RAILWAY BALLAST: SUPPLYING THE NEEDS OF THE RAIL NETWORK

This paper summarises the functions of ballast, and describes its deterioration processes, performance requirements, and some of its specifications and current practices. The UK railway industry currently uses about 3Mt of new ballast each year, for track maintenance, renewal, and new projects. Both parts of the track bed, ballast and formation, should be designed appropriately. The ballast depth below the sleeper should be 150-300mm, depending on traffic and line speed. The formation should have an indefinite design life and not require maintenance. Ballast has the functions of drainage, load distribution, adjustability, and allowing fines, generated by ballast breakdown or spillage, to be washed to the bottom of the ballast. For renewal works, ballast is normally placed by traxcavation or automatic ballast cleaner. Ballasted track needs regular maintenance to ensure correct line and level. Where no track is yet in place, there are several techniques for placing ballast; preferably, it should be compacted. Ballast deteriorates faster where it is poorly drained. The current ballast specification for UK main lines is Railtrack's RT/DE/S/006; also relevant is the draft European specification developed by technical committee CEN/TC154. Finally, supply problems and supply by 'virtual quarries' are discussed.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    QMJ PUBLISHING LTD

    7 REGENT STREET
    NOTTINGHAM,   United Kingdom  NG1 5BS
  • Authors:
    • SHARPE, P
  • Publication Date: 1999-2

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 19-23
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00764447
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: May 28 1999 12:00AM