Rail siding

Rail siding

A siding, in rail terminology, is a track section distinct from a through route such as a main line or branch line or spur. It may connect to through track or to other sidings at either end. The distinction between sidings and other types of track is that a "siding" generally denotes an auxiliary or not exactly specified usage. Sidings often have lighter rails, meant for lower speed or less heavy traffic.

Common sidings store stationary rolling stock, especially for loading and unloading. Industrial sidings go to factories, mines (mining), quarries, wharves, warehouses, etc. Such sidings can sometimes be found at stations for public use; in American usage these are referred to as team tracks (after the use of teams of horses to pull wagons to and from them).

Sidings hold maintenance of way equipment or other equipment, allowing trains to pass, or store helper engines between runs.

A particular form of siding is the passing siding (called a crossing loop in British usage). This is a section of track parallel to a through line and connected to it at both ends by switches. Passing sidings allow trains travelling in opposite directions to pass, and for fast, high priority trains to pass slower or lower priority trains going the same direction. They are important for efficiency on single track lines, and add to the capacity of other lines.

Some sidings have very occasional use, having been built, for example, to service an industry which has closed. It's not uncommon for an infrequently used siding to fall into disrepair on its way to being torn up or covered over.

ee also

* Marshalling yard

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