Requirements of an Ideal Rail Joint
The ideal rail joint is one that
provides the same strength and stiffness as the parent rail. The
characteristics of an ideal rail joint are briefly summarized here.
Holding the rail ends An ideal
rail joint should hold both the rail ends in their precise
location in the horizontal as well as the vertical planes to provide as much
continuity in the track as possible. This helps in avoiding wheel jumping or
the deviation of the wheel from its normal path of movement.
Strength An ideal
rail joint should have the same strength and stiffness as the parent
rails it joins.
Expansion gap The joint
should provide an adequate expansion gap for the free expansion
and contraction of rails caused by changes in temperature.
Flexibility An ideal
rail joint should provide flexibility for the easy replacement of
rails, whenever required.
Provision for wear An ideal
rail joint should provide for the wear of the rail ends, which is
likely to occur under normal operating conditions.
Elasticity An ideal
rail joint should provide adequate elasticity as well as resistance to
longitudinal forces so as to ensure a trouble-free track.
initial as well as maintenance costs of an ideal rail joint should be minimal.