepers have the following advantages and disadvantages.
Durable with life range from 40-50 years
They can be produced on large quantities locally by installing a plant
Heavier than all other types thus giving better lateral stability to the track
Good insulators and thus suitable for use in track circuited lines
Efficient in controlling creep - They are not attacked by corrosion
Free from attacks of vermin and decay, suitable for all types of soils
Most suitable for welded tracks- Prevent buckling more efficiently
Initial cost is high but proves to be economical in long run
Effectively and strongly hold the track to gauge
Inflammable and fire resistant
(a) Handling and laying concrete sleepers is difficult due to their large weights.
Mechanical methods, which involve considerable initial expenditure, have to be adopted for
handling them.
(b) Concrete sleepers are heavily damaged at the time of derailment.
(c) Concrete sleepers have no scrap value.
(d) Concrete sleepers are not suitable for beater packing.
(f) Concrete sleepers should preferably be maintained by heavy on track tampers.