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Environmental And Track Factors That Contribute To Abrasion Damage

K. Riding, R. Peterman, Spencer D. Guthrie, M. E. Brueseke, H. Mosavi, Koby Daily, Wyatt Risovi-Hendrickson
Published 2018 · Geology

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Sites with known occurrences of mud pumping or other track concerns were investigated to determine the prevalence of concrete bottom tie abrasion and environmental and track conditions that could contribute to its occurrence. Field investigations showed that it occurs in diverse geographic locations around the U.S. and is a source of continued maintenance concern for railroads. Water appeared to be a significant factor involved in concrete bottom tie abrasion. Ballast fouling, center-binding cracking, rail surface profile variations, and large track movement during loading was seen in locations with concrete bottom tie abrasion. Bumps or track stiffness changes were often found at locations of abrasion damage. Specifically, some locations with known stiff track conditions exhibited significant abrasion damage. INTRODUCTION Concrete railroad ties are being more frequently used in the railroad industry. Railroad ties are used to transmit loads from the train and rail to the subgrade and also to hold rail gage. Concrete ties are used in heavy-haul rail lines and high-speed rail lines because of their ability to carry large, repeated loads for a very long time. Concrete ties can last 50 years or longer when fabricated properly and the track is properly designed, built, and maintained. In order to achieve this life span, prestressed concrete tie thickness and prestressing forces are fabricated to resist design positive and negative bending moments. These design criteria are meant to prevent excessive deflections and gage widening during train loading and prevent ties from failing through breakage. If the tie section properties change during use, there is a potential for a loss in moment capacity, gage widening, tie breakage, and ultimately derailment [1]. Abrasion loss on the concrete tie sides and bottom could provide such a moment capacity reduction. On July 18, 2013, 10 cars on a northbound train on the Metro-North Hudson Line in the Bronx, NY containing municipal solid waste derailed, causing $827,700 in damage [2] [3] [4]. At the location of derailment, the ballast was severely fouled with gray mud. The gray mud was mostly from ground up concrete fines from concrete ties that had lost section on the bottom. The ties also had center-binding cracking from high negative moments in the tie center that occurred or were
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