Points and Crossings

Introduction

Points and crossings are provided to help transfer railway vehicles from one track to another. The tracks may be parallel to, diverging from, or converging with each other. Points and crossings are necessary because the wheels of railway vehicles are provided with inside flanges and, therefore, they require this special arrangement in order to navigate their way on the rails. The points or switches aid in diverting the vehicles and the crossings provide gaps in the rails so as to help the flanged wheels to roll over them. A complete set of points and crossings, along with lead rails, is called a turnout.

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