Design and Installation of a Geotechnical Monitoring System for Monitoring Freeze-Thaw Cycles on a Railway Track

Climate change might increase the frequency of events such as heat waves, freeze-thaw cycles (FTC), and flooding, and more specifically in permafrost rich regions. These climate hazards are expected to have an impact on railway track performance. There is little publicly available data on their quantitative impacts on railway operations. Such quantitative data is essential for determining when, where, and to what extent climate adaptation measures are needed. Freeze and thaw cycle results in frost heave and thaw softening in track foundation (substructure). Both frost heave and thaw softening may lead to unsafe operating conditions especially for rail transit and passenger rail systems as their high operating speed makes them much less tolerant to deviations in track geometry parameters. In order to investigate the effects of a freeze-thaw cycles on an active railway, a structural and geotechnical monitoring system was designed and installed on a section of VIA’s track in Ontario. The instruments measure various track parameters such as pore water pressure, heave, and deformation at different depth within track foundation, track temperature, strain in the rail, and track surface deformation during freeze-thaw cycles. The data logging system relays static data and high speed data that are triggered by train passages. The authors show that the selection of instruments and design of the data logging system provide relevant geotechnical data in a manner that could be applied to northern regions and introduce recommendations for future installations. Moreover, the authors discuss the installation methods appropriate for cold climates because some instruments are temperature-sensitive. Since such systems typically need to be self-sufficient special considerations have to be taken to account for the relatively high power requirements of dynamic monitoring. The suggested system is shown to be useful for track monitoring projects in permafrost-rich regions where freeze-thaw cycles are a concern.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Pagination: pp 153-160
  • Monograph Title: Cold Regions Engineering 2019

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01728519
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784482599
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2019 3:02PM