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Kinds of Railway Sleepers and Their Fixing Methods

SINCHOLD Port Engineering Co.,Ltd | Updated: May 03, 2017

What is Railway Sleeper?

Railway sleeper is one of the indispensable rail accessories that used to hold the rail and keep certain rail gauge. Lay perpendicular to the rail track, railroad sleeper has to transmit the great pressure from the steel rail to subgrade. With good flexibility and elasticity, it can deform properly to buffer pressure when trains passing by and recover later.

steel-railway-sleepers.jpg

Kinds of Railway Sleepers

Rail sleepers are used to be wooden which is in light weight, enough displacement resistance, easy processing and replacing. With the decrease of forest resources, awareness of environmental protection and development of science technology, steel rail sleepers and reinforced concrete sleepers are produced and applied to rail construction. While because of high consumption, steel sleepers are not widely used. Compared with wooden sleepers, reinforced concrete sleepers have longer working life, high stability, less maintenance and low scrap rate.

wood-rail-sleeper-and-reinforced-concrete-sleeper.jpg

For different applications, the lengths of the railroad sleepers are also different. The amount of sleepers that set per kilometer of the rail line is decided by the railway volume and running speed. Therefore, the more rail sleeper, the higher strength of the rail tracks.

Functions of Rail Sleepers

1. Support the loading, lateral force and longitudinal horizontal force of the rail, and transmit them evenly to subgrade.
2. To joint and fix two rails, keep the rail with certain rail gauge.
3. Fix railroad direction, avoid longitudinal and lateral displacement.

fixing-railway-sleepers.jpg

For different applications, the lengths of the railroad sleepers are also different. The amount of sleepers that set per kilometer of the rail line is decided by the railway volume and running speed. Therefore, the more rail sleeper, the higher strength of the rail tracks.

How to Fix Railway Sleepers?

1. Ballasted Rail Track

For ballasted track, the railroad sleeper is fixed by ballast. Ballast lies on subgrade and under rail sleeper to fix and protect the sleeper. Before paving the rail sleeper, it should first lay the ballast belt onto the subgrade evenly and flatly. During paving, the midline of sleeper must be perpendicular to the railroad midline, and the end that close to the sidewalk should place neatly. Then lay steel rails upright onto the rail sleepers. Fill ballast to the space between sleepers, and use a jack to lift and correct the rail track to the standard according to base point.

design-of-ballasted-rail-track.jpg

Railway sleepers are buried in the subgrade. To fix them, first using railway sleepers’ fixings to harden up the ballast on the two sides, then evenly tamp the ballast under the sleepers and cover the space with ballast. It helps to improve the ballast density and track stability.

2. Ballast-less Rail Track

For ballast-less tracks, the railroad sleepers are fixed by concrete. Different from ballast rails, ballast-less rail track uses the integral base that made of concrete and asphalt instead of ballast. Its railroad sleeper is concreted directly on the concrete subgrade. With the latest technology, ballast-less rail is stable, durable and need less maintenance.

fixing-ballast-less-rail-sleepers.jpg

For ballast-less rails, it needs first measure and install shores to make sure rail sleepers lying accurately. Using professional machines do track panel and reinforcement. Then fix the rail sleepers to the solid concrete bed perpetually.

Functions of Ballast

1. Hold pressure from the rail sleeper and pass evenly to subgrade.
2. Fix sleepers and keep the track in correct line and slope.
3. Exhaust rainwater around the sleepers.
4. Improve elastic force of the rail.
5. Avoid weeding.

In addition, to fix and fasten the upside of rail sleeper to the steel rail, it uses bolt or rail spike together with different fasteners according to different rail standard.