Rail transport is the conveyance of passengers and goods by means of wheeled vehicles running along railways (railroads). Rail transport is part of the logistics chain, which facilitates international trade and economic growth.
Typical railway tracks consist of two parallel rails, normally made of steel, secured to crossbeams, termed sleepers (U.K. and Australia) or crossties or ties (U.S. and Canada). The sleepers maintain a constant distance between the two rails, a measurement known as the "gauge" of the track. To maintain the alignment of the track it is either laid on a bed of ballast or secured to a solid concrete foundation. The whole is referred to as permanent way (U.K. and Australia) or right-of-way (North America).