Rail transport is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, which are located on tracks. In contrast to road transport, where the vehicles run on a prepared flat surface, rail vehicles are directionally guided by the tracks on which they run. Tracks usually consist of steel rails, installed on sleepers set in ballast, on which the rolling stock, usually fitted with metal wheels, moves. Other variations are also possible, such as "slab track", in which the rails are fastened to a concrete foundation resting on a prepared subsurface.
Rolling stock in a rail transport system generally encounters lower frictional resistance than rubber-tired road vehicles, so passenger and freight cars can be coupled into longer trains. The operation is carried out by a railway company, providing transport between train stations or freight customer facilities. Power is provided by locomotives which either draw electric power from a railway electrification system or produce their own power, usually by diesel engines or, historically, steam engines. Most tracks are accompanied by a signalling system.