Functions of Ballast

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The ballast is a layer of broken stones, gravel, moorum, or any other granular
material placed and packed below and around sleepers for distributing load from
the sleepers to the formation. It provides drainage as well as longitudinal and lateral
stability to the track.

The ballast serves the following functions in a railway track.

Provides a level and hard bed for the sleepers to rest on.

Holds the sleepers in position during the passage of trains.

Transfers and distributes load from the sleepers to a large area of the
formation.

Provides elasticity and resilience to the track for proper riding comfort.

Provides the necessary resistance to the track for longitudinal and lateral
stability.

Provides effective drainage to the track.

Provides an effective means of maintaining the level and alignment of the
track.

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