The ballast serves the following functions in a railway track.
Provides a level and hard bed for the sleepers to rest on.
Holds the sleepers in position during the passage of trains.
Transfers and distributes load from the sleepers to a large area of the formation.
Provides elasticity and resilience to the track for proper riding comfort.
Provides the necessary resistance to the track for longitudinal and lateral stability.
Provides effective drainage to the track.
Provides an effective means of maintaining the level and alignment of the track.