Ballasted tracks at transition locations such as approaches to bridges and road crossings experience increasing degradation and deformation due to dynamic and high impact forces, a key factor that decreases the stability and longevity of railroads. One solution to minimise ballast degradation at the transition zones is using rubber energy absorbing drainage sheets (READS) manufactured from recycled tyres. When placed beneath the ballast layer, READS distributes the load over wider area and attenuate of the load over a longer duration thus decreasing maximum stress, apart from reducing the energy transferred to the ballast and other substructure components. Subsequently, the track substructure experiences less plastic deformation and degradation. These mats also provide an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative. In this study, a series of large-scale drop hammer impact tests was carried out to investigate how effectively the READS could attenuate impact loads and help mitigate ballast deformation and degradation. Soft and stiff subgrade were used to investigate the load-deformation response of ballast (with and without READS), subjected to impact loads from a hammer dropped from various heights (hd =100 - 250 mm). Laboratory test results show that the inclusion of READS helps to reduce the dynamic impact load transferred to the ballast layer resulting in significantly less permanent deformation and degradation of ballast, apart from significant attenuation of load magnitude and vibration to the underlying subgrade layers.