The material that may look lying near the tracks may look scrap but many a time it could also be new tracks brought in to replace the existing ones.
Most of the time when the new tracks are placed on the sleepers, the old tracks are removed and kept a couple of feet away from the tracks. A new work order may have to be issued to pick the older ones and send them for scrap or recycle plants.
Sometimes, small pieces of rail will appear near the tracks for months and years. Those maybe kept there for ‘certain purpose’. Eg railways maybe having a study as to what locations could there be a rail fracture and where would they most likely need to replace a piece of rail in short span of time. In such cases, they keep some material lying next to the tracks for months.
Many times we see concrete sleepers lying next to the tracks; if they are new then they are there for replacing the existing track sleepers; if they appear to be old, then they have been recently removed but yet to be picked up through a different work order.