An Australian perspective on modernization of rail tracks using geosynthetics and shockmats
Ballasted rail tracks are an integral part of Australia's transport network, and while there is still huge potential for its expansion, increasing the traffic tonnages and speed are limited by the conditions of the track and the maintenance costs associated with its subsequent deterioration. Indeed, the large lateral deformation caused by insufficient track confinement, fouling by coal from freight trains and by clay from pumping soft formation soils, and particle breakage are the primary causes of ballast degradation. The heavy haul network in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld) suffers mainly from the breakdown of ballast and the intrusion of coal fines. Quarrying for fresh ballast, stockpiling of used ballast with little demand for recycling, and routine interruption of traffic for repairs are the contributing causes of high maintenance costs in Australia.