What is Rail Transport?
Railway can carry men and goods over very long distances. It is only the railway transport that can cope with the traffic of heavy machine and materials. Changes in weather do not affect railways. This advantage is not found in other means of transport.
Rail transport is where a train runs along a set of two parallel steel rails, known as a railway or railroad. The rails are anchored perpendicular to ties (or sleepers) of timber, concrete or steel, to maintain a consistent distance apart, or gauge. The rails and perpendicular beams are placed on a foundation made of concrete, or compressed earth and gravel in a bed of ballast. Alternative methods include monorail and maglev.
A train consists of one or more connected vehicles that run on the rails. Propulsion is commonly provided by a locomotive, that hauls a series of unpowered cars, that can carry passengers or freight. The locomotive can be powered by steam, diesel or by electricity supplied by trackside systems. Alternatively, some or all the cars can be powered, known as a multiple unit. Also, a train can be powered by horses, cables, gravity, pneumatics and gas turbines. Railed vehicles move with much less friction than rubber tires on paved roads, making trains more energy efficient, though not as efficient as ships.
Advantages or benifits of Rail Transport
- Dependable The greatest advantage of the railway transport is that it is the most dependable mode of transport as it is the least affected by weather conditions such as rains, fog etc. compared to other modes of transport.
- Better Organized The rail transport is better organized than any other form of transport. It has fixed routes and schedules. Its service is more certain, uniform and regular as compared to other modes of transport.
- High Speed over Long Distances Its speed over long distances is more than any other mode of transport, except airways. Thus, it is the best choice for long distance traffic.
- Suitable for Bulky and Heavy Goods Railway transport is economical, quicker and best suited for carrying heavy and bulky goods over long distances.
- Cheaper Transport It is a cheaper mode of transport as compared to other modes of transport. Most of the working expenses of railways are in the nature of fixed costs. Every increase in the railway traffic is followed by a decrease in the average cost. Rail transport is economical in the use of labour also as one driver and one guard are sufficient to carry much more load than the motor transport.
- Safety Railway is the safest form of transport. The chances of accidents and breakdowns of railways are minimum as compared to other modes of transport. Moreover, the traffic can be protected from the exposure to sun, rains, snow etc.
- Larger Capacity The carrying capacity of the railways is extremely large. Moreover, its capacity is elastic which can easily be increased by adding more wagons.