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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 110
Edited by: J. Pombo
Paper 32

Sustainable Maintenance of Ballasted Track Systems in the United Kingdom: A Review of Asset Management and Climate Change

B.J. Counter1, A. Abutair2, D.B. Tann3 and A. Franklin4

1Permanent Way Institution, University of Derby, United Kingdom
2Department of Structural Engineering, British University of Dubai, United Arab Emirates
3Faculty of Engineering, University of West Scotland, Paisley, United Kingdom
4Track Asset Department, Network Rail Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
B.J. Counter, A. Abutair, D.B. Tann, A. Franklin, "Sustainable Maintenance of Ballasted Track Systems in the United Kingdom: A Review of Asset Management and Climate Change", in J. Pombo, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 32, 2016. doi:10.4203/ccp.110.32
Keywords: sustainability, track ballast, plain line, switches and crossings, Railvac, rail temperature, drainage modelling, flooding, climate change.

Sustainability of a ballasted track system relates to the local service and climatic conditions. The service life expectancy of ballast is dependent upon a number of factors including mainly traffic loading, drainage, weather, and contamination. The sustainability is also clearly related to maintenance intervention levels and initial installation quality standards. Railways around the world are mainly constructed and laid on traditional granular ballast, and even although many countries are now using paved concrete systems, a significant amount of ballasted track will need to be maintained and in many cases protected for the foreseeable future. Climatic changes have occurred over the last twenty years that arguably resulted in global warming which most nations have accepted. It is generally agreed that global warming is probably responsible for unusual patterns of weather and specific weather events that have affected the world's railway infrastructure. In this paper, the link between asset management of ballasted track systems and climate change will be explored with specific relevance to available practical techniques. The paper will integrate the current theories of repair and replacement with the need to manage climatic change particularly flooding and temperature.

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