The Permanent way reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Permanent way

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A permanent way refers to the track and sleepers of a railway line. This name originally came about because during the construction of railway lines, other tracks (ways) were used for removing soil from cuttings, etc, the permanant way was the track that remained after these were removed. The name is not really accurate, because frequent maintainance is required to give a smooth ride for trains, or indeed to keep the permanent way suitable for any traffic at all.

See Rail tracks.

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