New technology for railway tracks

Railways constitute the largest and the most expensive project governments undertake. Large countries such as Canada and the USA spent millions of dollars annually on the construction and maintenance of these tracks. The deterioration of their tracks represents a major and outstanding problem for railways and transportation at large around the world. Tracks are usually made of ribs placed at equal distance below the railings. This design persists in spite of the overwhelming evidence that traffic flow is concentrated along well-defined pathways. Accordingly, almost two-thirds of the width of the track is not effectively utilized. A possible solution to overcome this problem is to implement the concept of shell foundations under the railings. This design will economize on the construction costs, and further, significantly reduces the maintenance costs of the tracks. Shell foundations have been used as an alternative to the conventional flat shallow foundations, as they provide higher bearing capacity, experience lesser settlements, and provide higher resistance to lateral forces. This paper presents a new technology by employing shell foundation below tracks as an alternative to the flat ribs. Cross sections for rib construction made of shells, which can be employed effectively, less expensive, and relatively maintenance free, will be presented. The results of this investigation will lead to an economical design of rigid railway tracks that utilize materials more effectively with superior performance. For the covering abstract see ITRD E125214.


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  • Accession Number: 01011745
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 0-947644-43-1
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 19 2005 3:29PM