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A method for assessing the life cycle costs of modifications to ballasted track systems

A method for assessing the life cycle costs of modifications to ballasted track systems
A method for assessing the life cycle costs of modifications to ballasted track systems
Tests can be carried out on elements of railway track in a laboratory to assess the potential for particular ballast and sleeper combinations to alter stiffness, reduce settlement, and improve the transfer of stresses between sleeper and ballast. For example, under sleeper pads (USPs) and random fibre reinforcements (RFRs) have been shown to reduce settlement in such tests. However, it is more problematic to apply test results to predict real world field rates of deterioration along the track geometry which is largely a function of differential settlement. This is important, because an understanding of reductions in real world rates of deterioration is necessary to predict life cycle costs (LCC) of such interventions and assess the economic case for altering current practice. This research examines the impact of installing USPs and RFRs on two different routes in the UK: the London-Portsmouth line and a section of the East Coast Main Line (ECML). A simple methodology, based on relative settlement is proposed to adapt the results of laboratory element tests into a suitable parameter for input into the track geometry degradation model, allowing estimation of LCC. The financial savings from installation were found to be slightly higher for the ECML than the Portsmouth line, and higher for USPs than for RFRs. Although these conclusions are based on a UK case study, they could be applicable to any ballasted railway track operation in a developed region facing high maintenance costs and growing demand.
Ballast, Differential settlement, Laboratory tests, Life cycle costs, Rail track, Random fibre reinforcements, Track stiffness, Under sleeper pads, VTISM
0950-0618
Rempelos, Georgios
c58f755e-d094-489b-9716-0a8fb061ce8a
Ortega Hortelano, Alejandro
a950aa2d-c35a-47d3-8219-12446fc7eaf3
Blainey, Simon
ee6198e5-1f89-4f9b-be8e-52cc10e8b3bb
Preston, Jonathan
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b
Le Pen, Louis
4a38e256-d113-4bba-b0d4-32d41995928a
Armstrong, John
5fafa91e-39c1-4d1d-a331-564558aaa638
Rempelos, Georgios
c58f755e-d094-489b-9716-0a8fb061ce8a
Ortega Hortelano, Alejandro
a950aa2d-c35a-47d3-8219-12446fc7eaf3
Blainey, Simon
ee6198e5-1f89-4f9b-be8e-52cc10e8b3bb
Preston, Jonathan
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b
Le Pen, Louis
4a38e256-d113-4bba-b0d4-32d41995928a
Armstrong, John
5fafa91e-39c1-4d1d-a331-564558aaa638

Rempelos, Georgios, Ortega Hortelano, Alejandro, Blainey, Simon, Preston, Jonathan, Le Pen, Louis and Armstrong, John (2020) A method for assessing the life cycle costs of modifications to ballasted track systems. Construction and Building Materials, 263, [120603]. (doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2020.120603).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Tests can be carried out on elements of railway track in a laboratory to assess the potential for particular ballast and sleeper combinations to alter stiffness, reduce settlement, and improve the transfer of stresses between sleeper and ballast. For example, under sleeper pads (USPs) and random fibre reinforcements (RFRs) have been shown to reduce settlement in such tests. However, it is more problematic to apply test results to predict real world field rates of deterioration along the track geometry which is largely a function of differential settlement. This is important, because an understanding of reductions in real world rates of deterioration is necessary to predict life cycle costs (LCC) of such interventions and assess the economic case for altering current practice. This research examines the impact of installing USPs and RFRs on two different routes in the UK: the London-Portsmouth line and a section of the East Coast Main Line (ECML). A simple methodology, based on relative settlement is proposed to adapt the results of laboratory element tests into a suitable parameter for input into the track geometry degradation model, allowing estimation of LCC. The financial savings from installation were found to be slightly higher for the ECML than the Portsmouth line, and higher for USPs than for RFRs. Although these conclusions are based on a UK case study, they could be applicable to any ballasted railway track operation in a developed region facing high maintenance costs and growing demand.

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Manuscript.v.final_rev_7 - Final - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 13 August 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 September 2020
Published date: 10 December 2020
Keywords: Ballast, Differential settlement, Laboratory tests, Life cycle costs, Rail track, Random fibre reinforcements, Track stiffness, Under sleeper pads, VTISM

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445577
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445577
ISSN: 0950-0618
PURE UUID: f6d1d30d-b1c9-4e38-a5eb-fbe3a2c71d46
ORCID for Alejandro Ortega Hortelano: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5224-5363
ORCID for Simon Blainey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4249-8110
ORCID for Jonathan Preston: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6866-049X
ORCID for Louis Le Pen: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4362-3895

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Dec 2020 17:32
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 05:58

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Contributors

Author: Georgios Rempelos
Author: Simon Blainey ORCID iD
Author: Louis Le Pen ORCID iD
Author: John Armstrong

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