The track system is the most critical part of the railway infrastructure that ensures a safe and smooth train ride for train passengers. A high-quality track and associated infrastructure are essential to ensure train safety and punctuality.

Railway tracks need to be engineered carefully and checked for design defects, misalignments, faulty formations and sub-soil fluctuations during their design and construction.

Leading railway track engineering and construction contractors

Railway Technology has listed leading suppliers and providers of railway concrete sleepers, railway fishplates, railway surveying solutions, level crossing systems, welding equipment and welding services, drainage solutions, as well as retaining structures and reinforced earth systems.

The list also includes railway track design and maintenance contractors, track engineering service providers, railway slab track construction and other railway infrastructure construction contractors.

The information contained in the download document is designed for railway project managers, railway track alignment design engineers, senior track work engineers, railway civil engineers, permanent way engineers and inspectors, chief track experts and track maintenance engineers.

The document contains detailed information on the suppliers and their product lines, alongside contact details to aid your purchasing decision.

Related Buyer’s Guides which cover an extensive range of railway manufacturers, suppliers and solutions, can also be found here.

Railway track engineering and design

The two rails of a track cannot be laid directly on the ground and require certain key components to support the heavy loads of the trains that are moving at a speed. The two rails also need to be laid at a prescribed distance to enable the wheels of the train to move safely over them. The main components and design elements of a railway track include:

  • Steel rails that provide a surface for movement of the train
  • Railway sleepers that support the rails and absorb vibrations
  • Railway fish plates and fish bolts used to connect the ends of two steel rails
  • Rail fastening systems used to fasten the steel rails to the railway sleepers
  • Ballast (broken stone) packed below the sleepers
  • Subgrade and embankment are the formation below the ballast
  • Railway switch used for converting track

Railway tracks can also be ballast-less, known as slab track systems that offer more stability and enable faster railway construction. Slab track is mostly used for high-speed railway, heavy rail, and light rail systems.

Railway slab track construction, pros and cons

A slab track consists of precast reinforced concrete (RC) slab, which transfers the load to the subgrade. The steel rails are fastened to the concrete slab or to another slab system on the concrete slab. Slab track systems require less maintenance, offer high performance and durability, reduce noise and vibration and provide increased comfort for passengers.

Slab tracks, however, have a few disadvantages in terms of the high initial investment costs. The track also lacks the possibility for improvement and cannot be laid in areas that are prone to earthquakes or have soft dirt roads.