The railway industry is involved in the transfer of passengers or items on wheeled vehicles which operate on rails located on tracks. Rail vehicles do not run on flat surfaces like road transport (e.g. cars) but are instead directionally guided by tracks (e.g. trains). These tracks are often made of steel rails.
Rail transport or train transport relies on power provided by locomotives, which either produce their own power (e.g. diesel or steam engines), or draw on electric power from a railway electrification system. A signalling system is also often used on most tracks.
Why is the railway industry important?
Rail transport or train transport enables millions of people and goods to be transported from one destination to another at fast or slow speeds. In Britain alone, the railway industry enhances economic productivity by up to £10.2bn a year.
Rail transport is often considered a safer mode of transport compared to many other land-based transport systems. This mode of transport is, however, less flexible and more capital intensive than road transport.
Common railway components
Some common railway components or rail track parts include:
Steel rails – these are always positioned in two parallel lines, providing a surface for a train to move on
Railway sleeper – also known as railroad tie or cross tie, these are laid perpendicular to the steel rails giving support to the rail
Railway fish plate and fish bolt – also known as rail joint, splice bar or joint bar, these metal bars help connect the end of two rails
Rail fastening system – this includes a group of railway fasteners used to fasten the steel rail to the railway sleeper
Railway switch – this is applied to the railway crossing and acts as an important safety component, allowing for the changing of tracks
Other railway components include conveyor components and profile rail accessories, listed on Machine Compare Marketplace.