The weight of each leaf including ballast is about 1070 tons.
The weight of ballast in the short arms of the bascules is 365 tons.
The ballast consists of such materials as broken stone, furnace slag, gravel, cinders or earth, the lower layers commonly consisting of coarser materials than the top ones, and its purpose is to provide a firm, well-drained foundation in which the sleepers or crossties may be embedded and held in place, and by which the weight of the track and the trains may be distributed over the road-bed.
The intervals between the sleepers are filled in level with ballast, 12'2' FIG.
The weight required to cause the downward motion is obtained either by means of the material which has to be transported to the bottom of the hill or by water ballast, while to aid and regulate the motion generally steam or electric motors are arranged to act on the main drums, round which the cable is passed with a sufficient number of turns to prevent slipping.