Application of under sleeper pads to enhance the sleeper-ballast interface behaviors
© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2020. Railway industries are facing greater technical and economic challenges to increase the train speeds and hauling capacity of the trains to cope up with the growing population and increasing traffic problems. However, increasing dynamic stresses from the passage of faster and heavy haul trains progressively degrades the ballast layer and other track substructure layers which inevitably leads to excessive settlement and track instability. Nowadays, heavier concrete sleepers used in most of the ballasted tracks are subjected to even greater stresses and faster deterioration. Under Sleeper Pads (USPs) are resilient pads installed at the bottom face of concrete sleepers to increase the degree of vertical elasticity in the track structure and also with the intention of enhancing sleeper–ballast interaction to minimize dynamic stresses and subsequent track deterioration. In this study, cyclic loads from fast and heavy haul trains have been simulated using a large-scale Process Simulation Prismoidal Triaxial Apparatus (PSPTA) to investigate the performance of ballast improved by the USPs. The laboratory results indicate that the inclusion of USP at the harder interface of concrete sleeper-ballast significantly curtails the stresses transmitted and minimizes the amount of plastic deformation and degradation of ballast.