Performance assessment of reinforced ballasted rail track

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Journal Article
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Ground Improvement, 2014, 167 (1), pp. 24 - 34
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In coastal Australia, high population density and increased traffic volumes have promoted rapid expansion of urban transportation infrastructure including railways. Coastal soft clays pose significant construction challenges. Therefore, the search for innovative ground improvement techniques imperative for more resilient and sustainable transport infrastructure has become an obvious priority in research and development. Use of artificial inclusions such as polymeric geosynthetics and energy-absorbing shock mats is described in this paper as a suitable alternative for reducing unacceptable track degradation and for ensuring sustainable track alignment. An extensive monitoring programme was undertaken on fully instrumented track sections constructed near Singleton, New South Wales, Australia. Four types of geosynthetics were installed at the ballast-capping interface of track sections located on different types of subgrades. It was found that geogrids could decrease the vertical settlement of the ballast layer with the obvious benefits of improved track stability and decreased cost of maintenance. It was also found that the effectiveness of reinforcing geogrids is greater when the subgrade is soft.
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