Evaluation of Factors Contributing to Deterioration of Track-slab in Cold Areas

Slab track is a low-maintenance type of rail track, with an average design life of 50 years. However, deteriorated track-slabs have been found in areas that experience frequent cold weather. This paper reports on a study to investigate the causes of this deterioration. Visual inspections of track-slabs and investigation of samples of materials used in track-slabs were conducted. The visual inspections found that deterioration occurred more frequently on south-facing sides of track-slabs that were exposed longest to sunlight. This suggests that the deterioration was caused by the more frequent freeze-thaw cycle of these sides. Material investigations showed that compressive strength of concrete in the deteriorated track-slab was lower than in undamaged track-slabs, although the compressive strength still satisfied the design strength. Deterioration of track slabs occurred where air content was 6% or less and the air void interval was 0.220 mm or more. The findings from this study indicate that alkali-silica reaction and frost damage caused the track-slab deterioration. Since track-slabs produced today are protected against alkali-silica reaction, and frost damage probably would not have occurred without microcracking produced by the alkali-silica reaction, it is unlikely that this type of deterioration will be seen in future installations of track-slabs.


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  • Accession Number: 01357846
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 1 2011 10:42PM