Lateral Load Performance of Concrete Sleeper Fastening Systems Under Non-ideal Conditions


The fastening system is an essential component of the track superstructure that facilitates load transfer from the rail to the sleeper while holding the rail in place. Previous research has focused on investigating the performance of different fastening systems under laboratory and field loading environments when the fastening systems are properly installed. However, with the increased traffic and challenging service environments often experienced in North America, it is likely not all the fastening systems can remain intact throughout their service life of the track, thus missing fastening system components can occur. To date, the performance of different fastening systems under non-ideal conditions, such as track with missing fastening system components, has not been thoroughly investigated. In order to better understand the behaviour of concrete sleeper fastening systems under different non-ideal loading conditions similar to what is seen in the field, an on-going research project is currently being conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This paper presents the preliminary laboratory results of the lateral load performance of the Skl-style fastening system on track with missing fastening system components at one or more sleepers. Lateral load redistribution was quantified for different test scenarios. The results from this study will improve the understanding of lateral load distribution under non-ideal conditions and can be used in future fastening system design and field maintenance practices.