Railway ballast material selection and evaluation: A review

The properties of railway ballast material are affected by the local geologies and climatic environments from which the parent rock is sourced. These factors can make it challenging to select the most appropriate material for railway applications. To address this issue, this paper first reviews the means of ballast selection in complex environments across the world. The selection criteria for ballast materials are compared and test methods for ballast quality quantification are summarised. Next, ballast parent rock types and the implications of mining approaches are discussed, before analysing ballast morphology with respect to ballast size and shape. Then ballast petrography is reviewed with a focus on the effect of mineral composition on performance. Finally, some promising future ballast technologies are discussed with a focus on environmental performance. These include recycled ballast, asphaltic materials, steel slag and ballast gluing. The review shows that regarding ballast selection means and criteria, the number and type of quantitative indicators varies greatly between countries. In particular there are divergences in test methods and quantitative indicators for ballast quality considering material types and local geologies. Suggested future research directions are proposed, such as the effect of tamping and dynamic track stabilisation on ballast properties.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01856340
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2022 9:27AM