Rail Transport-Different types of rails

Rail Transport-Different types of rails

Rail Transport (Railways)

  • A means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks
  • Rail vehicles are directionally guided by the tracks they run on
  • Track usually consists of steel rails installed on sleepers/ties and ballast, on which the rolling stock, usually fitted with metal wheels, moves


  • 114,500 kilometers of total track and 7,500 stations
  • World’s fourth largest railway network
  • Carry over 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily
  • World’s second largest commercial or utility employer

Different types of railways

Surface railway

are mainly on the surface rather than beneath it (as in a subway) or above it on a         superstructure (as in an elevated railway)

Elevated railways

  • Railway with the tracks built above street level
  • The earliest elevated railway was the London and Greenwich Railway on a brick viaduct of 878 arches, built between 1836 and 1838.
  • The first electric elevated railway was the Liverpool Overhead Railway, which operated through Liverpool docks from 1893 until 1956.
  • In London the Docklands Light Railway is a modern elevated railway, opened in 1987 and since expanded. The trains were driverless and automatic.
  • Another modern elevated railway is Tokyo’s driverless Yurikamome line, opened in 1995.
  • Tube railways

    • Railway which the trains travel underground tunnels
    • The London Underground(also known as the Tubeor simply the Underground) is a public rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.
    • The network is considered the oldest rapid transit system, incorporating the world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863 and the first line to operate underground electric traction trains, the City & South London Railway in 1890.
    • The system serves 270 stations and has 250 miles (400 km) of route. Within London, the Underground mostly serves parts other than the South. Despite its name, only 45% of the system is actually ‘underground’ in tunnels.
    • The system’s first tunnels were built just below the surface using the cut and cover method, and are large enough to take trains of normal size
    • Later, smaller circular tunnels – which give rise to its nickname the Tube – were dug through at a deeper level. The early lines were marketed as the UndergrounDin the early 20th century on maps and signs at central London stations
    • Light rail transit

      • Light railor light rail transit(LRT) is urban public transport using rolling stock and operating at a higher capacity, and often on an exclusive right-of-way
      • Operates primarily along exclusive rights-of-way and uses either individual tramcars or multiple units coupled to form a train.
      • A few light rail networks tend to have characteristics closer to rapid transit or even commuter rail
      • Some of these heavier rapid transit-like systems are referred to as light metros. Other light rail networks are tram-like in nature and partially operate on streets
      • Popular in recent years due to their lower capital costs and increased reliability compared to heavy rail systems.

      High speed tracks

      • Operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic
      –Japanese bullet trains
      –French TGVs (Train à Grande Vitesse)

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