Advancement of Rail Ballast Testing Methodologies and Design Implications

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Geotechnical Special Publication, 2020, 2020-February, (GSP 316), pp. 355-363
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers. Given the limited capacity of available railway tracks in Australia, to sustain increasingly faster and heavier trains, the development of innovative and sustainable ballasted tracks is essential for Australian transport infrastructure. Upon repeated train loading, ballast aggregates become degraded and fouled owing to the intrusion of external fines either from the subbase or surface, which decreases track drainage potentially leading to track instability. This paper reviews some advancements in testing methodologies and design implications of ballasted tracks stabilized with artificial inclusions, including geocomposites, energy absorbing rubber mats, and end-of-life tires. Measured test data shows that the use of these waste rubber products and geosynthetics provides an appropriate solution for mitigating unacceptable track degradation and for improving sustainable track alignment, apart from reducing the thickness of the ballast layer. Field monitoring data from fully instrumented tracks constructed at Singleton, Australia, is presented and discussed. The outcomes of this study contribute to a better understanding of the performance of reinforced ballasted tracks, which will be imperative for the development of more efficient and cost-effective track designs with enhanced safety and passenger comfort.
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