Important Terms

The following terms are often used in the design of points and crossings.

Turnout It is an arrangement of points and crossings with lead rails by means of which the rolling stock may be diverted from one track to another. Figure 14.1(a) shows the various constituents of a turnout. The details of these constituents are given in Table 14.1.

Direction of a turnout A turnout is designated as a right-hand or a left-hand turnout depending on whether it diverts the traffic to the right or to the left. In Fig. 14.1(a), the turnout is a right-hand turnout because it diverts as the traffic towards the right side. Figure 14.1(b) shows a left-hand turnout. The direction of a point (or turnout) is known as the facing direction if a vehicle approaching the turnout or a point has to first face the thin end of the switch. The direction is trailing direction if the vehicle has to negotiate a switch in the trailing direction

i.e., the vehicle first negotiates the crossing and then finally traverses on the switch from its thick end to its thin end. Therefore, when standing at the toe of a switch, if one looks in the direction of the crossing, it is called the facing direction and the opposite direction is called the trailing direction.

Tongue rail It is a tapered movable rail, made of high-carbon or -manganese steel to withstand wear. At its thicker end, it is attached to a running rail. A tongue rail is also called a switch rail.

Stock rail It is the running rail against which a tongue rail operates.

Fig. 14.1 (b) Left-hand turnout Table 14.1 Parts of a turnout

Name of the main assembly

Various constituents of the assembly

Set of switches (Figs 14.1 and 14.2) Crossing

Lead rails (Fig. 14.1)

A pair of stock rails, a pair of tongue rails, a pair of heel blocks, several slide chairs, two or more stretcher bars, and a gauge tie plate

A nose consisting of a point rail and splice rails, two wind rails, and two check rails

Four sets of lead rails

Points or switch A pair of tongue and stock rails with the necessary connections and fittings forms a switch.

Crossing A crossing is a device introduced at the junction where two rails cross each other to permit the wheel flange of a railway vehicle to pass from one track to another.

Points and Crossings | RAILWAY ENGINEERING | Switches