How does the gravel under train tracks stay level so the train doesn’t make it slide?

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How does the gravel under train tracks stay level so the train doesn’t make it slide?

In: Engineering

More than anything, the tracks themselves are made using strict guidelines. This helps to keep the weight distributed well across all the wood at the bottom and in turn the gravel/dirt underneath it. The gravel also does a very good job of holding the dirt underneath in its place keeping it from moving around.

It’s not just a massive pile of gravel, its built up layers of various sizes of aggregates and sand layers, with the very heavy and large sized “ballast” that the ties sit in on the top. This makes it very solid as a foundation but can be susceptible to washing out over long periods of time without proper maintenance in the form of tamping which vibrates the ballast layer to compact the rocks down. Usually more ballast is dropped beforehand.

Also, those ties and rails are *very* heavy and take a lot of force to move once set in place. Outside of acts of nature and major accidents they generally aren’t going to go anywhere.