Evaluation of Ballast Fouling Causes, Rate, and Scheduling of Appropriate Maintenance (At Dire Dawa Site)

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Addis Ababa University


The railway infrastructure is an integral part of the railway system that holds all the forces applied on the ground without excessive deformation. The system substructure faces a problem of contamination, disintegration and various sorts of deterioration summarized as ballast fouling. Ballast fouling damages the system properties by softening, deforming and void filling that causes the structure capability to withstand design forces, instability, and drainage issues. A novel of how to establish ballast fouling causes, degree and rate are jotted down in this research, to find solutions and minimize the effects of the problem and improve the maintenance too. Efforts have been taken to forecast the problem extent on the line with an aim to have planned maintenance and minimize the costs. From the particle size distribution and particle breakage analysis performed on samples from the track, the average contaminating material (< 9.5 mm) was approximately 16 % by weight with most affected sections fouled at 30 % and 33 %. The average Fouling Index FI for the tested section was found to be 16 % moderately fouled at a rate of 0.040 %/MGT with more than 29 % ballast particle, 26 % silt and clay particle and 45 % particle of sand by weight. The major causes of ballast fouling are wind, traffic loading, migration of fines from subgrade or external sources from the surrounding. After a period of one year and three months period of track use, there is a large variation in ballast grading with breakage index of 42 % material (<16 mm) the smallest sieve size. The planned maintenance schedule has a three-year cycle.



Railway, Maintenance, Drainage, Sub-structure, Contamination, Fouling, Fouling Index