This study is the third in a series which has reviewed the performance of concrete and wood tie track at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST). It presents an evaluation of both types of track through 425 million gross tons (MGT) of service in the FAST Track at the Transportation Test Center (TTC), Pueblo, Colorado. The discussion covers two general interests:
a. Comparative performance of concrete and wood tie track, including maintenance requirements, geometric stability, track stiffness, and rail wear.
b. Specific performance of concrete ties, components and ballast at FAST and in revenue service, examined for resistance to wear and failure.
The purpose of this study is to present interim data related to the technical and economic feasibility of concrete tie use in U.S. mainline service. The critical issue of concrete tie life is addressed only indirectly; Therefore, performance assumptions necessary to justify the installation of concrete ties are neither verified nor refuted. Problems in design and application identified in earlier reports are discussed, and some trends are discernable in light of the accumulated data.