Even though most people travel the world by car or airplane these days, the railroad industry is very much alive and well, and one of the most effective ways to ship large amounts of freight and raw materials across the country. Hundreds of fully loaded freight trains criss-cross the United States each day, and they play an important role in making our world a little bit smaller.

Professionals in the railroad industry understand the importance of finding a supplier that can ship them all the rock and construction aggregate materials that they need, and ship those materials on their schedule. That is why Arkansas Aggregates has become the most trusted supplier of ballast in the Southeast. Each year, we mine and ship over two million tons of rock products from our Little Rock quarry, and no order is too big or too small. Here are a few of the reasons why ballast is such an essential component in railroad shipping:

Track Stabilization-A fully loaded freight train can often pull more than 100 cars, and weigh thousands of tons. In the earliest days of the railroad, engineers learned that rigidly mounting track to the ground didn’t work, and developed the existing system of mounting track to railroad ties sunken into ballast stones. This gives the track enough give to accommodate the weight, allowing the trains to pass safely with no damage to the track.

Drainage-Many railroad tracks run adjacent to rivers and other bodies of water for hundreds of miles, and this is no coincidence, because a lot of freight headed to the same destination is shipped by barge. Unfortunately, if the water levels rise enough to cover the tracks, they can render them inoperable. A good base of ballast stone is a great way to keep the tracks safe during floods.

Vegetation Control-Heavy weeds and other vegetation can dislocate tracks over time, and also presents a fire hazard. Unfortunately, there is simply way too much track for the railroad companies to perform maintenance every day, and ballast is a good way to prevent heavy vegetation, shrubs, and other unwanted woody plants from sprouting up.

If you have any questions, or would like to place an order, contact us online, or at 501-545-6977.