Performance Improvement of Ballasted Railway Tracks for High-Speed Rail Operations

Springer International Publishing
Publication Type:
Challenges and Innovations in Geomechanics, 2021, 126, pp. 841-849
Issue Date:
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The high-speed rail (HSR) is one of the most significant technological advancements in the field of transportation, which is continuously gaining popularity worldwide. A major challenge to the development of HSR in any country is the selection of an appropriate railway track. Although ballastless/slab tracks are especially dedicated for the HSR operations, they have a few shortcomings such as, high initial construction costs, inability to align itself according to the ground movement, generation of higher levels of noise and vibration than the ballasted tracks. An alternative strategy is to strengthen the existing tracks to accommodate high-speed traffic. The present article investigates the adequacy of using geosynthetics and recycled concrete aggregates to improve the performance of the ballasted rail tracks for HSR operations. Two-dimensional finite element analysis is employed to examine the effectiveness of using geogrids, geocells, and recycled concrete aggregates in the ballasted railway tracks. The efficacy is evaluated in terms of the track settlement. The results indicate that the use of recycled aggregates and geosynthetics significantly reduce the track settlement and may permit a higher train speed for same allowable settlement. The maximum reduction in track settlement is observed with geocell reinforced capping followed by the capping layer composed of recycled aggregates and the geogrid reinforced capping. Thus, the present study shows that the geosynthetics and recycled concrete aggregates may offer cost-effective alternatives to improve the performance of ballasted railway tracks for high-speed rail operations.
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