Environmental and Track Factors that Contribute to Abrasion Damage


Sites with known occurrences of mud pumping or other track concerns were investigated to determine the prevalence of concrete bottom tie abrasion and environmental and track conditions that could contribute to its occurrence. Field investigations showed that it occurs in diverse geographic locations around the U.S. and is a source of continued maintenance concern for railroads. Water appeared to be a significant factor involved in concrete bottom tie abrasion. Ballast fouling, center-binding cracking, rail surface profile variations, and large track movement during loading was seen in locations with concrete bottom tie abrasion. Bumps or track stiffness changes were often found at locations of abrasion damage. Specifically, some locations with known stiff track conditions exhibited significant abrasion damage.