Ballast fouling is understood as major cause of track deterioration in many countries over the world. It decreases the drainage and load bearing capacity of the ballast layer. A series of large scale hydraulic conductivity tests were conducted with different proportions of fouling to access the drainage capacity of the track. A numerical analysis was conducted using SEEP/W to quantify the drainage capacity of ballast under different degrees of fouling. Subsequently, track drainage classification in relation to the degree of fouling, which is a very useful tool for practical engineers, is presented in this paper. The analysis showed that both the location and extent of fouling played an important role when assessing the overall drainage capacity of track. In order to establish the relationship between the extent of fouling and the associated strength-deformation properties, a series of large scale monotonic triaxial tests were carried out for different levels of fouling for three different confining pressures. Based on the laboratory findings, a novel empirical relationship between the peak deviator stress and VCI has been proposed to assist the practitioner in their preliminary track condition assessment. By considering drainage and strength aspects, a critical level of fouling to assist in track maintenance planning has been considered.
Tennakoon, N., Indraratna, B. & Nimbalkar, S. (2014). Impact of ballast fouling on rail tracks. Second International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance (pp. 1-11). Scotland: Civil-Comp Press.