Field Scale Trial of Fibre-Reinforced Ballast

Rail infrastructure companies spend a substantial proportion of their operating budget on track maintenance and renewal. This could be reduced by extending the life and/or the maintenance interval of ballasted track and minimizing service disruption. A possible means to achieve this is with a fiber-reinforced ballast. Fiber-reinforced ballast is created by randomly introducing fibers to the granular matrix. If appropriately sized, these fibers may be held between grains and develop tensions that increase the effective confining pressure on the assembly. Previous laboratory research has shown that the addition of specific types, quantities and dimensions of fibers can increase the peak strength and reduce settlements of railway ballast. Based on laboratory test results, a field trial has been carried out at a site on a UK mass transit railway. The site was due for trackbed renewal which offered the opportunity to reinforce the replacement ballast with fibers consisting of polyethylene strips 300 mm × 25 mm × 0.5 mm at a concentration of 670 fibers per ton of a standard ballast gradation. At the trial site, fiber-reinforced ballast was placed along a 48 m length. A further length was renewed with unreinforced ballast as a control. Following the installation, measurements of dynamic track movements as trains pass using a high-speed camera and digital image correlation were carried out on two visits. This paper presents an evaluation of the post-installation monitoring data. Results confirm that the fiber-reinforced ballast performs at least as well as the control section of track.


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  • Accession Number: 01884978
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9783030772291
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 14 2023 5:09PM