Pseudo-Anosov homeomorphisms are classified by their invariant train tracks. The decomposition of any train track map in elementary folding maps gives a normal form for each train track class. In the case of 4-braids there are three train tracks classes and we give an explicit automaton that generates a normal form for each class. This enables us, for instance, to exhibit the pseudo-Anosov 4-braid with the minimal growth rate. We also show that the growth rate of a pseudo-Anosov braid appears as a root of the Alexander polynomial of a link that shares a common sub-link with the closure of the braid. We finally give a criterion for the faithfulness of the Burau representation for 4-braids.