On railways cant helps a train steer around a curve, keeping the wheel flanges from touching the rails, minimizing friction and wear.
The amount of cant must be chosen for a given speed, and if trains traverse the turn at different speeds, the cant ceases to serve its purpose, and can lead to damage. As a result, a compromise value of cant must be chosen during design.
The maximum value of cant (the height of the outer rail above the inner rail) for a standard gauge railway is about 6 inches (150 mm).
At the ends of a curve, the amount of cant cannot change from zero to its maximum immediately. The cant must change (ramp) gradually in a track transition curve. The length of the transition depends on the maximum allowable speed – the higher the speed, the greater length is required.
The main functions of cant are
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