Junction (rail)

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A junction, in the context of rail transport, is a place at which two or more rail routes converge or diverge.This implies a physical connection between the tracks of the two routes (assuming they are of the same gauge), provided by'points' (US: switch) and signalling.

In a simple case where two routes withone or two tracks each meet at a junction, a fairly simple layout of tracks suffices to allow trains to transfer from one routeto the other. More complicated junctions are needed to permit trains to travel in either direction after joining the new route,for example by providing a triangular track layout. In this latter case, the three points of the triangle may be given different names, for example using points of the compass as well as the name of the overall place.

Rail transport operations refer to station that lie on or near a railway junction as a junction station. Frequently, trains are built up and taken apart (separated) at such stations so that the same train can split up and go to multiple destinations. For goods trains (US: freight trains), marshalling yards (US: Classification yards) serve a similar purpose.

The world's first railway junction was Newton Junction (now Earlestown station) near Newton-le-Willows, England where, in 1831, two railways merged.

Measures to improve junction capacity

The capacity of the junctions limits the capacity of a railway network more than the capacity of individual railway lines. This applies more as the network density...
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