The Best Review on Indian Railroad Structure in 2020


Railway transportation is guided by fixed track in the railroad structure. The train driver has no option to take any diversion. The driver must have to go with that particular route which is already set for a movement of the train. After completion of movement, the route is released and it may be set in different route in next time.

So, hence railroad structure comes into an important role in railway transportation. This is the most vital physical structure need to run the trains.

Indian railroad structure components like track, point, crossing etc depend on Railway Signalling System. This all components come across basic part of railway signalling.

Related article: Basic Railway Signalling

The Stationmaster have that authority to set a route. The driver only needs to follow that route with max permissible speed. The driver has only option to control the train by speed.

Mainly the Indian railroad structure are made of Rails, fastener, railroads tiles and ballast, with the underlying subgrade. Sleeper is made of concrete and used to support and fixed the steel rails. The main role of the sleeper is to transfer the load from rails to the ballast and the ground and to hold the rails in the correct position with proper width. A special ankle is used to hold the rails with sleeper. Hence, Railway transportation must need a particular track not as road traffic as it carries heavy loads and attains high speed.

Related article: The Groundwork of Railroad Structure

Track Structure

Trains run on the dedicated line. A line consists of two rails running parallel to each other.

This is also called Track. A circuit is connected with this track called “Track Circuit“. This circuit detects the presence of the train on that particular Track.

The width of the track is 1676mm in Broad gauge (B.G.), 1000mm for meter gauge and 762mm & 610mm two narrow gauge used in Indian Railroad structure but Broad gauge is mostly used.

Railroad structure
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Railroad structure

The track is represented in railroad structure plans by a single line as shown below.

Railroad structure - Track
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Main and loop line

In station yards, there will be more than one track for receiving and dispatching trains.

Railroad structure - Main and loop line
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Main and loop line

Points are provided to divert the running trains from one track to another. The points have movable switches which can be operated electrically by a Point Machine.


A point can be single-ended point or double-ended point depending on whether the movable switches are provided at one end or two ends of the point.

To take a diversion from one track to another track the point is used in railroad structure.

Railroad structure - Single and Double ended point
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Single and Double ended point


The two switch rails of the point are rigidly connected by a crossbar so that they can be moved from one position to the other position together by the point machine. If the position of the switches is such that the train is moved on to the mainline as shown above, then the point is said to be in its normal (N) position.

Railroad structure - Stock Rail
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Stock Rail

If the switch rails are moved to the other position as shown below so that the train is diverted to the loop line, then the point is said to be in its REVERSE (R) position.

Crossing (Nose of Crossing)

Railroad structure - Nose of Crossing
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Nose of Crossing

You may see that in both the above cases, when one switch rail is closed with its stock rail, the other switch is open. In either case, the opening shall be 41/2”. Between the closed switch and its stock rail not more than 1/8” gap, is permitted.

Fouling Mark (FM) in Railway

We can Fouling Mark is present near the point in a white colour concrete slab and F M are written in black colour. It is placed near to the facing point in Indian railroad structure. This structure is used to protect the point when the driver is taking diversion with his train.

Fouling Mark Practical view at Secunderabad Jn.
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Fouling Mark at Secunderabad Jn.

The centre to centre distance between the adjacent tracks (between mainline to the adjacent loop line or between one loop line and another adjacent loop line) shall not be less than 14‟0”. Where cross-over pints are provided between adjacent tracks, this distance gets reduced.

  At the place where it is less than 14‟, one track may foul the other track. At this point, a ‟fouling Bar‟ (a cement lab of about 5‟ length with inscription “FOULING MARK”) is provided.

Railroad structure - Fouling Mark
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Fouling Mark

When a train drawn on a track, it should stand clear of the FOULING MARK (F.M.) as otherwise, the train may foul the movement of the train on the adjacent track, thereby causing a side-collision.


Trains move on steel rail tracks in the Indian railroad structure and wheels of the railway vehicle are also flanged Steel wheels. Hence, least friction occurs at the point of contact between the track & wheels.

Therefore, trains carry more loads resulting in higher traffic capacity since trains move on specific tracks called rails, their path is to be fully guided and there is no arrangement of steering. 

Trains move on high speed through the tracks. So a proper maintenance of railroad structure should have done periodically. It helps to get identify the cracks rails and smashed ballast or unlocked ankle.

Thus, the number of the derailment of the train is minimized and hence safety will ensure.

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