Impact of Increasing Freight Loads on Rail Substructure from Fracking Sand Transportation

In this report the effect of surface infiltration of frac sand and heavy axle loads (HALs) were studied for their impact on the ballast layer. Different combinations of ballast and fracking sand were constructed to observe long term trends of deformational behavior. The results of HAL tests show that for all ballast an increased rate of strain accumulation averaging 0.07%/MGT for every 30 kip car load increase occurs. The results of the surface spillage tests show an average increased rate of strain accumulation averaging 0.05%/MGT, 0.13%/MGT, and 0.31%/MGT for AREMA ballast #24, #4A, and #5 respectively, for a 7% increase in gravimetric water content. Modeling conducted by the WiscRail ® program show an increased maintenance interval of 50-100%. The increased shipment of frac sand for hydrocarbon recovery will affect the rail lines on which it is shipped. Increased monitoring and maintenance will need to be conducted for the lines to operate in an efficient manner.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE)

    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    1415 Engineering Drive, 2205 Engineering Hall
    Madison, WI  United States  53706

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Hesse, Damien
    • Tinjum, James M
  • Publication Date: 2014-3


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 152p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01531057
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: CFIRE 07-10
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT06-G-0020
  • Created Date: Jul 24 2014 3:18PM