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Ballast and Sub Ballast

Railroad Ballast – What’s the Point?

By May 3, 2022May 4th, 2022No Comments

Travelling by train or transporting product across the country along our incredible network of rail lines is a foundation of the American system. You may notice that along with the railway tracks and the crossties (or sleepers), there is another ever-present piece of the railway package: granite rock. This rock is known as ballast.

A Foundation for Rail Sleepers

Historically, a railway line will have wooden or concrete sleepers, especially on low-speed tracks that carry light trains. However, these have become more expensive and are high-maintenance. As a result, recently, wooden sleepers have been replaced by steel and concrete sleepers.

Railroad ballast forms the foundation on which sleepers are laid before the railway tracks are set above them. However, this is only one of the practical uses of railroad ballast.

Ballast and the Integrity of the Ground

Train locomotives are among the heaviest vehicles on the planet. Add speed and passengers or cargo, and the weight is mind-boggling. As such, it’s essential for the ground over which railway tracks pass to be reinforced to withstand all the load and pressure exerted on it by trains.

This is where railroad ballast comes in. Train tracks are affected by elements such as rain, snow, and ice. As the ground gets soggy, its structural integrity can be compromised.

Railroad ballast is a preventative measure against erosion and wear.

As well, ballast keeps things in place. It keeps the invading plant life at bay and mitigates the effects of the constant heavy vibration of the trains. Ballast facilitates water drainage and can even keep the massive amounts of shaking at bay.

Specialty Ballast Rock

Not just any rocks will work for this crucial role. Ballast rock needs to be sharp, or edgy, to keep it from rolling away with the shaking.

At our Southern California rock quarry, we understand the science behind the use of railroad ballast, which is why our granite rock quarry products are made to fit your exact needs. If you need to talk to one of our real rockin’ people about a quote or for more information of our service options, call us today.

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