Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 167–178 | Cite as

Behaviour of Track Ballast Under Repeated Loading

  • Namir K. S. Al-Saoudi
  • Khawla H. Hassan
Original paper


Najaf-sea quarry is located in Najaf city about 160 km south west of Baghdad the capital of Iraq. It is the main source that supplies track ballast for maintenance of existing railway network and construction of new railway lines in the middle and southern parts of Iraq. Track ballast experience a complex combination of stresses during its service lifetime, primarily from repeated axial loads of the trains in addition to stresses generated from the environmental conditions. The ideal evaluation of suitability of track ballast must be carried out under real field loading conditions, however such field tests are usually costly and time consuming. On the other hand laboratory model tests simulating field loads under limited boundary conditions can provide satisfactory indication about the suitability of the material. The present paper investigates the deformation characteristics of Najaf-sea track ballast, under repeated loading using model tests simulating ballast conditions under a selected track section. A test setup was designed and manufactured capable of applying both monotonic as well as repeated loading on the track section under different conditions. The repeated model tests which simulate as close as possible the field conditions shed the light on the generated settlement, modulus of deformation and degradation of the ballast particles under different repeated loading levels. Statistical analysis in terms of breakage index and repeated applied load revealed satisfactory correlations that help in understanding the overall performance of the ballast material. The results also demonstrate that 4–5 tamping are capable of controlling both the settlement and modulus of deformation of the ballast material.


Railway Settlement Modulus of deformation Repeated load Ballast Najaf-sea quarry 

List of symbols

Settlement of the ballast bed under any applied repeated load


Applied load


Number of cycles


Number of tamping


Modulus of deformation


Difference between maximum and minimum applied stresses in (kPa)


Sleeper settlement per selected number of cycles in (mm)


Mean particle size


Percent between two adjacent sieves


Mean sieve size of two adjacent sieves


Final mean diameter


Difference in percentage retained on each sieve before and after the test


Percentage retained on a specific sieve before the test


Percentage retained on the same sieve after the test


Breakage index


Total breakage factor


Breakage potential


Breakage potential of a particle of a given size


Differential of percentage passing by mass divided by 100


Diameter of soils


Original value of b p


Value of b p after loading


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Building and Construction Engineering DepartmentUniversity of TechnologyBaghdadIraq
  2. 2.College of EngineeringUniversity of KufaNajafIraq

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