Track ballast forms the track bed upon which railway sleepers orrailroad ties are laid. It is packed between, below, and around the ties. Itis used to facilitate drainage of water, to distribute the load from therailroad ties, and also to keep down vegetation that might interfere withthe track structure. This also serves to hold the track in place as thetrains roll by. It is typically made of crushed stone, although ballast hassometimes consisted of other, less suitable materials.