Systematic Life-Cycle Analysis and Performance of Enhanced Trackbed Support

UKY Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-UKY-R04
Project TitleSystematic Life-Cycle Analysis and Performance of Enhanced Trackbed Support
UniversityUniversity of Kentucky
Project ManagerSouleyrette
Principal InvestigatorRose
PI Contact InformationPhone: (859) 257-4278 Email:
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$45,100 KYTC SPR; $45,100 USDOT RITA
Total Project Cost$90,200
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2012-05-01
End Date2013-08-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectThe first objective of this project is to develop a method to measure the pressure distribution and magnitude as well as contact area at the ballast-tie interface under heavy haul, Class I type loading. Ballast degradation at this interface has been observed to greatly contribute to overall ballast fouling and track quality deterioration. It has been hypothesized that the contact area at the ballast-tie interface may only be 5 to 10 percent of the tie's surface area. It is well established that ballast fouling, especially under the tie, contributes to premature, differential track settlement and increased maintenance. Developing a means to measure the pressures and contact area at the ballast-tie interface will allow a quantitative assessment of various factors affecting ballast life underneath the tie. These factors may include ballast type, ballast gradation, tie type, cross-section, and material, as well as the presence of "under tie" elastic pads, among others. Initial steps will include the measurement of aggregate (average) pressures under the tie and, determining repeatability of results and consistency between ties. A Matrix Based Tactile Surface Sensor system will be used to measure the peak pressures and pressure distribution (contact area) at the ballast-tie interface. Once a method of testing has been developed, initial research can begin on the factors that may influence pressure distribution at the interface. A second objective of this project is to perform a preliminary systematic/life cycle analysis of track bed upgrade to determine the relative performances of the 200 plus miles of track bed containing Enhanced Support on the BNSF Transcon Double Track capacity Improvement Project from southern Kansas to Amarillo, Texas. Primary interests are the subsequent Track Surfacing requirements and maintenance of Surface Quality Index geometric features relative to the conventional track sections, (will require substantial review of subsequent track geometry (SQI) tests and evaluations and track maintenance requirements).
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-UKY-R04_Final_Report_Lifecycle1.pdf