The ballast takes an important role in railway track construction. Ballast holds sleepers and loads coming from sleepers are transferred thoroughly into the sub-grade.
The spreading of the railway ballast on a new railway track starts after the final settlement of the subgrade layer. To fulfill this purpose, ballast trains are used to carry ballast and unload it at a suitable interval near the track.
Ballast train is nothing but ordinary wagons used for carrying ballast and unloading into heaps.
After that, the worker spread the ballast over the track by using some hand tools like – shovels, spreaders, etc. The ballast should be spread properly under the sleeper, and around the sleepers until a hard foundation is obtained.
Sometimes, this spreading operation is carried out by ballast train instead of workers. For this objective, an engine with a breakvan is attached to a number of ballast-filled wagons. This setup is arranged in such a way that the wagons can discharge the ballast directly onto the track through the opening in their floors.
In the front of the breakvan, a plow is fixed to spread the ballast throughout the track. As the engine slowly moves the ballast-filled wagons, the plow spreads the ballast which is discharged through the wagons. After that, the packing of the ballast is carried out by the workers.