Excess Pore Water Pressure Generation and Mud Pumping in Railways under Cyclic Loading
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High-speed heavy haul trains have become one of the most popular and economical modes of transportation in the modern world to cater for increased demand in freight for agricultural and mining activities. However, when these trains travel through vulnerable areas occupying soft subgrade formations, frequent maintenance is required to prevent differential settlement and localized failures of track. The poor performance of track caused by ballast fouling is also often observed where fines are fluidized and pumped into the ballast voids (mud pumping), which in turn create ballast pockets, mud holes and track instability. When saturated subgrade is subjected to short-term undrained cyclic loading, the pore water pressure can accumulate inducing fine particles to migrate upwards into the ballast layer. Mud pumping causes millions of dollars of damage to heavy haul rail networks every year in Australia. This paper presents a critical review primarily focused on the role of excess pore-water pressure generation on mud pumping under cyclic loading. Mitigation of these issues can result in considerable savings to rail authorities on recurrent track maintenance activities.