Concrete and Wood Tie Track Performance through 150 Million Gross Tons


This report has been prepared as part of the Improved Track Structures Research Program sponsored by the Office of Rail Safety Research of the Federal Railroad Administration. The report presents an evaluation of concrete and wood tie track performance from test data taken at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST). The evaluation examines track performance on two levels:
a. The system performance level, in which maintenance burdens, geometric stability, track stiffness and railwear are compared for similar sections of concrete- and wood-tie track, and
b. The concrete tie component performance level, in which particular types and combinations of ties, pads, fasteners, and ballast are examined for their resistance to wear and failure
The primary purpose for this effort is to contribute to the establishment of the technical and economic feasibility of concrete cross ties in U.S. mainline service. The report neither proves nor disproves this feasibility, but a number of important problems in the design and application of concrete ties are identified.
When using the information in this report to evaluate potential revenue service applications, the FAST test environment should be taken into consideration.