Systematic Life-Cycle Analysis and Performance of Enhanced Trackbed Support

Over the past 30 years, the use of hot-mix asphalt (HMA) underlayment in railroad track structures has steadily increased. While the benefits of HMA underlayment has been well documented in special trackworks applications – particularly in areas with poor subgrade and heavy tonnages – little documentation is recorded regarding the benefits of HMA relative to traditional all-granular structures when used on mainline open track. This report compares the relative performance of HMA underlayment versus traditional granular track structures on the Panhandle Subdivision, located along the BNSF Railway’s Transcon line. A total of 23 sections of double main track – one main predominately using HMA underlayment with concrete ties and the other main consisting of a traditional all-granular track structure with wood ties – were analyzed using the Surface Quality Index (SQI), which is a track quality measurement developed by BNSF to determine the extent of geometric defects in track over a period of time.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program. Several papers and presentations addressing the objectives of the project are included as attachments to this report. These include: "Relative Performance of Track Structures on BNSF Panhandle Subdivision," and "BNSF Transcon Corridor – Panhandle Sub-Division Trackbed Performance Comparison Study."
  • Corporate Authors:

    National University Rail Center (NURail)

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 205 N. Mathews Avenue
    Urbana, IL  United States  61801

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Rose, Jerry G
    • Saladin, Luke
    • Souleyrette, Reginald R
  • Publication Date: 2015-9-21


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 350p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01599196
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NURAIL2013-UKY-R04
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC18
  • Created Date: Apr 26 2016 10:30AM