Integration of design and technology: a prestressed concrete timber replacement sleeper

Timber sleepers have been traditionally used in Australia’s rail industry due to their dependability, affordability and availability. Recently, rising timber sleeper costs and declining quality, as well as society’s increasing environmental sensitivity has challenged the continuing use of timber sleepers. Traditionally prestressed concrete sleepers, designed following AS 1085.14:2003, are not suitable for replacing timber sleepers in existing track due to their increased cross section and stiffer modulus. As a result Austrak Pty Ltd has developed the Prestressed Concrete Timber Replacement Sleeper (TRS) following the patented Austrak Rational Design Method. This methodology takes into account the actual dynamic loads on sleepers for specific rail track structure, the predicted traffic characteristics and the expected performance of the sleeper. The TRS has a 50-year design life and can be used as either full line or interspersed replacement. The TRS increases track stability and eliminates loss of track gauge over time when compared to timber sleepers. The TRS has a profile comparable to a timber sleeper reducing the need to change ballast depth or sub-base while keeping the same rail height. The TRS add mass to the track structure, can be placed alongside existing steel or timber sleepers, in a random or patterned configuration, improving stability and can be tamped in the same manner as timber sleepers. Austrak’s TRS have performed satisfactorily under traffic in significant numbers since 2005 in Queensland and Victoria, Australia with over 500,000 sleepers installed. This paper highlights the need for a prestressed concrete timber replacement sleeper, describes the Austrak Rational Design Method, discusses the development of the TRS and illustrates the application of the TRS in a number of rail infrastructure networks.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 13p.
  • Monograph Title: AusRAIL PLUS 2009, doing more with less, 17-19 November 2009, Adelaide, South Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01516992
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 4 2014 8:02PM