Bearing Plates in Railway
Bearing plates are cast iron, wrought iron or mild steel plate which are placed in between the F.F rail to distribute the load on a large area of wooden sleepers.
If the flat footed rails are directly fixed on wooden sleepers, sinking in the sleeper take place due to heavy loads of trains and thus loosen the spikes. To overcome this difficulty, bearing plates are provided under F.F rails and bring the intensity of the pressure within limit.
The bearing plates are widely used in countries such as the United States, where heavy vehicles are travel on treated softwood sleepers at high speeds.
The bearing plates may be either flat or canted. The flat bearing plates are used in turnout track and such other place where rails are to be laid flat. In all other cases, the canted bearing plates are adopted.
The using of the bearing plates in the railway has the following advantages
1. They distribute the loads to a large area.
2. The overall stability of the track is increased by using bearing plates.
3. When bearing plates are used, the wear of spikes due to vertical vibrations of rails against them is greatly reduced.
4. It helps to prevent the destruction of the sleeper due to rubbing action of the rails.
5. It helps to maintain the gauge in a better way and effectively.
6. They increase the life span of sleepers.