We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Stock Rail?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A stock rail is a fixed component in a track switch, with other rails moving around and against the stock rail to direct trains along various tracks. The moving parts are known as point blades or switch rails, depending on regional preferences. All of the components at a track switch are carefully selected and maintained to make sure they will be able to withstand the weight of passing trains that may be moving at various rates of speed.

When looking at a section of track where a switch is present, the stock rail is usually easy to identify. It will be the unbroken, straight or curved rail, usually on the outside, although some designs are different. The switch rails have tapered points and are clearly designed to move, allowing them to butt up against the stock rail or to pull away from it, depending on how the switch is set. Switches represent a point of vulnerability on the track, as there is an increased risk of derailing when trains are passing over the switch, and the setup is carefully inspected on a regular basis for signs of problems.

An operator can flip a switch at that point in the track or operate it remotely to control the direction of trains. Some switches are simple, allowing for a choice between going straight or taking a curved track to another location by moving the switch rail against one stock rail or another. Others are more complicated and can include joints for multiple sets of rails, directing trains to a variety of places.

In cold climates, the area under the switch may be heated in the winter to make sure the mechanism remains free of ice and snow. The switch can also be located in a covered or enclosed area. Railroad workers will routinely inspect the stock and switch rails to make sure they are in good working order, enacting repairs as needed. As the fixed rail, the stock rail doesn't move when the switch is activated, and tends to be less prone to breakdown and other problems as a result.

Track switches are usually locked to avoid problems such as passersby maliciously or accidentally activating them and causing a derailment or other problem. Personnel in charge of managing the track monitor the passage of trains and can operate switches to shunt them to different locations, order them to stop for safety reasons, and take other measures to keep conditions safe and functional.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.