A turnout is provided on a railway track to provide facilities for turning of vehicles from one track to another.
It consists of a pair of points (switches), four lead rails, two check rails and a crossing as shown in figure.
Turnout enables either a branch line or siding to take off from another track.
These are defined based on the direction of movement from the main track.
(i) Right hand turnout⇒ Facilities are provided for turning on the right (ii) Left hand turnout → Facilities are provided for turning on the left
Turnouts are required for yards, sidings or similar sort of conditions.
Turnouts are the weakest points on the track due to joints and movable fastenings.
They retard the movement of the trains.