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.