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GYŐR, 2015


ISBN 978-615-5298-69-1 (PDF)

Dr. Szabolcs Fischer – Balázs Eller – Zoltán Kada – Attila Németh


Dr. Szabolcs Fischer – Balázs Eller – Zoltán Kada –

Attila Németh




THE AUTHORS (related Chapters are in the brackets below)

Dr. Szabolcs Fischer1, PhD (Chapters 4, 5, and 8)

assistant professor

Balázs Eller1 (Chapters 3 and 9)

BSc in civil engineering, MSc student in Civil Engineering

Zoltán Kada1 (Chapters 1 and 2)

BSc in civil engineering, MSc student in Civil Engineering

Attila Németh1 (Chapters 6 and 7)

junior lecturer

THE REVIEWERS (related Chapters are in the brackets below)

Dr. Szabolcs Fischer1, PhD (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9)

assistant professor

Zoltán Major1, * (Chapters 4, 5, and 8)

junior lecturer


Dr. Szabolcs Fischer1, PhD

assistant professor


Universitas-Győr Nonprofit Kft.**, 2015

Photo on the cover is made by Dr. Szabolcs Fischer PhD, it shows the endpoint
and turnouts of railway station of Csorna from the direction of Porpác.

SZÉCHENYI ISTVÁN UNIVERSITY, Faculty of Architecture, Civil- and Transport
Engineering, Department of Transport Infrastructure
H-9026 Győr, Egyetem tér 1.
** Webpage:, e-mail:


This electronical book is supported by TÁMOP-4.2.2.B-15/1/KONV-2015-


This book contains 334 pages (threehundred-thirtyfour pages), page size is

B5 (ISO) – 176×250 mm, margins are 25 mm on all edges.

ISBN 978-615-5298-69-1 (PDF)




SHORT CURRICULUM VITAES OF THE AUTHORS ................................. 14
PART I: RAILWAY SUBSTRUCTURE .......................................................... 17
1. SET-UP OF RAILWAY TRACKS ............................................................ 18
1.1. Railway track....................................................................................... 18
1.2. Definitions ........................................................................................... 19
1.3. Requirements to railway earthwork..................................................... 20
2. SET-UP OF RAILWAY TRACK EARTHWORK ................................... 21
2.1. Set-up of railway earthwork ................................................................ 21
2.1.1. Layer structure of the railway track.............................................. 21
2.1.2. Set-up of cross section .................................................................. 21
2.1.3. Shape and dimensional requirements of cross sections ................ 23
2.2. Basic definitions related to substructure.............................................. 24
2.3. Permanent, variable and extreme effects ............................................. 27
2.3.1. Permanent load (dead load) .......................................................... 27
2.3.2. Load of vehicle ............................................................................. 27
2.3.3. Extraordinary load ........................................................................ 28
2.3.4. Others ........................................................................................... 29
2.3.5. Dynamic load ............................................................................... 29
2.4. Set-up of layer structure, load spread .................................................. 30
2.4.1. Loaded surfaces and compressive stresses ................................... 30
2.4.2. Vertical stresses in the layer structure under the sleeper .............. 32
2.4.3. Compressive stress on subgrade ................................................... 34
2.4.4. Serviceability limit state of the subgrade ..................................... 34
2.5. Density and load bearing capacity of railway earthwork .................... 36
2.5.1. Density of the railway earthwork ................................................. 36
2.5.2. Measurement of load bearing capacity ......................................... 36 Static measurement................................................................ 36 Measurement by light falling weight deflectometer .............. 38 Requested values of E2stat and Ed modulus in Hungarian
regulation ............................................................................................ 39
3. PROTECTION LAYERS........................................................................... 40

3.1. The roles of the protection layers ........................................................ 40

3.2. The types of the protection layers ....................................................... 42
3.3. The materials of the protection layers ................................................. 43
3.3.1. Protection layer from fine materials ............................................. 43 Protection layers from fine materials above V>120 km/h
velocity ............................................................................................... 43 Protection layer from fine materials below V≤120 km/h speed
............................................................................................................ 46 Needlessness of the coarse-grained protection layer ............. 46 The designing table of the protection layer ........................... 46 The evolving of the coarse-grained protection layer ............. 48
3.3.2. Stabilizations ................................................................................ 49 Cement stabilization .............................................................. 50 Lime stabilization .................................................................. 51 Chemical stabilization, Consolid technology ........................ 52
3.3.3. Asphalt protection layer ............................................................... 54
3.3.4. Expanded polystyrene slabs ......................................................... 56
3.3.5. Geosynthetics ............................................................................... 57 Applying and task ...................................................................... 57 Geotextiles ............................................................................. 58 Geogrids ................................................................................ 59 Geomembranes ...................................................................... 65 Geocomposites ...................................................................... 66
PART II: RAILWAY SUPERSTRUCTURE .................................................... 68
5. RAILS, RAIL CONNECTIONS, RAIL WELDINGS ............................... 76
5.1. Rails ..................................................................................................... 76
5.1.1. General properties of rails ............................................................ 76 Roles of the rails .................................................................... 76 Rail profiles ........................................................................... 76 Geometry of rails ................................................................... 80
5.1.2. Requirements to rails .................................................................... 82
5.1.3. Production of rails ........................................................................ 84 Steel pruduction ..................................................................... 84
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 8 Steel rolling ........................................................................... 88 Quality control tests of rails .................................................. 94 Nondestructive quality control tests on whole length rails
........................................................................................................ 94 Destructive quality control tests on specimens............... 99
5.1.4. Material of rails .......................................................................... 105
5.1.5. Selection of adequate rail material and profile ........................... 117
5.2. Rail connections ................................................................................ 118
5.2.1. Roles of rail connections ............................................................ 118
5.2.2. Requirements to rail connections ............................................... 118
5.2.3. Normal fishplate joints in non-continuous welded track ............ 119 Types of fishplates............................................................... 119 Types of rail connections..................................................... 121 Temporary joints ................................................................. 125 Fishplate bolts, Grower springs ........................................... 125 Forces in fishplate joints, strength and laboratory tests of
fishplate joints .................................................................................. 126
5.2.4. Insulated joints ........................................................................... 129
5.2.5. Rail dilatation structures ............................................................. 137 Necessity and gear of rail dilatation structures .................... 137 Set-up of rail dilatation structures ....................................... 137 Set-up of rail dilatation structure on a ballast-bedded railway
bridge ................................................................................................ 138 Types of rail dilatation structures ........................................ 139 Csilléry-style rail dilatation structure ........................... 139 B60 VM rail dilatation structure................................... 141 B60 VM-D twin rail dilatation structure ...................... 143 Embedded rail dilatation structure ................................ 143
5.3. Rail weldings ..................................................................................... 145
5.3.1. Roles and importance of rail weldings ....................................... 145
5.3.2. Requirements to rail weldings .................................................... 145
5.3.3. Rail welding procedures ............................................................. 146 Flash butt welding ............................................................... 147 Gas pressure welding........................................................... 162 Thermit welding .................................................................. 163
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 9 Manual electric arc welding ................................................ 177 Manual oxyacetylene welding ............................................. 179
5.3.4. Quality control tests of trial weldings ........................................ 179
6. SLEEPERS ............................................................................................... 186
6.1. Function and requirements of sleepers, the purpose of sleepers ....... 186
6.1.1. Function and requirements of sleepers ....................................... 186
6.1.2. The purpose of sleepers .............................................................. 186
6.2. Types of sleepers (material, structure) .............................................. 187
6.2.1. Classification of sleepers ............................................................ 187 Classification of sleepers according to arranging in track ... 187 Classification of sleepers according to material aspects...... 187
6.2.2. Timber sleepers .......................................................................... 187
6.2.3. Steel and iron sleepers ................................................................ 189
6.2.4. Concrete sleepers ........................................................................ 192 The features of concrete sleepers ........................................ 192 Difference between the pre-stressed and the reinforced
concrete sleepers............................................................................... 193 The “sleeper sag” of long and short sleepers ........................ 196 Typical types of concrete sleepers ....................................... 197
6.2.5. Plastic sleeper ............................................................................. 205
6.3. Production of sleepers, quality control tests ...................................... 207
6.3.1. Production of timber sleepers, impregnation .............................. 207
6.3.2. The concrete sleepers ................................................................. 208 Production of concrete sleepers ........................................... 208 Quality control tests of concrete sleepers ............................ 210 Inspection of sleepers in factory ................................... 210 Loading under the rail seat positive moment................ 210 Loading at the middle of the sleeper negative moment 211 Loading at the middle of the sleeper positive moment . 211 The B55 type prestressed concrete sleeper for two types of
ballast beds ................................................................................... 211
7. RAIL FASTENINGS ............................................................................... 213
7.1. Function of rail fastenings, requirements to fastenings ..................... 213

7.1.1. Function of rail fastenings .......................................................... 213

7.1.2. Requirements to rail fastenings .................................................. 213
7.1.3. Action forces .............................................................................. 213 Vertical and lateral fastener loads ....................................... 213 Longitudinal fastener loads ................................................. 216 The rigid frame of the track ................................................. 217
7.2. Types of rail fastenings ..................................................................... 219
7.2.1. Classification of rail fastenings .................................................. 219 Differences between rigid and elastic rail fastenings .......... 220 Direct rail fastenings ........................................................... 221 Indirect rail fasteners ........................................................... 225 Elastic rail fasteners............................................................. 228
7.3. The rail fastenings quality control tests ............................................. 237
7.3.1. Clamping force test..................................................................... 237
7.3.2. Vertical stiffness test .................................................................. 237
7.3.3. Skew static load test ................................................................... 238
7.3.4. Longitudinal restrain test ............................................................ 238
7.3.5. Determination of rail fastening resistance for rotation ............... 240
7.3.6. Cyclic loading test ...................................................................... 240
7.3.7. Inspection records after cyclic loading test ................................ 242
8. RAILWAY BALLAST ............................................................................ 243
8.1. Roles of railway ballast ..................................................................... 243
8.2. Material of railway ballast ................................................................. 243
8.3. Importance of railway ballast in railway load distribution ................ 246
8.4. Requirements to railway ballast ........................................................ 247
8.4.1. General technical requirements .................................................. 247 Typical size of ballast bed ................................................... 247 Compactness of railway ballast ........................................... 249 Resistance of railway ballast ............................................... 253 Contamination (fouling) of ballast bed................................ 254
8.4.2. Requirements of MSZ EN 13450:2003 standard ....................... 255 Railway ballast size ............................................................. 256 Grading (particle size distribution) ...................................... 256 Fines .................................................................................... 257 Fine particles ....................................................................... 258
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 11 Flakiness index .................................................................... 258 Shape index ......................................................................... 258 Particle length ...................................................................... 259 Resistance to fragmantation ................................................ 259 Resistance to wear ............................................................... 260 Resistance to freezing and thawing, magnesium sulphate
soundness test ................................................................................... 260 Water absorption ............................................................... 261
8.4.3. Requirements to ballast according to MÁV ............................... 261 Tests of material properties ................................................. 261 Field tests made by eye inspection as well as manual
equipments (devices) ........................................................................ 262 Particle shape – Flakiness index ................................... 262 Cleanness test ............................................................... 262 Laboratory tests ................................................................... 262 Particle shape ................................................................ 262 Grading (particle size distribution) ............................... 262 Strength tests ................................................................ 263
8.4.4. Special laboratory tests of railway ballast material .................... 264 Aggregate Impact Value (AIV) ........................................... 264 Resistance to impact ............................................................ 265 Ballast Breakage Index (BBI) ............................................. 266
8.5. Increasing lateral resistance of railway ballast .................................. 268
8.5.1. Safety caps (sleeper anchors) ..................................................... 268
8.5.2. Ballast gluing (bonded ballast) ................................................... 269
8.5.3. Y steel sleepers ........................................................................... 272
8.6. Elastic materials to reduce stresses of railway ballast bed ................ 273
8.6.1. Elastic rail pad ............................................................................ 275
8.6.2. Elastic under sleeper pad ............................................................ 281
8.6.3. Under ballast mat ........................................................................ 287
8.7. Ballast stabilisation with PU-foam .................................................... 293
PART III: CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGIES .......................................... 300
9. CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGIES .................................................... 301
9.1. Construction and renewal of the substructure ................................... 301

9.1.1. Construction of the substructure ................................................. 301

9.1.2. Renewal of the substructure by earthwork machines ................. 303
9.1.3. The renewal of the substructure by machine chain technology .. 304
9.2. Constructions by tools and human resources .................................... 305
9.3. Medium machine technology ............................................................ 308
9.4. Large machine technologies .............................................................. 310
9.4.1. Two parts construction technology ............................................ 310
9.4.2. One part construction technology ............................................... 312 SMD machine family .......................................................... 313 SUZ machine family ........................................................... 316 SUM machine family .......................................................... 317
9.5. Construction and change of the switches .......................................... 319
9.5.1. Generally about the construction ................................................ 319
9.5.2. Methods of the switch constructions .......................................... 321 Switch constructions by tools and human resources ........... 321 Changing switch by crane ................................................... 321 Switch changing by KICSE machine chain ......................... 322 Construction by a heavy-duty crane .................................... 324
REFERENCES ............................................................................................. 327


The curriculum of Master course in Infrastructure-Civil Engineering at

Széchenyi István University was changed. In this way more new – mainly
infrastructure specialized – subjects were introduced. The subject, title “Road
and railway construction” (NGM_ET130_1) is one of them, this subject gives
additional knowledge to students were not graduated as Civil Engineer BSc or
Civil Engineer (college level). The subject summarizes the basic knowledge
related to road construction and railway construction.

This book consists of the curriculum related to railway construction, it eases

learning process of students, their preparation for exam. The authors’ aim was to
widen and explain the knowledge of Power Point presentations introduced at the
lessons, as well as to supply additional information.

Our book would like to cover the basic knowledge of railway construction,
whereas every little detail can’t be discussed because of the limited space.
Readers, who would like to receive more detailed knowledge in the topic of this
book, they can look up in the literatures listed in references.

This book was written by two teachers and two students with excellent
scholastic record, the reviewers were two colleagues of our department.

In the name of authors, we would like to thank Gábor Winkler Vocational

Dormitory, as well as Széchenyi 2020 project for the support of the preparation
of this university book. In addition we thank Dr. Szabolcs Fischer and Zoltán
Major for the review process, and we thank Prof. Dr. Ferenc Horvát for his help,
and the fact he made us to know and like railway infrastructure.

Győr, September 2015

The authors


Dr. Szabolcs Fischer PhD2, assistant professor,

MSc in Civil Engineering.

He graduated at Faculty of Engineering

Sciences at Széchenyi István University as an
MSC is Civil Engineering (specialised in
transport infrastructure and engineering
structures) in 2008. He attended
Multidisciplinary Doctoral School of Engineering
Sciences at Széchenyi István University between
2008 and 2012, where he defended his PhD
thesis (Civil Engineering Sciences). The title of
his PhD thesis is “Investigation of railway track geometry stabilisation effects of
geogrid layers under ballast bed”.
He worked as a demonstrator fellow at Department of Structural Engineering
as well as Transport Infrastructure since 2006.
He has been a teacher at Széchenyi István University since 2009: junior
lecturer since 2009, assistant professor since 2012. He has been the supervisor of
more R&D&I projects.
He is a member of Hungarian Chamber of Engineers (MMK) since 2009 and
a member of Association of Transport Sciences (KTE). He had design authority
at railway infrastructure since 2014.
Between January 2009 and December 2010 he was a journal referee at
Hungarian Review of Transport Infrastructure (ISSN: 5060-6222).
He has been writing scientific papers in Hungarian and English since 2008,
he was awarded KTE Publication Award in 2010-
He is active in supervisor of diploma theses, until now 50 of his students
Now he is attending Széchenyi István University again, he studies at Kautz
Gyula Faculty of Economics as an economic specialised engineer.


Balázs Eller3, BSc in Civil Engineering, MSc

student in Civil Engineering.

He is an MSc student at the mayor of

infrastructural-engineering, besides this an
engineering trainee at MÁV (Hungarian National
Railways) Zrt. He graduated the Civil
engineering BSc in 2014, at the University of
Pécs - Pollack Mihály faculty of technics and
informatics, specialization in transport facilities.
He will graduate the Infrastructural-engineering
MSc in January of 2016, at Széchenyi István
University faculty of architecture, civil and transport engineering. He interests
about the railway engineering. He got 3rd place on the Scientific Student
Conference (TDK) at Pécs in 2013, and 1st place in Győr, 2015. Both topics
were about railway protection layers. His thesis was also a railway topic, and it
was 3rd on the Association of Transport Sciences’ thesis competition in 2014.
Future plans are to continue the science works and develop himself
He is the member of Baross Gábor Vocational Dormitory (since 2015
Winkler Gábor Vocational Dormitory) since 2014.

Zoltán Kada4, BSc in Civil Engineering, MSc

student in Civil Engineering.

He is a graduated Civil Engineer, BSc and a

Civil Engineering MSc student. During his BSc
studies, he worked one time abroad (Gröbenzell,
Germany) in a construction material laboratory as
a trainee (07.2013. – 08.2013). The main profile
of his work was concrete technology, and soil
He wrote his BSc final thesis about a tram-
train system, between Győr and Pápa, and
graduated in January, 2014, at Széchenyi István University, Győr, as a Civil


Engineer with good grade. His specialization was Urban Development. After
graduating, he went back to Gröbenzell, and worked as a full time laboratory
technician (03.2014 – 08.2014). This time, his work reflected more on concrete
technology, documentation, and conducting projects from the beginning to the
In September, 2014 went back to Széchenyi István University, and started his
master degree in Civil Engineering, with Infrastructural Engineering
specialization. At the moment, besides his last semester, he works abroad, in
Ulm, Germany as a Construction Supervisor at a tunnel construction.
He is the member of Baross Gábor Vocational Dormitory (since 2015
Winkler Gábor Vocational Dormitory) since 2011.

Attila Németh5, junior lecturer, MSc in Civil


He is a chartered Infrastructural-Civil
Engineer and university instructor, besides he is
a student at Multidisciplinary Doctoral School of
Engineering Sciences at Széchenyi István
University. He graduated the Civil Engineering
BSc in 2013 at the Széchenyi István University,
Győr, and in January, 2015 he graduated the
Infrastructural Civil Engineering in MSc course
at the Faculty of Architecture, Civil- and
Transport Engineering. During his studies, he worked as demonstrator fellow
and in several work of research and development as laboratory assistant. After
graduating, he worked a half year in asphalt mix location of COLAS
Hungária Zrt. in Töltéstava like laboratory technologist. He interests about the
railway engineering. His doctoral research is included in this area, which topic is
the modelling and investigation of application of polymer composite glued and
insulated rail fishplates.
He is the member of Baross Gábor Vocational Dormitory (since 2015
Winkler Gábor Vocational Dormitory).





1.1. Railway track

In this section could be read only a schematic summary of the parts of the
railway track. Later on it will be presented more detailed. The easiest way to
learn about the exact set-up of a railway track, it is the railway cross section. By
way of introduction, let’s see a single track railway cross section (Fig. 1.1). The
structure is separated into two main structure elements: substructure (or
subgrade, Part I), and superstructure (Part II). The parts of each structure
elements are the followings:
 substructure: subgrade and protection layer,
 superstructure: ballast, sleepers, baseplates, fastenings and rails.

Fig. 1.1: Railway track cross section – single track [Horvát, 2015b]

Moreover, it is not enough to learn the different parts of the railway track, but
their exact attributes, and functions have to be known. The following definitions
can give some help to understand them.

1.2. Definitions

Substructure: Generally each part of the railway track belongs to substructure,

which has to fulfil the tasks as belows:
 to implement of the railway track position in space,
 to tolerate the forces generated by traffic,
 to give protection against weather influences, meteoric water and
 to ensure transition over / under natural and artificial hindrances,
 to ensure connection conditions of level crossing,
 to help to fulfil the tasks of railway service and track maintenance.

Railway track earthwork: The platform upon which the track superstructure is
constructed. Mostly it is made out of soil material. Task: to distribute the dead
weight of railway track and traffic loads.

Top of subgrade: Top level of the compacted earthwork on planned level and
with planned inclination.

Subsoil: Natural soil under earthwork.

Retaining structure: Structure designed to restrain soil to unnatural slopes.

Groundwater level (m): the level of the water table, the upper surface or top of
the saturated portion of the soil or bedrock layer that indicates the uppermost
extent of groundwater. It can be expressed as a height above a datum, such as
sea level, or a depth from the surface.
Standard level of groundwater: the measured maximum height + 0.5 m.

Soil replacement: Unacceptable soils (e.g. organic soils, frost sensitive soils)
must be removed and replaced by an acceptable soil.

Subgrade improvement: In cases where the subgrade is too weak or has to low
stiffness, the resulting high cost of track maintenance may dictate the need to
improve the subgrade conditions. Alternatives are the followings:
 modification of the subgrade properties without removal or disturbance
(e.g. jet grouting),

 modification of properties by reconstruction (e.g. compaction,

replacement, admixture stabilization),
 strengthening of subgrade (e.g. with asphalt concrete layer)
[Horvát, 2015b].

1.3. Requirements to railway earthwork

Railway earthwork has to be designed and constructed on the basis of

following principles:
 it has to fulfil its task during its lifespan with safety,
 it has to be stable during the construction period and in its final
condition as well,
 it can be used for the planed goals economically,
 it has to be avoided the appearance of unacceptable deformations on
earthwork surface,
 it has to be resistant against influences of weather, meteoric water and
 it has to be technically harmonized with the other constructed adjacent
facilities of railway track (e.g. electric cable conduit, catenary supports),
 it needs only few maintenance and/or repair works in operation,
 it hast to comply with the environmental and esthetic aspects.

In plan of railway track earthwork has to be determined the requirements of load

bearing capacity and usability correctly.
In support layer of ballasted track has to be avoided or compensated the sharp
change in stiffness (e.g. section between ballasted and ballastless (e.g. mass
spring system=MSS) track [MÁV, 2014].


2.1. Set-up of railway earthwork

2.1.1. Layer structure of the railway track

The schematically layer structure can be seen in Fig. 2.1.

Fig. 2.1: Set-up of layer structure [MÁV, 2014]

Thickness „kv” of protection layer has to be calculated based on geotechnical

report. Minimum thickness is 20 cm.

2.1.2. Set-up of cross section

Because of the changing of the railway alignment (straight sections, curves,

etc.), there are different cross section set-ups. Here only two types are presented:
straight section without superelevation (Fig. 2.2), and section in curve with
using of superelevation (Fig. 2.3).

Fig. 2.2: Cross section, fill and cut, single ballasted track, straight, without
superelevation [MÁV, 2014]

Fig. 2.3: Cross section, fill and cut, single ballasted track, in curve with
superelevation [MÁV, 2014]

Legend in Figures 2.2-2.3:

 “sk.” top of rail,
 “v1” and “v2”: width of ballast shoulder (in curve can be different),
 “p”: width of track bench,
 “e%”: cross inclination of protection layer,
 “m”: superelevation,
 “há”: efficient thickness of ballast,
 “kv”: thickness of protection layer,
 “k1” and “k2”: side widths on subgrade,
 “k”: total width of subgrade,
 “1:n”: inclination of slope,
 “ám”: depth of ditch,

 “ász”: width of ditch.

Inclination of plane of subgrade/protection layer is 4-5%.

In case of single track the direction of inclination of subgrade plane has to be

(as far as possible) equal with direction of superelavation. Change in inclination
direction can be executed at bridge or level crossing. Length of transition section
is 5 m.
Inaccuracy of the plane of subgrade/protection layer can be not greater than
20 mm, on a base with length of 4 m.

Inaccuracy of slope surfaces can be maximum 50 mm.

Inaccuracy of height of subgrade can be ±30 mm, in case of height of

protection layer can be not greater than ±20 mm [MÁV, 2014].

2.1.3. Shape and dimensional requirements of cross sections

With the cross sectional set-up of earthwork all shape and dimension
requirements have to be ensured, which are necessary for its stability, for the
safety of railway traffic, and for the suitable behavior of track in operation.

Determining factors of cross sectional dimensions:

 design speed of the track (e.g. width of track bench depends on speed),
 dimensions of clearance gauge,
 number of tracks and distance between track axes,
 horizontal track geometry (e.g. curve radius),
 height of superelevation,
 track characteristic (fishplated or CWR),
 set-up of superstructure (e.g. type of rail, length of sleepers, etc.),
 dimension of efficient ballast thickness,
 width of ballast shoulder and inclination of ballast slope,
 requirements of protection layer (e.g. thickness),
 cross inclination of plane of subgrade,
 dewatering requirements (e.g. ditches),
 set-up of connecting facilities (e.g. platform),

 place demand of maintenance works (e.g. ballast material storage on

track bench),
 placement requirements of facilities along the track (e.g. catenary masts)
[MÁV, 2014].

2.2. Basic definitions related to substructure

Action (F):
a) set of forces (loads) applied to the structure (direct action),
b) set of imposed deformations or accelerations caused for example, by
temperature changes, moisture variation, uneven settlement or
earthquakes (indirect action).

Effect of action (E): Effect of actions (or action effect) on structural members,
(e.g. internal force, moment, stress, strain) or on the whole structure (e.g.
deflection, rotation).

Permanent action (G): Action that is likely to act throughout a given reference
period and for which the variation in magnitude with time is negligible, or for
which the variation is always in the same direction (monotonic) until the action
attains a certain limit value.

Variable action (Q): Action for which the variation in magnitude with time is
neither negligible nor monotonic.

Accidental action (A): Action, usually of short duration but of significant

magnitude, that is unlikely to occur on a given structure during the design
working life.

Geotechnical action: Action transmitted to the structure by the ground, fill or


Static action: Action that does not cause significant acceleration of the structure
or structural members.

Dynamic action: Action that causes significant acceleration of the structure or

structural members.

Quasi-static action: Dynamic action represented by an equivalent static action in

a static model.

Load arrangement: Identification of the position, magnitude and direction of a

free action.

Load case: Compatible load arrangements, sets of deformations and

imperfections considered simultaneously with fixed variable actions and
permanent actions for a particular verification.

Limit states: States beyond which the structure no longer fulfils the relevant
design criteria.

Ultimate limit states: States associated with collapse or with other similar forms
of structural failure.

Resistance: Capacity of a member or component, or a cross-section of a member

or component of a structure, to withstand actions without mechanical failure e.g.
bending resistance, buckling resistance, tension resistance.

Strength: Mechanical property of a material indicating its ability to resist

actions, usually given in units of stress.

Reliability: Ability of a structure or a structural member to fulfil the specified

requirements, including the design working life, for which it has been designed.
Reliability is usually expressed in probabilistic terms.

Serviceability limit states: States that correspond to conditions beyond which

specified service requirements for a structure or structural member are no longer

Characteristic value of an action (Fk): Principal representative value of an


Representative value of an action (Frep): Value used for the verification of a

limit state. A representative value may be the characteristic value (F k) or an
accompanying value (Ψ×Fk).

Design value of an action (Fd): Value obtained by multiplying the

representative value by the partial factor γf.

Combination of actions: Set of design values used for the verification of the
structural reliability for a limit state under the simultaneous influence of
different actions.

Stress: Effect of action in a part of supporting structure (e.g. inner force,

moment, strain, deformation) or in a whole structure (e.g. inclination, turning-

Zone under pressure: Part of subgrade / natural ground / foundation, attacked by

loads originated from railway traffic.

Maintenance: Set of activities performed during the working life of the structure
in order to enable it to fulfil the requirements for reliability.

Repair: Activities performed to preserve or to restore the function of a structure

that fall outside the definition of maintenance. [MÁV, 2014]

2.3. Permanent, variable and extreme effects

2.3.1. Permanent load (dead load)

Dead load of railway track has to put on the loaded surface as like an evenly-
distributed load.

Dead load in case of ballasted track, in case of V d≤200 km/h (“Vd”: design
 single track 12.5 kN/m2, in a width of 4.5 m,
 double track 12.5 kN/m2, in a width of 8.5 m.

Load width has to set symmetrically to the track axle (single track) or line
axle (double track).
In case of mass spring system the dead load has to be calculated from data of
structural geometry and density of materials used [MÁV, 2014].

2.3.2. Load of vehicle

In Fig. 2.4, the static design load (above), and the equivalent load (below),
parallel, and in Fig. 2.5 the equivalent evenly-distributed load, perpendicular to
the longitudinal axis of the track can be seen.

The connected line load (80 kN/m) can be changed on a surface load
26.7 kN/m2, with a width of 3.0 m.

Fig. 2.4: Loads – parallel with the longitudinal axis [MÁV, 2014]

Fig. 2.5: Equivalent, evenly distributed load perpendicular to the longitudinal

axis of the track [MÁV, 2014]

2.3.3. Extraordinary load

Extraordinary loads are the seismic loads, in case of high earthwork and
retaining structure.

2.3.4. Others

In normal condition in case of geotechnical facilities it isn’t necessary to take

into account the temperature effects.
In case of retaining structures temperature effects have to be taken into
account, if the harmful temperature stresses can’t be avoided.
The effect of the longitudinal loads generated by railway vehicles
(e.g. breaking) can be neglected, except supporting and retaining structures
(e.g. abutment) [MÁV, 2014].

2.3.5. Dynamic load

The dynamic load of the track can be calculated from the static loads
[Horvát, 2015b]:

𝑄𝑑𝑦𝑛 = (1 + 𝑡 ∙ 𝑠̅ ) ∙ 𝑄𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡 (2.1.)

𝑠̅ = 𝑛 ∙ 𝜑 (2.2.)

𝜑 =1+ 140

 „Qdyn”: dynamic load,
 „Qstat”: static load,
 „t”: distribution factor, if t=3 the accuracy of calculation is 99.7%,
 „n”: 0.1…0.3 (depends on the condition of track),
 „”: speed factor,
 „V”: speed in km/h dimension.

2.4. Set-up of layer structure, load spread

2.4.1. Loaded surfaces and compressive stresses

The layer structure of a railway track, and the propagation of the normal
wheel load (125 kN) is shown in Fig. 2.6.

Fig. 2.6: Layer structure, and the load of each layers [Horvát, 2015b]

From this load, each parts and layers have to carry the following loads:
 rail:
 contact surface: 3 cm2,
 load: 42,000 N/cm2,
 baseplate:
 contact surface: 200 cm2,
 load: 420 N/cm2,
 sleeper:
 contact surface: 510 cm2,
 load: 170 N/cm2,
 ballast:
 contact surface: 2,380 cm2,
 load: 37 N/cm2,

 subgrade/protective layer:
 contact surface: 10,100 cm2,
 load: 10 N/cm2.

These loads are construed on the surface of each layer.

The spreading of the loads could be approximated with a trapezoidal shape,

as seen in Fig. 2.7.

Fig. 2.7: Approximate assumption of the spreading of the load [Horvát, 2015b]

2.4.2. Vertical stresses in the layer structure under the sleeper

As it is can be seen on Fig. 2.8, the magnitude of vertical stresses are sinking
with the increasing of the depth. Most of the load has to be carried by the surface
of the upper half of ballast (~70% of the original wheel load). The surface of the
protection layer has to carry approximately 50% of the wheel load. This is
followed by the surface of the subgrade with ~30%.

Fig. 2.8: Propagation of the loads, with load dividing approximations

[Horvát, 2015b]

Figures 2.9-2.10 show this fact more expressive. By reason of this, the
material and the density (which are affecting the bearing capacity) of each layers
had to be chosen properly.

Fig. 2.9: Propagation of the vertical loads under the sleeper [Horvát, 2015b]

Fig. 2.10: Vertical stresses in the layer structure under the sleepers, taking
account the adjacent sleepers [Horvát, 2015b]

2.4.3. Compressive stress on subgrade

Compressive stress on the subgrade is generated by vehicles (track’s dead

load can be negligible). Function of compressive stress against the depth can be
calculated according to C. Esveld with formula as below:

2𝑝 𝑏 2𝑏 𝑧
𝜎𝑧 = 𝜋
∙ [𝑎𝑟𝑐𝑡𝑔 (2𝑧1 ) + 𝑏2 +4𝑧
2] (2.4.)

 „p”: compressive stress on the bottom plane of sleepers (N/mm2),
 „b1”: width of sleeper in the bottom plane (mm),
 „z”: depth under bottom plane of sleeper (mm).

2.4.4. Serviceability limit state of the subgrade

Railway subgrade is suitable in regard of serviceability limit, in case of:

 it can take the deformations generated by railway traffic,
 the geometrical inaccuracy of the rails caused by these deformations can
be repaired by maintenance works (Fig. 2.11),
 it can take the vibrations caused by railway traffic,
 don’t occur vibrations threating the safety of railway traffic,
 vibrations don’t cause damages in superstructure (e.g. fracture in
elements of fastenings) [MÁV, 2014].

Fig. 2.11: Acceptable deformation in one renewal cycle, in case of ballasted

track [MÁV, 2014]

2.5. Density and load bearing capacity of railway earthwork

2.5.1. Density of the railway earthwork

Requested density values (according to D.11 regulation [MÁV, 2014]):

 in protection layer Trρ=98%,
 in barrier layer Trρ=96%,
 below the barrier layer Trρ=94%,
 in backfill of engineering structures Trρ=98%,
 other places Trρ=92%.

These values could be reached with adequate compression. To decide he

method of compression, and the compressing device, we have to take into
consider the type of the soil, and the required (and prescribed) bearing capacities
[MÁV, 2014].

2.5.2. Measurement of load bearing capacity

In general, there are two main types of bearing capacity measurement: static
and dynamic. Each method is adequate enough for proper usage. The differences
between these methods could be read in the following. Static measurement

The main goal of this process is to measure the setting of the soil in the
function of loading, and the load had to be applied slowly, almost statically. The
parts of the needed apparatus can be seen in Fig. 2.12.

Fig. 2.12: Schematic drawing of a static loading plate device [Horvát, 2015b]

Fig. 2.13 presents the principle of the measurement.

Fig. 2.13: Static measurement according to Hungarian Standard

[Horvát, 2015b]

The process of the measurement is the following:

 putting the loading plate on a strictly horizontal surface,
 a heavy counterweight is needed to hold up the device,
 loading the plate gradually, until 300 kPa, with measuring the loading
force and the setting,
 releasing the load,
 repeating the loading phase.

The outcome of the measurement is the settlement in mm, which have to be

used during the calculation and evaluation. Evaluation of the measurement
(according to Hungarian Standard [MSZ, 1989]):

(1−𝜇2 )∙𝜋 𝐷 3 𝐷 3 0,3 67,5

𝐸2𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡 = 4
∙ 𝑝 ∙ 𝑠 = 4 ∙ 𝑝 ∙ 𝑠 = 4 ∙ 300 ∙ 𝑠2
= 𝑠2
2 2

 „”:Poisson’s ratio,
 „p”: stress (kPa),
 „D”: diameter of loading plate (m),
 „s2”: measures settlement in second loading (mm).
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 38 Measurement by light falling weight deflectometer

The goal of this method is similar to the previous, but now, the load had to be
dynamically applied on the plate. This method is a little bit inaccurate, compared
to the static method, but this not means it would not be adequate for

The setup of the device can be seen in Fig. 2.14.

Fig. 2.14: Light falling weight deflectometer [Horvát, 2015b]

The process of the measurement is the following:

 putting the plate on a strictly horizontal surface,
 letting the weight fall on the plate 3 times (without measurement, for
fixing the position),
 switching on the device,
 letting the weight fall on plate 3 times, with measurement of loading
force and setting.

The small-plate light falling weight deflectometer measures:

 the conventional dynamic modulus, as the bearing capacity,
 and it is able to calculate the degree of compactness from the
compaction curve generated as the result of the drops.

Tool is allowed to use only in case of coarse-grained soils for purpose of

qualification [Horvát, 2015b]. Requested values of E2stat and Ed modulus in Hungarian regulation

The requested values (according to Hungarian regulation [MÁV, 2014]) can

be seen in Table 2.1.

Table 2.1: Requested E2stat és Edin moduli [MÁV, 2014]

Modulus Speed (km/h)
V<40 40–80 80–120 121–160 161–250
E2stat (MPa) 50 60 80 100 120
Edyn (MPa) 35 35 40 45 50

Negative deviation is prohibited. Values regard on upper plane of protection

layer and in absence of it for the upper plane of the subgrade.

Pairs of values of E2stat and Edyn summarized in Table 2.1 aren’t allowed to
get pairs of values with correlation! There is a great difference between two
measuring methods: static plate test and light falling weight test. During static
loading the pore-water pressure has stopped partly. In dynamic measurement
pore-water can cause significant increase in load bearing capacity [MÁV, 2014].


3.1. The roles of the protection layers

The railway track needs permanent support from the substructure. Because of
this, a multifunctional protection layer has to be constructed between the ballast
and the crown of the substructure. These have natural or synthetic structures, and
the evolving depends on its future tasks and the technical parameters of the used

The protection layer performs the following tasks, but in the practical cases,
doesn’t have to solve all in the same time [MÁV, 2014].

Load distribution function: reducing the traffic induced stress at the bottom of
the ballast layer to a tolerable level for the top of subgrade.

Reinforcement function: getting the upper loads from the railway track, and
forwarding them to the substructure.

Separation function: preventing the mixing of the ballast and the substructure,
so prevents the fine soils’ pumping up effect.

Protecting the substructure from water: protecting the crown of water sensitive
substructure from the rain falls and the capillarity effect.

Dewatering: intercepting water coming from the ballast and directing it away
from the subgrade to ditches of the track.

Filtration function: preventing upward migration of fine material emanating

from the subgrade.

Protection function: protecting the subgrade against precipitate and frost.

Vibration reducing function: reducing the traffic’s vibration from the top to the

It is clear from the foregoing enumeration that the possible protection layer
between the substructure and the ballast has protective (rain fall, frost, mixed
layers, screener effect) and reinforcement (optimal load distribution,
reinforcement) function. Of course, these functions depend on the properties of
the materials.

At the most cases, the protection layers have to solve combined tasks, like the
protective-reinforcement functions together.

The different materials of the protection layers give various requirements for
the structures and constructions.

At the design of the railway protection layers, the designer has to take
account that the soil mechanical and the hydraulic abilities can change very fast.
To know the exact parameters, excavations are needed in every 100-300 meters
distances. The soil mechanical and hydraulically parameters can be different in
different seasons also.

The protection layer has to be designed to satisfy the prescribed conditions

(adequate thickness, compaction, bearing capacity).

On available railway line, in the case of renewal and reinforcement works the
technological method has to be appropriate to the requirements of the bearing
capacity and applicability [MÁV, 2014].

Protection layer reinforcement effect is shown in Fig. 3.1.

Figure 3.1: The protection layers’ reinforcement effect [MÁV, 1999]


3.2. The types of the protection layers

The types of the protection layers are the followings:

 stabilizations, Consolid technology,
 coarse-grained materials (CGM1 and CGM2),
 asphalt protection layer,
 expanded polystyrene slabs,
 geosynthetics.

The types of the stabilizations:

 mechanical stabilization,
 lime stabilization,
 cement stabilization,
 Consolid, chemical stabilization.

Types of the geosynthetics:

 geotextile,
 geomembran,
 one-, two- (bi-), or three axial geogrid,
 geocomposit.

3.3. The materials of the protection layers

3.3.1. Protection layer from fine materials Protection layers from fine materials above V>120 km/h velocity

To hinder the drenching of subgrade quasi-watertight material has to be used.

It is called coarse-grained mixture 1=CGM1 (Fig. 3.2). This layer is separated
from subgrade by geotextile. The CGM1 has relative higher fine-grained soil
content. This mixture is very sensitive to excess of the optimal construction
water content [Horvát, 2015b].

Requirements to CGM1 layers:

 the mixture has to be produced from crushed stone particles and natural
round shaped particles:
 mass percent of crushed stone particles min. 30%,
 mass percent of round shaped particles min. 30%,
 it is allowed to produce the mixture from crushed stone particles in
100%, if the requirements of compactness and load bearing capacity
after construction is fulfilled according to the previous tests.
 the grain-size distribution curve has to be between the border lines,
 inequality factor has to be Cu≥15, it ensure a suitably stable behaviour
against dynamic effects,
 particles’ diameter must be min. 32 mm max. 63 mm,
 water permeability coefficient k≤1×10–6 m/s at Trρ=100% compactness
 frost resistance is suitable, if fine particle content d≤0,02 mm isn’t
higher than 3 mass percent at Cu≥15 value.

Fig. 3.2: The border-curves of the CGM1mix [MÁV, 2014]

Characteristics of the mixture have to be ensured and controlled in mine. It is

prohibited to modify the characteristics at place of construction (Fig. 3.3)
[Horvát, 2015b].

Fig. 3.3: Evolving of the CGM1 layer by substructure renewal machine chain

In case of a subgrade produced with good water permeability feature the

protection layer is constructed from permeable coarse-grained material. This
material is called coarse-grained mixture 2=CGM2. Load bearing capacity of
CGM2 layer can be expected equal to CGM1 layer.

Requirements to CGM2 (Fig. 3.4) [MÁV, 2014]:

 grain-size distribution curve has to be between the border lines,
 inequality factor has to be Cu≥15, it ensure a suitably stable behaviour
against dynamic
 effects,
 particles’ diameter must be min. 45 mm max. 63 mm,
 water permeability coefficient k≥5×10–5 m/s at Trρ=100% compactness
 mass percent of crushed stone particles max. 30%, fraction 0/16,
 frost resistance is suitable, if fine particle content d≤0.063 mm isn’t
higher than 5 mass percent at Cu≥15 value.

Figure 3.4: The border-curves of the CGM2 mix [MÁV, 2014]

RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 46 Protection layer from fine materials below V≤120 km/h speed

Use of CGM1 and CGM2 material in tracks with speed V≤120 km/h is
possible but not compulsory.

Characteristics of course-grained material have to be quality controlled

(e.g. grain-size distribution, filtration function, etc.)

The thickness of the protection layer in case of V≤120 km ballasted tracks

should be min. 30 cm, but it can’t be below 20 cm. Due to requirements of frost
protection or load bearing capacity the thickness can be higher than 30 cm.

The using of coarse-grained material can be used if the checking of the

quality is continuous and the transport is also checked [MÁV, 2014]. Needlessness of the coarse-grained protection layer

At service and organizer stations, if there is no velocity growing, the new

coarse grained protection layer can be neglected. The other requirements are the
following [Horvát, 2015b]:
 the load bearing capacity of subgrade is suitably high and equable,
 there is no frost sensitive soil under the surface of subgrade,
 there is no problems between ballast and subgrade in function of
filtration and separation,
 there is no water sensitive material in the barrier layer of subgrade,
 it isn’t necessary to protect the subgrade against the penetrating
contaminations. The designing table of the protection layer

For design a protection layer, the necessary data can be seen on the following
figure (Figure 3.5.) If the E2 data of the soil is given, the necessary protection
layer can be read down. If other E2,protection layer is needed, the data can be
calculated by interpolation.

Fig. 3.5: Designing diagram for the reinforcement growing protection layer
[MÁV, 2014]

There are two possibilities to determine the values of modulus E2, subgrade:
 to execute static plate tests in suitable number according to standard and
thereafter planning values can be calculated with taking in account of
geotechnical and hydrological data (Table 3.1),
 if there aren’t data in necessary quantity and quality, than the planning
values should be determined with help of Table 3.1.

Table 3.1: Recommended planning values of modulus E2, subgrade [MÁV, 2014]
Recommended values of modulus
E2, subgrade (N/mm2) ont he top surface of
Subgrade Grain-size
material D0.1 mm
If the sign of hydrological case
1 1/2 2 2/3 3
Silty or clayey
10…20% 60 45 30 25 20
Silty or clayey
10…20% 50 35 25 22,5 20
Strongly silty or 20…30% 40 30 20 17.5 15
clayey gravel or
30% 30 20 15 10 10
easily drift 25 20 15 10 10
Silt and clay soft 25 20 15 12.5 10
very soft 20 17.5 15 12.5 10

The details of the hydrological cases [MÁV, 2014]:

 Hydrological case No. 1:
 subgrade surface is well dewatered,
 there isn’t periodic drenching to a depth of 1.5 m from the rail head
level (consistence index Ic is above 1.00 permanently).
 Hydrological case No. 2:
 dewatering of subgrade surface is inadequate,
 above the depth of 1.5 m from the rail head level periodic drenching
can be occurred (consistence index Ic is between 0.75 and 1.00).
 Hydrological case No. 3:
 dewatering of subgrade isn’t solved, three is permanent on flow,
 above the depth of 1.5 m from the rail head level permanent
drenching is characteristic (consistence index Ic is lower than 0.75). The evolving of the coarse-grained protection layer

The most important evolving rules are the followings [MÁV, 2014]:
 The protection layer can be built only if the substructure has adequate
bearing capacity, until the edge of the crown.
 The thickness of the protection layer must be consistent to give the
adequate support to the sleepers. (A longer section is min. 300 meters.)
 If there is a protection layer, there must be a 10 meters long section
before and after the given section, to running out the different support.

 Prevent the failures that come from the frost effect.

 The compaction of the coarse-grained layer has to be adequate. At one
compaction method, the layer can’t be larger than 30 cm. The
compaction must be done by staggered method.
 Do not have to remove the larger water pockets, if these have no
negative effects, or the removal method is very expensive.

Set-ups of superstructural drainage and ditch are presented in

Figures 3.6-3.7.

Fig. 3.6: Evolving of drainage between two railway tracks [MÁV, 2014]

Fig. 3.7: Evolving of the ditch [MÁV, 2014]

3.3.2. Stabilizations

If the soil of the embankment is mixed by binders, and stabilized every layer
 growing the soil’s shear strength,
 growing the bearing capacity,

 better compaction, and

 watertight layer can be reached.

The stabilization of the embankment can be happened by different binding

materials and different technologies. New process can be used only if it has
official license.

The construction has to be according to the local circumstances, and the

detailed technological issues. These have to be the followings:
 short description of the method,
 the preparing of the area,
 quality checking of the type of the binders, materials, and requirements,
 the checking of the construction and the technological requirements,
 the creating of the surface and the compaction,
 the aftercare,
 quality checking of the constructed layer (from laboratory specimen and
local investigations),
 work and environmental safety.

The technology of the stabilization is success in case of the drainage is well

designed and constructed. Not just the rain falls are important, the capillarity
effects are important also.

If there are no binding materials, mechanical stabilization should be created

by earthwork machines or other large machine technology. Cement stabilization

In the most cases, this is a great technology for growing the bearing capacity
at clay and slurry soils. But it is exceptionally applicable. The necessary volume
of the cement is determined at laboratory investigation.

For the cement stabilization (Fig. 3.8), usually the type of CEM II., sign N,
32.5 strength class cement has to be used.

The requirements of the cement is in the MSZ EN 197-1 and -2

[CEN, 2011b; CEN, 2014], the investigations are in MSZ EN 196-1…7

[CEN, 2005; CEN, 2013c; CEN, 2009; CEN, 2011c; CEN, 2010c; CEN, 2008b]

After the effect of the friction and the temperature change, transversal cracks
are evolved in the cement stabilized layer. In the concreted layer, the traffic can
create newer cracks.

Fig. 3.8: The process of the cement stabilization [Horvát, 2015b] Lime stabilization

The lime stabilization is adequate at the case of clay soils, sand flours, silty
gravel or slurry gravel. The best result can be reached at medium and fat clays,
but it is efficient at lean clay and slurry soils also. The soil isn’t allowed to
include sulfates or other harmful organisms. These materials can cause extra
swelling that isn’t permissible.

For the lime stabilization, the use of limestone or lime hydrate is possible.
The applied quick-lime has to be fitted to the requirements of MSZ EN 459-1
[CEN, 2011d] standard. The investigations of the stabilization have to be done
as it described in the MSZ EN 459-2 [CEN, 2011e] standard.

The lime stabilization can create fast dry effect and significant growing of the
bearing capacity. If drying effect needs, burnt lime can solve the problem. If
more stabilization needs, the using of lime hydrate suggested. In the case of
extraordinary dry soil, lime milk can solve the problem.

In case of ground limestone is applied, the lime is hydrated and takes up

water as well as generates heat that evaporates some water. The plasticity index
is decreasing, the soil is workable. The bonding ability of the lime in the soil is
continuous that creates bearing capacity growing. The soil’s resistance against
compressive effect improves.

Technological steps:
 preparation of the soil, softening, creating a homogeny grain – by
softening tools (e.g. plow),
 spreading the lime, seriously evenly (the volume is determined by
laboratory investigations),
 mixing the soil and the lime: professional machines can work in 40 cm
depth, the agricultural machines can work in 30 cm depth (Fig. 3.9.),
 compaction: directly after the mixing until the whole depth (Fig. 3.9.).

Effect: fat clay (w=25%, Ip=43%, E2=10-15 MPa) the water content can be
reduced by fat lime stabilization, to 10-15%, the bearing capacity is grown to
40-45 MPa.

Fig. 3.9: The process of the lime stabilization [Horvát, 2015b] Chemical stabilization, Consolid technology

The Consolid technology is a soil improvement method that has two types of
aggregate, the liquid Consolid 444 and the Solidry. After the allocation was
happened, the fine particles of the soil is agglomerated. The mixture of the soil
and the aggregates can be compacted easier, the compacted soil will be

watertight. Consequently, the strength of the soil will be grown also. The
resistance of the moisture sensitivity makes it appropriate material to construct a
protection layer, to grow the bearing capacity and to make it watertight.

The Solidry is a concentrate that surrounds the particles of the cement and
lime hydrate mixture. It decreases or terminates the capillarity effect and water
absorption and improves the cohesion of the soil.

The mixing method is at the workplace or at the preparing park. In case of it

is saturated by ground water or high volume rain fall, the method can’t be
carried out. The surplus water needs drainage promoting intervention. If the soil
is frosty or the temperature of the air is also below zero, the operation isn’t
allowed to solve.

So the Consolid technology enables that the substructure isn’t exposed to

water coming from above. For this reason, it is significantly important the
dewatering of the track, because the staying water on the agglomerated soil can
damage the stabilized soil. The function of the coarse-grained layer is the
dewatering of the capillarity and interrupting the increasing of the ground water

Summaries the advantages of the Consolid technology:

 the compaction is more easier, because of the lost pore water,
 queasy or full watertight property, reduced or no capillarity effect,
 reducing or removal of the water sensitivity,
 the bulk density of the soil is grown, after the consolidation it is growing
 reducing plasticity and swelling.

The disadvantages of the Consolid technology:

 if the soil isn’t adequate for mixing, new soil is needed. The new soil is
transported from another place, and it has to be mixed with the “bad”
 the extreme weather can influence and grow the construction.

3.3.3. Asphalt protection layer

On the embankment that has weak bearing capacity and a watertight layer is
needed, a bitumen bounded asphalt mixture (Fig. 3.10) can be an optimal
solution to build in. The asphalt mixture that is used for road constructions can
be a perfect reinforcement layer on the substructure. The good bearing capacity
and the separation function are equally great. If the soil has low E 2 modulus the
growing of the bearing capacity is significant, thanks to the distribution of the
static and dynamic loads from the railway traffic on greater area. After the effect
of the more advantages, the change of the forms is reduced, and the lifetime of
the track’s geometry is grown. The aging is slowing so the maintenance costs
can be less also. However the construction of the asphalt protection layer is
expensive, in long run the life-time cost shows more economic effect than the
other protection layers. After the construction, the time of the cooling is six
hour. Thereafter the ballast can be spread.

Fig. 3.10: The section of Lébény-Mosonmagyaróvár asphalt protection layer

[Balázs Eller’s photo]

Summarized, the application of the asphalt protection layers has the

following advantages [Horvát, 2015b]:
 distributing and moderating the static and dynamic loads from the
railway traffic,

 reducing the form-change evolving,

 separation,
 reducing the dangerous of frost,
 reducing the noise and vibration effects,
 resistance against the capillarity,
 evolving a stable substructure crown that ensures the track geometry,
 reducing the costs of the maintenance works.

At the evolving of the asphalt protection layer, the following rules are
important [MÁV, 2014]:
 the constructed thickness must be minimum 12 cm,
 the asphalt layer has to be taken out to the edge of the substructure
crown, the connecting slope has to be reinforced because of the higher
dewatering from the protection layer, protection against erosion is
 determinate at design: the type of the asphalt, the volume of the binders,
the volume of the air voids, spreading temperature, Marshall flow and
stabilization are necessary,
 at the select of the type of the asphalt, it is necessary to take into account
the local conditions,
 coarse-grain material has to be built between the crown of the
substructure and the asphalt layer (sandy gravel crushed stone, etc.), the
particle size distribution depends on the properties of the soil of the

Fig. 3.11 shows a Hungarian recommendation in the case of asphalt

protection layer.

Fig. 3.11: Hungarian recommendation in the case of asphalt protection layer

[MÁV, 1999]

3.3.4. Expanded polystyrene slabs

In addition to thermal insulation, another advantage of the expanded

polystyrene is the elasticity. This material has high compressive and bending
strength. The hydration is negligible, so the frost resistance of the slabs is
adequate for using. Because of the long lifetime, the aging and the dry-rotting
isn’t important in this case. The dead load is weak and it makes the polystyrenes
slabs easily workable. These factors make the expanded polystyrenes applicable
for the building into or below the superstructure.

Previous investigations show that 1 cm thick polystyrene is equal to approx.

10 cm thick original frost protection layer. The ballast is compressing to the
upper 1 cm, but in a 6 cm thick slab, 5 cm can work on the frost protection. It
can be said that 5 cm slab replaces approx. 50 cm coarse-grained frost protection
layer. Thanks to this, the substructure is protected from the circumstances of the
extreme winter times. The temperature of the embankment isn’t decreased below
the freezing-point.

Because of the evolving, the XPS slabs are full watertight. The closed pores
aren’t allowed to let the water and the fine particles to going through the slab.
These will be lead on the surface of the slab. The laying of the slabs is easy to
solve, connections are evolved by simple lap-joint. The gap of the connections is
mm-sized, the load of the rail traffic makes it closed. In the case of vertical gaps,
the fine particle obstructs them so the watertight effect is permanent. If the gaps
don’t close adequate, the mudded effect is negligible.

The service loads from the traffic is distributed, so the transferred loads to the
substructure is decreased. Thanks to the load distributing surface, the peaks of
the transfer loads on the substructure are decreased by 35-45%, the vibration
effects from the dynamic loads are decreased by 20-50% [Weinreich, 1996].

Austrian investigation proved that any thickness can be used effectively but
the minimal thickness of the polystyrene slabs has to be 6 cm. According to
these parameters, this technology was built into the superstructure between Pécs
and Szentlőrinc, in 500-m-length. It works properly since 1996. Furthermore it
was applied in Hungary in 2015 on the line of tram No. 1. The laying methods
were the same like in the railway experiences [Csépke, 2015].

Fig. 3.12: The structure of the layers in the case of expanded polystyrene
protection layer, at the Pécs-Szentlőrinc section [Balázs Eller’s figure]

Experiences proved that it can be built in by a modified screener machine.

The coarse-grain materials are negligible, the problems are the damages during
the laying of the slabs.

3.3.5. Geosynthetics Applying and task

The applicable geosynthetics have to be selected to grant the solving of the

future problems. Of course the possible circumstances have to be determined.
Next to a coarse-grain layer, the geosynthetics solve the following properties:
 geotextile: separation filtration, dewatering in the level of the textile,
 geogrid: reinforcement,
 geomembrane: dewatering, separation,
 geocomposit: combined tasks.

The general conditions of the geogrid technology in aspect of the soil’s

quality [MÁV, 2014]:
 pH-value of the surrounding soil should be between 5 and 9, if
geosynthetic isn’t alkali-proof (e.g. polyester), it can’t be contacted with
soil contains lime or cement and fresh concrete,
 in case of alkali-proof geosynthetic, pH-value can be higher than 9.

The general conditions of the laying of the geogrids [MÁV, 2014]:

 geosynthetics has to be put on flat subgrade or protection layer surface
which has a side inclination of 4-5%,
 biaxial geosynthetics should be used,

 geosynthetics should be put on the surface perpendicular to the

longitudinal axis of the track,
 geotextiles should be put on the surface with overlapping of min. 30 cm,
in case of geogrids and geocomposites the overlapping should be
min. 50 cm,
 generally design of load bearing connection at overlapping isn’t
 the geosynthetics laid on surface should be covered with granular
material with depth of min. 20 cm, which is produced according to
 run of machines or transport vehicles direct on geosynthetic (without
filling granulate) is prohibited,
 direct connection between geosynthetic and machine at covering and
compacting work of granulate should be avoided. Geotextiles

Important parameters from point of view of applicability in railway track:

 physical properties (mass/unit area, nominal thickness, pore volume),
 mechanical properties (apparent pore size distribution, tensile strength,
elongation at breaking, puncture strength),
 hydraulic properties (water permeability, in-plane transmissivity,
filtration ability),
 resistance properties (chemical, physical, frost and other environmental

The necessary parameters in the aspect of the tasks of the railway

superstructure [MÁV, 1999]:
 tensile strength: simple pulling of the width given specimen, while the
transversely stricture is prohibited, it has to be measured in the
longitudinal and transversal directions,
 strength after disruption: the local peak load at the place of the
disruption, it characterizes the resistance against the further disruption,
 untighten property: this property at the non-woven geotextiles are very
good, it is interpretive in the perpendicular and horizontal directions,
 filtration: determination the particle size distribution of the crossing
fines experimentally, dangerous of obstruction,

 physical and chemical resistance: the polymer material aren’t threatened

from the trains chemical effects, the UV radiation doesn’t have enough
time to destruct the structure of the polymer,
 frost protection: it isn’t rigid and breakable at the frosty temperature in
 resistance against the environmental circumstances (chemical,
microbiological, UV and frost).

Fig. 3.13: The tasks of the geotextiles [MÁV, 1999] Geogrids

The geogrids are synthetic nets in quadratic, rectangle or triangular shape for
strengthening the structure of the soil (or the ballast). The directions of
orientation of the loads are created during the manufacturing processes. The
orientation also passes through the intersections, while the other geogrids
intersections are evolved by welding-thawing. The strength of the crossings is
almost the same like the other ribs’ tensile strength, so it can be spoken about
rigid intersections. There are one axial (Figure 3.14.), two axial (Figure 3.15.)
and biaxial (Figure 3.16.) geogrids. The first is oriented in just one direction, the
other is oriented into both main directions. The principle of the biaxial geogrid is
that the triangular shapes can take the load from any direction. Thanks to this, it
has the highest the reinforcement effect.

Fig. 3.14: One axial geogrid [Tóth, 2012]

Fig. 3.15: Biaxial geogrid [Tóth, 2012]


Fig. 3.16: Three axial (Triax) geogrid [Balázs Eller’s photo]

The main rules of the design and construction methods of a geogrid

reinforcemented layer [MÁV, 2014; Horvát, 2015b]:
 if significantly reinforcement is needed, the aggregate material above
the geogrid must be crushed stone (ballast), but in other cases it can be
coarse-grain layer also,
 the aggregate’s particle size has to be determined according to the
applying hole size, because the interlocking effect is the result of these
 the applicable “geogrid+aggregate” structure has an effective thickness,
the thicker aggregate volume isn’t economic to design,
 if it is necessary, more “geogrids+aggregate” can be used, so the
constructed structure can be larger,
 if the soil of the embankment is bounded, geotextile is needed because
of the adequate separation function.

Fig. 3.17: The different principles at the geogrids and geotextiles

[Horvát, 2014]

The interlocking effect (closing shapes) has three different zones (Fig. 3.18).
In the first zone the interlocking effect isn’t significant. It is a resting zone. The
behaviour depends on the correlation between each other. The second zone is a
transition zone, the interlocking effect is increasing. The curve of the change
isn’t linear. The third zone is directly at the geogrid. At this point, the
interlocking effect is largely complete. The moving of the particles is very
limited, so in the upper 10 cm (above the geogrid) the internal shear stress
resistance is really high.

Fig. 3.18: Interlocking effect [Tensar, 2007; Tensar, 2013]

The brand new TriAx™ geogrid was introduced in 2008 by the Tensar
International (Fig. 3.16). This type has triaxial apertures. The tensile strength
was significantly less at the diagonal ribs than the original ribs. At the same
time, the forces are distributed in radial form. The triaxial geogrids prevents the
moving of the particles by the corresponding rigidity in every direction.

In case of comparison of the two and three axial geogrids (Fig. 3.19), the
orientation can be seen easily. The minimal rigidity of the Triax geogrid is also
more than the original biaxial geogrids. The axles are closer to each other, so
that is the key of the higher rigidness. The ribs of the geogrids are easily

Fig. 3.19: Comparing the load distributions [Horvát, 2015b]

As it was seen in Fig. 3.19, the load distribution is circular (Fig. 3.20).

Fig. 3.20: The load distribution in the soil above the geogrid [Tensar, 2013]

Fig. 3.21: The needed thickness of coarse-grain layer with reinforcement of

TENSAR SS geogrid, and without it. The E2 necessary=70 MPa (measurement of
Széchenyi University laboratory) [Horvát, 2015b]

Based on the Figures 3.21–3.22, with using geogrids, the necessary

protection layer thickness can be less than without geogrid. Some investigation
showed that the needed coarse-grain layer is thinner, so it is more economic.
Because of its small weight, human resource is enough to build it in. In case of
renewal works, it can be assembled to the machine chain also. Thanks to this, the
spread is very fast.

Fig. 3.22: The reinforcement effect of the geogrid [Tensar, 2007; Tensar, 2013]

The advantages of the mechanical stabilization by geogrid:

 approx. 3 times longer maintenance cycles, because of the better support
from the ballast, the track’s geometry is more permanent
 reduce the consolidation of the ballast, and the velocity of the aging
 thanks to the geogrid, the thickness of the protection layers can be less
significantly, it can reduce the thickness of the necessary ballast also,
 because of the necessary stone material, fewer transport machines are
needed, in this way the CO2 emission is reduced.

The disadvantages of the mechanical stabilization by geogrid:

 if the design gives too thin ballast thickness, the screener machine can
catch the synthetic grid that makes serious failure,
 it isn’t taking care of dewatering. Geomembranes

The geomembranes are continuous, elastic and water tight synthetic plates. It
has adequate tensile strength also. Thanks to the structured surface, there is
appropriate friction between the geomembrane and the tangential layers. The
primary using area is the water sensitive substructures, because it is a perfect
defend against the rainfall [MÁV, 1999]. A 10 cm coarse-grained layer is
needed up to the plate, to prevent the perforations of the ballast. The thickness
can be between 0.15-3.00 mm. The evolving of the surface can be smooth or
humped also. The humped form prevents the moving of the plates, and makes
the connections easier (Fig. 3.23).

Fig. 3.23: Geomembran with humps []

It can be used to hold the moisture level of the substructure’s soil. It is

important because of the soils that’s volume can change significantly
[Kézdi and Markó, 1974]. The geomembrane can prevent the raising of the
capillarity effect. The dewatering directs the ground water to the edge of the
substructure. Geocomposites

The geocomposite is two or more geosynthetics that are attached together.

The attaching method happens in factory, the ready material is transported to the
work field. The combinations can be made from all earlier mentioned

For example the geogrid and the geotextile make correct geocomposite. The
aim of this combination is to use the good properties of both materials. The
sandwich structure is a very advantageous solution if the substructure of the
railway track is water sensitive, because of the geocomposite’s filtration and
separation properties. Moreover the interlocking effect works also. Because of
the geogrid’s large pore volume, the fine materials could move up to the ballast
but the geotextile’s separation function prevents it. Just the geotextile can’t be
enough for growing the bearing capacity, but because of the geogrid it isn’t a
problem too.

Other important type is the drain duvet. The structure consists of a geogrid
between two geotextiles (Fig. 3.24). These are used for the evolving of the
correct drainage under the ballast.

Figure 3.24: Geocomposite (left: geotextile-geogrid-geomembran,

right: geotextile-geogrid-geotextile) [Tóth, 2012]




As it was showed in Chapter 1, railroads contain sub- and superstructure.

There are two different superstructure types:
 (traditional) ballast bedded (ballasted) superstructure,
 ballastless superstructure.

It has to be mentioned:
 98.8% of the railways are ballast bedded tracks (1.1 million km) and
1.2% are ballastless (mainly high-speed railways) and MAGLEV ones
in the world accordance to UIC’s data [Weinreich, 2011].
 Ballastless tracks are mainly used on bridges and in tunnels in Hungary.
 Maintenance works of ballast bedded and ballastless tracks
fundamentally differ from each other. Using ballast bedded tracks is
more disadvantageous solution due to quicker geometry deterioration
process than using of ballastless ones.

This book deals with only ballasted railway tracks because of reason
mentioned above as well as limited space. Ballastless tracks are discussed only
in short paragraphs.

Ballast bedded railway superstructure contains track (rails, rail fastenings,

sleepers) and ballast bed.

It is a frequent misunderstanding in the railway industry and among students,

and it is worth clarifying, that fishplate jointed and CWR (continuous welded
rail) tracks are not superstructure types but railway track types.

There are more well separable subtypes in the ballasted as well as in the
ballastless superstructures, these are the followings:
 ballasted superstructure:
 monoblock sleeper track (Fig. 4.1),
 biblock (or twin-block) sleeper track (Fig. 4.2),
 combined mixed sleeper track (combined using of mono- and
biblock sleeper track),
 lengthwise sleeper track (rails are supported by lengthwise
sleepers, track gauge is ensured by “gauge safety rods”),

 other special tracks, e.g. Y steel sleeper (Fig. 4.3), DB wide

sleeper (it is actually monoblock sleeper) (Fig. 4.4), ÖBB frame
sleeper tracks (Fig. 4.5), etc.
 ballastless superstructure:
 with discrete rail supports,
 sleepered tracks (Fig. 4.6),
 tracks without sleepers (in concrete structure)6
(Figures 4.7-4.8),
 prefabricated,
 monolithic (top down and glued superstructure),
 with continuous rail supports,
 with embedded rails (Fig. 4.9),
 with web or jacket element surrounded railed tracks (in
concrete structure)7 (Fig 4.10),
 prefabricated,
 monolithic.

Fig. 4.1: Monoblock sleeper track []

There is naturally this kind of superstructure type not only in case of concrete but e.g. steel
structure (on steel bridge), but this book doesn’t deal with it.
See previous note.

Fig. 4.2: Twin-block sleeper track []

Fig. 4.3: Y steel sleeper track []


Fig. 4.4: Wide sleeper track []

Fig. 4.5: ÖBB frame sleeper track []


Fig. 4.6: Ballastless sleepered track with discrete rail supports (Rheda system)

Fig. 4.7: Ballastless track with discrete rail supports without sleeper
(prefabricated – Porr system) []

Fig. 4.8: Ballastless track with discrete rail supports without sleeper (monolithic
– top down) [Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

Fig. 4.9: Continuous rail support system with embedded rail []

Fig. 4.10: Continuous rail support system with web element surrounded rails
(Edilon ERS modul system) []


5.1. Rails
5.1.1. General properties of rails Roles of the rails

The (railway) rail is perhaps the most important element of the

superstructure because it directly meets the wheel of the railway vehicles.

Roles of the rails:

 to ensure adhesion and traction force,
 to support and guide rolling wheels,
 to transmit vertical, horizontal and longitudinal forces dividing to
 role at track geometrical and structural stability,
 conductor if the traction (haul) is electrical,
 role at signal and traffic control systems. Rail profiles

The different rail profiles can be divided into following classes:

 Vignole-rails (wide foot or flat-bottom rails) (Fig 5.1),
 non-standard rail profiles: structural rails
 e.g. rail profiles for produce stock and tounge rails as well as
crossings of switches (Fig. 5.2),
 rails of dilatation structures,
 Phoenix-rails (grooved rails),
 tall web grooved rails (Fig. 5.3),
 block rails (Fig. 5.4),
 special rail profiles,
 crane rails (Fig. 5.5),
 check rails in switches (Fig. 5.6).

Fig. 5.1: Vignole-rail profile (60 E1) []

Fig. 5.2: Unfinished tounge rail profile of 60 system switch (60E1A1)


Fig. 5.3: Tall web grooved rail profile (59Ri2)8 []

Fig. 5.4: Block rail profile (Ts52) [BKV, 2000]

There is so called „elf” (short web) Phoenix-rail profile too, which is used in limited height
superstructure, because its web is smaller then „normal” Phoenix-rail ones.

Fig. 5.5: Crane rail profile (KSA75) []

Fig. 5.6: Check rail profile of switch (63C1) []

RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 80 Geometry of rails

In Europe the most common used rail profile is 60 E1 (Fig. 5.1), as well as
54 E1 types (Fig. 5.7). There are MÁV 48-profile rails in great lenght in track in
Hungary9. The old MÁV 48 rails were mainly rolled in Diósgyőr (Hungary), but
nowadays railway rails don’t produced in our country, because of that new type
MÁV 48 rail profiles (Fig. 5.8) can be purchased from abroad (e.g. from Voest
Alpine Group, Austria), but this kind of rail profile type isn’t the same as old
(original) one’s10,11.

The number in the name of rail profiles (e.g. 60, 54, 48, etc.) more often
signs the approximately mass per metre of rails. For example the mass per metre
of 60 E1 rail is 60.21 kg/m, in case of 54 E1 is 54.43 kg/m, and in case of
MÁV 48 is 48.5 kg/m.

Fig. 5.7: Vignole-rail profile (54 E1) []

There were more different types of 48-system rail profiles. The very original one’s mass per
metre was 48.3 kg/m, but its rail head and web were modernisated, after that it is 48.5 kg/m
[Szamos, 1991].
E.g. rail head, thickness of rail web, side slope differ a little bit from original MÁV 48.
Voest Alpine offers S49 MÁV rail profile too, whose rail head is the same 49 E1’s, in this way
the rolling procedure is much simpler and easier for the factory.

Fig. 5.8: Vignole-rail profile (MÁV 48 rail profile rolled by Voest Alpine)

Here it is worth mentioning thet there are special flat-bottom rails, e.g. 54 E5
(so called 51 E1 AHC). This rail profile is a modified profile, which was
developed because of decreasing of Head Check fault (AHC=Anti Head Check).

Railway companies use other rail profiles differ from “E” types 12 in the
world, e.g. rail profiles developed by AREMA (The American Railway
Engineering and Maintenance-of-way Association) in the U.S., e.g. the 12…141
lb/yb AREMA rail profiles.

Railway rails generally contains the following three structural parts

(Fig. 5.9):
 rail head,
 rail web,
 rail foot.

“E” rail profiles are developed by (International Union of Railways), in the names of them are
often used UIC, e.g. UIC 54 (54 E1), but the correct designation is 54 E1.

Fig. 5.9: Structural parts of rails

Block rails specifically contain only rail head and rail foot (see. Fig. 5.4).

5.1.2. Requirements to rails

Requirements to rails [Gajári, 1983]:

 wide rolling (running) surface of rail head to be able to ensure optimal
contact area betweeen rail and wheel as well as to reduce contact
stresses at this place,
 high rail head because of wear process, in this way rails can be used in
track longer,
 thick rail web because of optimal strength, bending stiffness and
 wide rail foot to be able to ensure stability of rail, optimal stiffness, and
to reduce surface stresses
 between rail foot and base plate, as well as to ensure optimal resistance
against corrosion,
 high moment of inertia (vertical and horizontal),
 stability against tip up (the height of rail is not too big according to rail
foot width),
 centre of gravity of rail should be near the mid-point of height,
 rail web cross section shape should be in conformity with fish plate
cross section shape,
 rail cross section transitions should be rounded (fillets), specially the
concave transitions of rail web related to fish plates.

Parameters that are important for interoperability:

 geometry of rail head (Fig. 5.10),
 moment of inertia of rail,
 hardness of rail head.

Fig. 5.10: Parts of rail head and its interoperability reqiurements [EC, 2014]

Citation from 1299/2014/EC regulation [EC, 2014]:

„ (1) The railhead profile shall be selected from the range set out in Annex A of
EN 13674-1:2011, Annex A of EN13674-4:2006+A1:2009 or shall be in
accordance with as defined in point (2).
(2) The design of railhead profiles for plain line shall comprise:
a) a lateral slope on the side of the railhead angled to between vertical and
1/16 with reference to the vertical axis of the railhead;
b) the vertical distance between the top of this lateral slope and the top of
the rail shall be less than 20 mm;
c) a radius of at least 12 mm at the gauge corner;
d) the horizontal distance between the crown of the rail and the tangent
point shall be between 31 and 37.5 mm.”

Moment of inertia of rail is min. 1600 cm4 (=1.6×107 mm4).

Hardness of rail head steel is min. 200 HBW.


Requirements to material of rail steel:

 chemical purity and uniform composition,
 high resistance to wear,
 high resistance to brittle fracture and fatigue,
 high yield strength, tensile strength and hardness,
 good weldability,
 good surface quality,
 low residual stress after manufacturing.

5.1.3. Production of rails Steel pruduction

For producing rail steel so called LD-converter (Linz-Donawitz) steel

production is used13. The converter steel production is an oxidizing melting
process. During the production process the charge materials are dosed into a
great, fire resistant armour-plated furnace (converter) (Fig. 5.11). The main
charge materials are the followings:
 liquid pig-iron,
 solid steel scrap,
 slag-forming materials (limestone, cand – flux material).

There are more types of steel production in the world, e.g. electric arc furnace, it isn’t used in
Europe. Siemens-Martin steel production should be mentioned, but it is not used nowadays.

Fig. 5.11: 180 tons LD-converter []

The main charge materials, hot metal and solid steel scrap are put into the
converter together with fluxing agents. Then oxygen is blown (Fig. 5.12) in
through the upper hole, the water-cooled injection lance, as an effect of which
oxidizing melting takes place at a high temperature, the final product of which is
crude steel. During blowing main part of the carbon content of charge burns out,
silicon content is totally oxidized together with a part of manganese and
phosphorus content. Contacting the oxygen in air, CO-gas developed during
oxidation burns to be CO and is transferred into the wet scrubber. Heat content
of BOF gas is used for steam production. Oxides of silicon, manganese and
phosphorus become components of the slag developed by blowing process.
Sulphur content of charge is bound in the slag in the form of CaS. Inactive gas
(argon or nitrogen) flushing is possible through the flushing blocks at converter
bottom during the whole manufacturing process.

Steel charge is deoxidized and alloyed during tapping (Fig. 5.13), and then
its target chemical composition is set at the ladle metallurgical station. Primary
slag is entrapped during tapping. The inclusion content of steel is decreased by
argon flushing during the ladle metallurgical treatment, the inclusion content can
be changed by injecting Ca-cored wires. Oxygen level and temperature of the
charge can be controlled

Carbon-content of made steel is approximately 0.25…0.3%.

Fig. 5.12: Blown oxygen and smoke absorbing [www.bgk.uni-]

Fig. 5.13: Filling process of converter [Esveld, 2001]


Fig. 5.14: Filling process of converter, transportation in kettle [www.bgk.uni-]

Produced liquid steel is filled into so called casting moulds. One casting
mould contains approx. 3…6 tons steel. After cooling down process moulds are
removed. This steel steel block’s name is ingot. The ingot is placed into warmer
furnace. The steel blocks are transposed from this furnace into rolling-mill
[Gajári, 1983].

In the past few years continuous casting technology was developed

(Figures 5.15-5.16), with which the speed of steel casting and productivity of
steel production can be increased.

Fig. 5.15: Continuous casting technology [Esveld, 2001]

Fig. 5.16: Process of continuous steel casting [Esveld, 2001] Steel rolling

The ingots taken out from warmer furnace are place into rolling-mill, where
they are formed into previously determined cross-section by let through between

reversely rotating cylinders at prescribed rolling temperature. Rolling

temperature and time consumption have to be determined in the way that
recrystallization is able to be taken place, it means that the crashed, deformed
crystallites can recover their original shapes.
After steel rolling the time of cooling down process is the most important,
mainly in case of hard rail steel, because it is disposed to flocculation. In case of
high belt of coal (H2CO3) content the molecular ligand belt of coal can rapidly
become to gassy, and it causes high gas pressure in the steel, that generates little
crack at the outflow places. This process is called to flocculation. These
microscopic cracks can be the start points of future cracks or fractures
(breakages), e.g. kidney-shaped rail faults. Because of these fact rail steel with
high hardness has to cool down very slowly from 600 °C to 100 °C, it ensures
the required time for slow outflow of gassy belt of coal. Naturally reduction of
belt of coal content of steel is an adequate possibility to avoid flocculation. To
reduce belt of coal content of steel special metallurgical procedures, vacuum
methods (Fig. 5.17) have to be used.

Fig. 5.17: Vacuum equipment []

Before steel rolling the upper side of ingot has to be cut, because in this part
of steel block there can be contamination, in addition the ends of the rolled rail

have to be cut 1.0-m-long part that is produced from the remaining upper part of
the ingot14.

Two train of rolls are utilised to roll steel rails (Fig. 5.18):
 rough rolls (roughing mill) (1)
 fine rolls (finishing mill) (2).

Fig. 5.18: Roughing and finishing mills of flat bottom (Vignole) rails
[Esveld, 2001]

Rolling is made with multiple back and forth “round” between train of rolls.
Fig. 5.19 shows flow diagram of rail rolling process in the plant of Třinecké
železárny a.s. in Třinec.

In case of modern rail rolling procedures – e.g. Třinecké železárny a.s., Voest Alpine AG –
600-600-mm-long parts have to be cut from the both rail ends.

1. Continuous pacer furnace 11. Vertical facing

2. High pressure water surface treating 12. Checking centre (running edge straightness,
3. Pre-yielding queue dimension check with laser equipment,
4. Rolling queue (train of rolls) ultrasonic inspection)
5. High pressure water surface treating 13. Storage
6. Saw 14. Cutting and drilling machines (Wagner)
7. Computer data checking 15. Cutting and drilling machines (Mecanescaut)
8. Marking machine 16. Facing machine (Berner)
9. 78 m long cooling room 17. 36 m long storage
10. Horizontal facing 18. 75 m long storage

Fig. 5.19: Flow diagram of rail rolling process in the plant of Třinecké
železárny a.s. in Třinec [; Horvát, 2015]

During rough rolling steel steel blocks are heated up to 1240 °C and blown
down by high pressure water, after that and their surfaces are greased with
special material before rolling.

In case of fine rolling the rail steel temperature is approx. 940 °C…1040 °C,
rolling is made, depending on in-plant and procedure technology, in nine rounds
(in case of rolling mill in Třinec) by CNC aided machines (Fig. 5.20).

Fig. 5.20: Fine rolling of rail steel at Voest Alpine in Donawitz


During rolling the name of rolling mill, date of production (year, perhaps
month), quality of steel, as well as mass per metre are rolled by bulging
characters onto the rail web (Fig. 5.21).

Fig. 5.21: Marking (branding) on the rail web (TZ= Třinec rolling mill,
13=date of production: 2013, R65=R65 rail profile, =R260 rail steel quality)

The ready-made 950 °C…1000 °C temperature and max. 78-m-long rails (in
case of Třinec rolling mill) are transported into cooling room. After 4…6 hours
their temperature are 65 °C, 600-600-mm-long pieces are cut from their ends
(Fig. 5.22).
Cutting is required because in this part of rail steel can have contamination.
These parts mustn’t get into tracks to avoid cracks, fractures, breakages. These
contingent faults can result railway accidents.

Rails can become mildly bent during cooling down, because of this fact they
have to be faced by cylindrical facing machines (Figures 5.23-5.24). Both
facing procedure and bent cause lasting strain in the rails.

Production of rails and dimensions of ready-made rails are checked by

railway companies.

Fig. 5.22: Rolled long rails in the cooling room (Třinec rolling mill)

Fig. 5.23: Vertical facing (Třinec rolling mill) []


Fig. 5.24: Horizontal facing (Třinec rolling mill) [] Quality control tests of rails

After rolling of rails different quality control tests have to be done on ready-
made rails in the plant, these are commonly the followings:
 nondestructive quality control tests (on whole length rails),
 destructive quality control tests (on specimens). Non-destructive quality control tests on whole length rails

Non-destructive quality control tests on whole length rails are the followings:
 continuous surface check (check of whole rail surface with camera),
 crack check with eddy current machine (Figures 5.25-5.26),
 vertical and horizontal straightness check, cross-section dimension
check with laser equipment (Figures 5.27-5.30),
 ultrasonic test (Figures 5.31-5.32),
 field survey tests,
 dimension test with templates (Fig. 5.33),
 check rolling mill branding on the rail web.

Fig. 5.25: Eddy current crack check machine []

Fig. 5.26: Measure result window of crack check machine


Fig. 5.27: Laser equipment for straightness checking []

Fig. 5.28: Measure result window of straightness check equipment


Rails that have more than 0.3 mm straight fault on 3.0 m basis (1.5+1.5 m)
vertically and/or horizontally should be faced (Figures 5.29-5.30).

Fig. 5.29: Facing of rails []

Fig. 5.30: Measure result window of facing machine with diagrams before and
after facing []

To diagnose inner material faults rails have to be checked by ultrasonic

equipment (Fig. 5.31):
 rail head is checked by four horizontal (KH1…KH4) and three vertical
ultrasonic inspection heads (KV1…KV3),
 rail web is checked by six horizontal ultrasonic inspection heads
 rail foot is checked by three vertical ultrasonic inspection heads

Fig. 5.31: Inspection heads of ultrasonic test equipment []

Fig. 5.32: Measure result window of ultrasonic test []

In case ultrasonic material faults are found in the rail depending on type
(seriousness), location (head, web, foot), depth, extension as well as quantity
(one fault in one cross-section or more faults in a short length section or more
faults but rarely in greater length) of faults the action can be from cutting of the
parts with faults to meltdown of the whole rail piece. The most important thing
is the fact that rails with inner faults can’t be taken out, transport from the rolling
mill (plant), the faults should be diagnosed before delivery.

Fig. 5.33: Dimension test with templates [] Destructive quality control tests on specimens

Destructive quality control tests on specimens are the followings:

 test of chemical composition (Figures 5.34-5.36),
 drop test (Figures 5.37-5.38),
 tensile test (Figures 5.39-5.40),
 hardness test (Figures 5.41-5.42).

20-mm-thick section is cut from rolled rail steel’s head in the laboratory.
Two chemical composition tests are done. In the first test is spectrum metal
analysis of steel specimen (Figures 5.34-5.36)15. In the second case analysis of
gases is done during heating of grating particles from specimen.

“Optical emission spectrometry involves applying electrical energy in the form of spark
generated between an electrode and a metal sample, whereby the vaporized atoms are brought to
a high energy state within a so-called “discharge plasma”. These excited atoms and ions in the
discharge plasma create a unique emission spectrum specific to each element, as shown at right.
Thus, a single element generates numerous characteristic emission spectral lines. Therefore, the
light generated by the discharge can be said to be a collection of the spectral lines generated by
the elements in the sample. This light is split by a diffraction grating to extract the emission
spectrum for the target elements. The intensity of each emission spectrum depends on the
concentration of the element in the sample. Detectors (photomultiplier tubes) measure the
presence or absence or presence of the spectrum extracted for each element and the intensity of
the spectrum to perform qualitative and quantitative analysis of the elements. In the broader sense,
optical emission spectrometry includes ICP optical emission spectrometry, which uses inductively

Fig. 5.34: CCD planchet optical sensor []

Fig. 5.35: PMT tube optical system []

coupled plasma (ICP) as the excitation source. The terms "optical emission spectrometry" and
"photoelectric optical emission spectrometry," however, generally refer to optical emission
spectrometry using spark discharge, direct-current arc discharge, or glow discharge for
generating the excitation discharge.” []

Fig. 5.36: Initial section of steel specimen’s spectrum, different elements per
apices (blue colour means the adequate light spectrum, red color means the
same specimen with maintenance needed optical elements.

During drop test (Figures 5.37-5.38) 1000 kg mass is dropped from 7.5 m
height with freefall to a rail’s centre (1300 mm length, 1000 mm bay). Steel of
rail is adequate in case it hasn’t broken because of fallen mass.

Fig. 5.37: Drop test 1. [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 5.38: Drop test 2. [Horvát, 2015]

Tensile test of steel material of rails has to be done according to MSZ EN

13674-1:2011 [CEN, 2011] standard.

Cylindrical specimen for tensile test should be taken out from rail head,
=10 mm, distance between fix points is 50 mm (Fig. 5.39).

Fig. 5.39: Turned out location of tensile test specimen from rail head
[CEN, 2011]

During tensile test yielding point, tensile strength as well as related

elongation values have to be recorded (Fig. 5.40). According to table of
CEN (2011) standard rail steel can be categorised considering tensile test’s

Hardness test of rail steel material has to be made according to MSZ EN

13674-1:2011 [CEN, 2011] standard, location points of hardness test are shown
in Fig 5.41. In Fig. 5.42 there are eight specimens after hardness test.

Measured data has to be compared with hardness value of rail steel categories
in CEN (2011) standard.

Fig. 5.40: The turned out tensile test specimen and the tensile test
[Lichtberger, 2005; Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.41: Location points of hardness test in rail head [CEN, 2011]

Fig. 5.42: Brinell-style hardness test device and eight specimens after hardness
test [Horvát, 2015]

5.1.4. Material of rails

There are the following types of rail related to manufacturing technology

[Lichtberger, 2005]:
 „naturally” hard rails,
 thermally treated rails,
 high-alloy rails,
 bainitic rails.

Recommit to Chapter 5.1.2 material of rail has to fulfil requirements below

[Gajári, 1983]:
 should have high bending strength,
 should have high wear resistance,
 should bear contact effect of high wheel load,
 should be resistant against RCF fault’s16 evolving,
 should enable conventional welding.

Numerous repeating loadings (through-rolled axles) have to be considered

due to bending strength requirements, these loadings cause numerous varying,
pulsating stresses. These stresses should be lower than fatigue limit stresses
related to rail steel. In the aspect of fatigue the “safety zone” can be illustrated
with Smith-diagram that contains data from Wöhler-curves.

The Smith-diagram illustrates max és min stresses related to fatigue

breakings as a function of mean stress (Fig. 5.43) []. The
“safety zone” is the PQR area. Smith-diagram is used in simplified form: the
upper zone is cut with a horizontal line at yield point, the remained parts are
replaced with straight lines. In Fig. 5.43 shows Smith-diagram of a structural
steel material with yield limit Ry=240 MPa, the figure contains limit values for
bending, tension-compression and shearing (torsion). (E.g. in mechanical
engineering Smith-diagrams are drawed-designed severally for different strength
steel materials.)

RCF=Rolling Contact Fatigue. The most significant type of RCF faults is Head Check, so called
rail head “hair cracks”.

Fig. 5.43: Smith-diagram []

Fatigue causer max és min stresses can be expressed with a k és a values.

𝑅𝑚𝑎𝑥 = 𝜎𝑚𝑎𝑥 = 𝜎𝑘 + 𝜎𝑎 (5.1.)

𝑅𝑚𝑖𝑛 = 𝜎𝑚𝑖𝑛 = 𝜎𝑘 − 𝜎𝑎 (5.2.)

Other needed Smith-diagrams for design are founded in reference books.

Note: „In mechanical engineering using of Haigh-diagram is spread that

illustrates fatigue causer max values as a function of stress amplitude. Haigh-
diagram is actually the zone of Smith-diagram above k.
Nowadays interaction correlations are often used for fatigue crack
conditions. E.g. fatigue limit condition according to Smith-diagram using
interaction correlations can be sentenced as below:

𝜎 𝜎
(𝑅 𝑎 ) + 𝑅 𝑘 ≤ 1 (5.3.)
𝐿𝑒 𝑚

Fig. 5.44: Haigh-diagram []”


In Fig. 5.45 there are Smith-diagrams of 700 and 900 N/mm2 tensile strength
rail steel materials according to Eisenmann’s investigations.

Fig. 5.45: Smith-diagram according to Eisenmann’s investigations

[Gajári, 1983]

In Fig. 5.45 area between thin lines is the “safety zone”, as well as the cut
values (by the thin lines) from the ordinate axis are the fatigue vibrative strength
of the two materials. These values are valid for the case, in which the mean
stress (see Fig. 5.45 m) is zero, i.e. the stresses vary between two values that
are the same in absolute value. This stress is hKle=60 N/mm2 for material with
tensile strength Rm=700 N/mm2. In case there is a constant stress in the material ,
m0, i.e. it is spoken about fatigue pulsating strength. This case is shown in the
Fig. 5.45 for m=80 N/mm2, as well as m=180 N/mm2 constant stresses. It can
be seen in the figure that the higher is m, the lower is the pulsating limit.

hKlü=280 N/mm2 for Rm=700 N/mm2 steel material and m=80 N/mm2 and
hKlü=230 N/mm2 for m=180 N/mm2, in case of steel material with
Rm=900 N/mm2 the values respectively are hKlü=320 N/mm2, and
hKlü=280 N/mm2.

In every case from loadings independent stresses have to be considered, in

this way pulsating stresses can be the limits that are much lower than tensile
strength value, but they increase if tensile strength is higher. Because of this fact
using of higher tensile strength rail steel is more advantageous.
There is a close correlation between pulsating limit and tension strength both
in the aspect of tension-compression and shearing stresses.
Required high fatigue pulsating strength is important in the aspect of bearing
of the contact effect of high wheel loads, its significance increases with
increasing of wheel loads and decreasing of horizontal curve radius.

Metals, as iron too, are structured from crystals. Texture elements of iron in
case of equilibrium conditions are the followings:
 ferrite (alpha-iron),
 cementite (iron-carbide, Fe3C).

A perlite, as a separate texture element (eutectoid), contains ferrite and

cementite. In non-alloyed and slightly alloyed steel materials the crystal
structure consists of ferrite and perlite in rolling state. “Naturally” hard rails’
steel material (Rm=700…900 N/mm2) consists of mainly perlite, and max. 25%
ferrite, but higher tensile strength steel materials are fully perlite texture

Mechanical properties of rail steel materials depend on perlite-ferrite ratio,

thickness of ferrite lamellas and distance, as well as thickness and size of
cementite lamellas in perlite.

The higher is the perlite and lower is the distance between perlite lamellas,
the higher are tensile strength and yield strength. In case of perlite steel the
higher is the tensile strength, the higher is the yield strength too.

In the aspect of chemical content in the highest degree carbon influences

tensile strength, the followings are manganese (Mn), and silicon (Si). In case of
premium steel materials vanadium (V) and chrome (Cr) are efficent, but they are

dosed to steel in very little quantity as alloying materials. Ductility (plasticity) of

steel material is influenced by only vanadium and manganese, these materials
can also be dosed in very little quantity because they worsen weldability.

There is a close correlation between wear resistance of rail head and tensile
strength of base steel in case of ferrite-perlite steel materials. According to
laboratory tests in case tensile strength is increased with 200 N/mm2, wear loss
will be the half. Taken this result as a basis, in railway operation the lifetime of
the rails can be doubled in case of using of higher tensile strength steel materials
(experiences of DB confirm this fact in curves, but in case of straight sections
there isn’t close correlation between the mentioned two parameters).
It can be stated that increased lifetime due to decreasing of wear loss is
economically more profitable than the additional costs of production premium
rails, in this way using of rails with high tensile strength is generally more
economic. This advantage is more significant in case of main railway lines, but
in case of low-traffic railway lines high lifetime of premium rails can’t be
reached due to other, non-wear caused reasons that require replacement of rails
before run out of “wear store” of rail head.

In case of high-traffic railway lines (more than 200…220 kN axle load) using
of premium rails can be motivated by the faults of the rails, e.g. strong plastic
yielding on the rail head, or fatigue phenomena.

In the historical Gotthard-railway line (SBB) the lifetime of wear resistant

(880 N/mm2) rails are decreased to three years due to yield and fracture
phenomenon of the rail head, but after replacing of these rails with special
quality Cr-Mn-steel rails (1080 N/mm2), lifetime can be doubled – the reason
was mainly the higher yield strength.

The higher are carbon and manganese contents of the rail steel material, the
higher is the tensile strength (Fig. 5.46).

Nowadays used rail steel materials’ hardness and rolling marks are presented
in Table 5.1, some mechanical parameters, as well as limit quantity of alloying17
and contaminant materials of rail steel are shown in Table 5.2.

Alloying materials: e.g.. carbon, manganese, chrome, nickel, silicon, vanadium, contaminant
materials: e.g.. phosphor, nitrogen.

Fig. 5.46: Tensile strength value of rail steel as a function of carbon and
manganese contents [Gajári, 1983]

Table 5.1: Rail steel categories, Brinell hardness values and branding lines of
steel quality [CEN, 2011]

Table 5.2: Properties of rail steel categories in liquid and solid states – quantity
of alloying and contaminant materials, specified tensile strength values, as well
as Brinell hardness values [CEN, 2011]

If hardness of rail steel has to be increased, carbon content should be raised,

but in case of steel materials with high carbon content the elongation value
decreases (Fig. 5.47), in this way rail steel material becomes rigid, it can rapid
break18. Increasing of carbon content is allowed by special vacuum degassing

In case of rail steel material with 0.7…0.8% carbon content the remaining gases and inclusions
can form dangerous fracture centres.

Fig. 5.47: Ultimate tensile strength, yield strength, elongation, Charpy impact,
Brinell hardness as a function of carbon content []

Resistance against plastic forming is influenced by tensile strength and yield

strength. The higher is the yield strength in case of given tensile strength, the
higher is the resistance against plastic forming. Specific value for this parameter
is the ratio of yield strength and tensile strength:

𝑓= 𝑅𝑚

The value of „f” parameter is approx. 0.5 in case of normal rails, and approx.
0.6 in case of premium rails, i.e. yield strength value is increased with greater
degree than tensile strength’s.

Weldability of rail steel materials is discussed in Chapter 5.3.

In the past few years special quality rail steel material was developed by
Voest Alpine, RCF rail faults’ formation can be avoided by using of this kind of
steel material. It is called DOBAIN ® rail (in Table 5.1–5.2 R350HT…R400HT
rail qualities). DOBAIN ® is an acronym it consists of DOnawitz BAINite
words, i.e. Donawitz bainitic rail19. In case of DOBAIN ® rails formation of
RCF rail faults, wear losses as well as formation of waved rail wear are
significantly decreased than in case of normal rail quality.

In previous discussions it was always assumed that rail consists of the same
material, and same quality material in its whole cross section. Only the rail head
is exposed to wearing effect of wheels, because of this fact higher hardness has
to be ensured only in the rail head. Even it is enough that only running surface
and lateral slope (“guiding edge”) of rail head become wear resistance until the
depth of 10 mm.

Adequate rails can be produced in the aspect of wear resistance in the

following ways:
 the whole rail profile is produced from wear resistant rail steel,
 the heads of rails that are produced from normal quality steel are
thermally treated, they are so called rails with thermally treated rail
 rails that are produced from normal quality steel are thermally treated in
the whole rail profile (with using oil-bath to cool down rails by
controlled speed), they are so called fully thermally treated rails,

„In case of austenite is cooled down into between 550 C° and Ms temperature (martensitic
metamorphoses’ start temperature at cooling down), at the austenite crystal boundary needle-like
ferrite seeding appears. From the over-saturated ferrite carbon can leave at this temperature with
diffusion, in this way next to ferrite needles cementite discs arise. The speed of growing of ferrite
is much higher than arising of cementite helped by diffusion, in this way cementite discs are
“overgrown” by ferrite, and bainite will arise from into ferrite base bedded cementite discs
Arising bainite is influenced by overcooling. At lower temperature or at quicker cooling down
process arised bainite is the so called “lower” baininte, because carbon atoms can’t diffuse out.”

 rail head is produced from wear resistant rail steel, the other parts of
profile is made of normal rail steel, it is so called compound rail.

In case of rails with thermally treated rail heads are dipped into water or oil
after rolling process with their head below (Fig. 5.48). The boundary zone of rail
head with 10-mm-depth is thermally treated, in this way tensile strength of this
area can be approx. 1400 N/mm2, this value decreases in the depth (Fig. 5.49).

Fig. 5.48: Production of rail with thermally treated rail head – cooling down of
rail head [Esveld, 2011]

Fig. 5.49: Cross section of rail with thermally treated rail head [Gajári, 1983]

The costs of purchase of rails with thermally treated rail head are approx.
10…20% higher than normal quality rails, but their wear resistance are about the

triple. Rail heads can be thermally treated by induction heating and water/oil
cooling down, it is so called rails with induction thermally treated rail heads.

At Voest Alpine rails with thermally treated rail heads are produced with
special technology. They are so called HSH ® (Head Special Hardened) rails.
During treatment (cooling down) rail head is dipped into a special secret content
material, it leads to fine perlite steel texture (Figures 5.50–5.52).

Fig. 5.50: Production of HSH ® rails at Voest Alpine [Tömő, 2014]

Fig. 5.51: Hardness of HSH ® rails in the cross section of rail [Tömő, 2014]

Fig. 5.52: Hardness in HSH ® rails as a function of distance from running

surface [Esveld, 2011]

The fully thermally treated rails are cooled down from the rolling
temperature, or from 850…900 °C (heating temperature that follows cooling
down process from rolling temperature) in oil-bath with controlled speed, in this
way fine perlite texture raise in the rail steel. Tensile strength of rails produced
with this technology is approx. 1180…1300 N/mm2, their elongation is about

Rail head of compound rails is generally produced from Cr-Mn steel with
1300 N/mm2 tensile strength, the other parts of the profile is steel with
600 N/mm2 tensile strength. These parts are rolled together. The costs of
purchase of this kind of rail is approx. 60…70% higher than normal ones, but
wear resistance is approx. quadruple.
Rails with thermally treated rail heads and compound rails can be considered
equivalent with same wear resistant and in whole rail profile homogenous
material quality rails only in the aspect of wear resistance, but in the aspect of
load bearing thermally treated rail headed rails and compound rails are more
disadvantageous, because the specified bending tension stresses arise at the rail
foot, and at this location pulsating strength of homogenous material steel is

5.1.5. Selection of adequate rail material and profile

In the aspect of choosing of adequate rail steel material and rail profile there
are important points (as detailed in Chapters 5.1.1-5.1.4):
 rail profile has to be chosen according to
 design speed,
 traffic (quantity),
 vertical loadings, and
 LCC (Life Cycle Costs),
 rail steel quality has to be chosen according to
 curve radius

considering technical-economic parameters too.

The two main points in case of choosing steel quality and rail profile that rail
profile will be adequate for bearing stresses from loadings (as a bended-sheared
structure), as well as its wear resistance will be enough.
The advantage of adequate material quality and greater profile rails:
 lower stresses arise in them in case of same loadings,
 due to lower stresses maintenance costs is reduced, i.e. adequate
material and heavier rails cause higher construction but lower
maintenance costs,
 in case of choosing material and profile, LCC analysis has to be made,
where all the costs (e.g. disturbance of railway traffic, maintenance, etc.)
are contained in lifetime costs.

5.2. Rail connections

5.2.1. Roles of rail connections

The role of the rail connections is to ensure the continuity of rails without
vertical and horizontal “step”, as well as directional break. The opportunities to
connect rails are the followings [Szamos, 1991]:
 fishplate joints,
 welding, and
 dilatation structure (rail expansion device).

Rail welding is separately discussed in Chapter 5.3. In this Chapter fishplate

joints (fishplate jointed track), (glued) insulated fishplate joints (electric
insulated joint in CWR tracks), as well as dilatation structures are shown.

5.2.2. Requirements to rail connections

Requirements to rails are the followings [Gajári, 1983]:

 to bear vertical and horizontal dynamic loadings at the discontunity of
 to avoid or limit (maximize) vertical and horizontal step between rail
 to ensure longitudinal motion of rail ends due to dilatation force without
structural damages,
 it should consist of few particles,
 its assembly and its components’ (parts’) exchange should be quick and
 to fit to traffic control system,
 to fit railway safety rules.

Rail connectiona are the weak points of the track, because their fishplates can
compensate only the 60% of the moment of inertia of the rail. Wheel, during
through-rolling the gap between ther rail ends, hits the following (forthcoming)
rail end, which is disadvantageous for the whole railway super- and substructure
as well as the railway vehicle. Dynamic effects are much higher in case of
vertical and/or horizontal step connections than in “controlled” (maintenanced)

5.2.3. Normal fishplate joints in non-continuous welded track Types of fishplates

The following types of fishplates can be mentioned:

 common flat fishplate (in Fig. 5.53 the left picture),
 angled fishplate (in Fig. 5.53 the middle picture),
 bone shape fishplate (in Fig. 5.53 the right picture).

Fig. 5.53: Types of fishplates (common flat fishplate, angled fishplate, bone
shape fishplate) [Gajári, 1983]

Common flat fishplates are used:

 in 54-rail system tracks independently on the type of rail connection and
type of fastenings,
 in 48-rail system tracks with supported joints and clamp-effect
fastenings in insulated joints as well as in temporary fishplate jointed
tracks (they are used in railway construction for laying tracks with
temporary rails and new sleepers).

Angled fishplates are used:

 in 48-rail system tracks with suspended and supported joints in case of
direct fastenings (statically common flat fishplates are adequate, but
come down nibs hinder creep of the rails, in this way using is practical).

60-system rails are only used in CWR tracks, in these tracks insulated
fishplate joints have to be applied.

Bone shape fishplates are used for high mass rails, the fillet radius of upper
part of bone shape fishplate is greater, in this way it suits for worn rails.
Appication of bone shape fishplate is very rarely in the track of MÁV

(Hungarian Railways) and GYSEV (ROeEE=Raab-Oedenburg-Ebenfurter


The dilatation of rails is available due to difference between bore diameter of

rail web and diameter of fish(plate) bolt. The max. gap is 20 mm, whereas the
minimal gap is meanly 0 mm (Fig. 5.54).

Fig. 5.54: The 0-mm-gap and the 20-mm-gap in case of 48-system rail tracks
[Gajári, 1983]

The length of fishplates is commonly 600 mm and 900 mm. The numbers of
bore holes in case of 600-mm-long fishplate are 2×2, whereas in case if 900-
mm-long fishplates 2×3. The positure of bore hole of angled fishplate and
common flat fishplate is the same in case of same system rails, moreover the
middle bore holes’ position of 4-hole-fishplate and 6-hole-fishplate is the same
as well [Szamos, 1991].

The rail connection is loose if max. gap can arise due to bore holes’ positure.
In case of tight rail connection the distance of bore holes in the rail web from the
rail end is increased, in this way the max. gap is decreased.

Dilatation of rail (movement due to variation of rail temperature) is hindered

by friction-type track resistances that are originated from tight effect of

fishplates and from clamp effect of rail fastenings. This latter can be realised by
the resistance of railway ballast bed.

The values of fishplate resistance in case of one rail and four-hole as well as
six-hole fishplates for only one rail:
 high driven bolts: 300 kN/200 kN,
 good maintainted fishplates: 200…220 kN/150 kN,
 greased fishplates: 100 kN/65…70 kN,
 slightly-loosen fishplates: 80 kN/50 kN.

The high values of fishplate resistances above are ensured by wedge-type

tightening of fishplate shoulders (at rail head and rail foot), and the
160…180 Nm torque moment of fish(plate) bolts. Types of rail connections

The following types of fishplate joints can be differentiated in case of non-

contiuous welded track:
 stiff connection (joint),
 suspended joints (Figures 5.55-5.56),
 supported joints (Figures 5.57-5.61).

In case of stiff joints the two rail ends supported by only one sleeper, railway
ballast can be loosen in a very short time period due to static and dynamic
loadings, it causes settlements in the track. Stiff connection is not applied since a
long time.

Suspended joint is shown in Figures 5.55-5.56. Connection gap is located

between two sleepers, the ends of the fishplate outreach to the neighbour
sleepers’ fatenning. 900-mm-long and 6-hole-fishplate with high driven bolts
has to be used because of high bending moment of the fishplate (generated by
vehicle load). The loosening is hindered by double Grower springs that enable
the elastic behaviour of the bolts. Suspended joints can be applied in case of
wooden and concrete sleeper tracks.

Fig. 5.55: Suspended joint [Gajári, 1983; Szamos, 1991]

Fig. 5.56: Suspended joint with six-hole-angled fishplates [Lichtberger, 2011]

Supported joints were developed because of decreased bending moment, and

rail ends’ better, but non-stiff support. Two “connection” sleeper are pushed
togheter, and a common (“twin”) base plate is used where rail ends are clamped
(Figures 5.57-5.61).

In case of wooden sleepers supported joints are the most adequate connection
type. Sleepers are clamped to each other by long horizontal bolts using a 20-
mm-thick poplar plate between the sleepers. Working together is ensured by
both the horizontal bolts and common base plate (Fig. 5.57).

Fig. 5.57: Supported joint in case of wooden sleepers [Gajári, 1983]


In the middle of common base plate there is a cut in 100 mm length to avoid
the stiff support of rail ends. Because of lower bending moment shorter, 600-
mm-long fishplates and looser joints (four pieces horizontal fish(plate) bolts)
should be used. Using of supported joints in concrete sleeper track were made
experiments, but they didn’t work due to the lack of horizontal bolts between
sleepers, the result was rotated sleepers (Fig. 5.58) [Szamos, 1991].

Fig. 5.58: Supported joint in case of concrete sleepers (sleepers rotate due to
trapezoidal cross section of concrete sleeper, in this way this solution must not
be used) [Gajári, 1983]

Fig. 5.59: Supported joint with four-hole-common flat fishplates

[Lichtberger, 2011]

Fig. 5.60: Supported joint [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.61: GEO-system common (“twin”) base plate [Gajári, 1983]

RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 125 Temporary joints

Temporary joints (there aren’t bore holes in the rail web) are generally used
in case of construction (laying) of CWR railway tracks, they are so called “C”
clips (Fig. 5.62). In case of application of temporary joints the neighbouring rail
ends (that will be welded together) have to be connected without vertical and
horizontal steps, no bore hole in the rail web is allowed in this case. This type of
temporary joints is applied in case of temporary restore of rail breakages in
CWR tracks.

Fig. 5.62: Temporary joints [Lichtberger, 2005]

Depending on the location of rail fracture, special fishplates are used as

 bended fishplate (the bending part comes round rail welding),
 transition bended fishplate (in case of fracture of transition rail),
 split fishplate (fish(plate) bolt can be inserted in case of oval bore hole
due to opened gap) [Szamos, 1991]. Fishplate bolts, Grower springs

Fishplates are forced to the rail webs by fishplate bolts. There are two
different types of fishplate bolts at MÁV:
 produced from normal strength steel, in this case Grower spring has to
be used under screw nut (screw nut is allowed to be driven until ends of
the spring close),
 produced from premium steel (with high tensile strength), in this case
steel spacer ring has to be applied under screw nut, this nut should be
driven by prescribed torque [Szamos, 1991].
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 126 Forces in fishplate joints, strength and laboratory tests of fishplate


Dilatation tensile forces due to variation of rail temperature can increase after
20-mm-gap has arised because of very low temperature (cold) as well as rail
creep. In this case there are complex stresses in the fishplate bolts. Forces and
stresses in the fishplate bolts are demonstrated in Fig. 5.63. It is shown in
Fig. 5.63:
 axial tensile force and in this way tensile stress (0) arise due to bolts are
driven by prescribed torque,
 fishplate bolts are bended (h) and sheared () from the point 20-mm-
gap has arised [Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 5.63: Forces and stresses in the fishplate bolts [Gajári, 1983]

Tests were made by MÁV to determine tensile strength of fishplate joints.

The left hand side diagram of Fig. 5.64 illustrates the measured, and its right
hand side diagram demonstrates the simplified, idealised graph of tensile force
vs. strain in case of four-hole-fishplate joint [Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 5.64: Measured (left) and simplified (right) tensile force diagram of four-
hole-fishplate joint [Gajári, 1983]

Fishplate resistance (“H”) related of four-hole-fishplates and six-hole-

fishplates were given at the end of Chapter The highest achieved
fishplate resistance value has to be aimed at the connection section of CWR
tracks and long-rail-tracks, because it can hinder/decrease dilatation movements.

There is dynamic bending in the fishplate joint due to wheel load. The
WG 18 / DG 11 Mechanical requirements for joints in running rails. Final
version. regulation-proposal [CEN/TC, 2011] gives the laboratory parameters
for fishplate joints. Four-point-bending test has to be done, assembly for static
test is shown in Fig. 5.65. Dynamic fatigue test can be done with assembly is
illustrated Fig. 5.65, laboratory test parameters are given by CEN/TC (2011).

Fig. 5.65: Assembly for laboratory four-point-bending test [CEN/TC, 2011;

Horvát, 2015]

A six-hole-fishplate joint’s laboratory four-point-bending test is shown in

Fig. 5.66.

Fig. 5.66: A six-hole-fishplate joint’s laboratory four-point-bending test

[Horvát, 2015]

The bending moment (Mr) according to CEN/TC (2011):

3 𝑄 2 ∙𝐸𝐼𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑙 ∙𝑤𝑚𝑎𝑥
𝑀𝑟 = √ 8
∙ 𝛾𝑐 (5.5.)

 Q: nominal wheel load (125 kN),
 E: Young-modulus of rail steel (2.1×105 N/mm2)
 Irail: moment of inertia of the rail section for horizontal axis,
 wmax: max. deflection of the rail at the connected section (1.5 mm),
 c: safety and correction parameter (1.5 for suspended joint).

Max. applied force is the following:

𝐹𝑚𝑎𝑥 = 4 ∙ (𝐿 (5.6.)
𝑠 −𝐿𝑤 )

 Lw: center-to-center distance of the load insertion point (in Fig. 5.65 it is
120 mm),
 Ls: center-to-center distance of the support points (in Fig. 5.65 it is
1,320 mm).

5.2.4. Insulated joints

Insulated joints are special types of fishplate joints, where the rail ends are
insulated from each other, in this way metallic connection can’t arise neither at
the rail ends, nor via fishplates. The types of insulated joints are the followings
according to their evolution:
 wooden fishplate, tie-framed (it isn’t applied nowadays),
 fiber-reinforced steel fishplate (it isn’t applied nowadays),
 pressed wooden fishplate (Fig. 5.67),
 plastic fishplate (metamide, teramide) (Fig. 5.68),
 glued fishplate (Fig. 5.69),
 P.C. Wagner glued insulated joint (Fig. 5.70),
 GTI glued insulated joint (Fig. 5.71),
 plastic coated steel fishplate (Figures 5.72-5.75),
 polimer-composite (fibre-glass-reinforced plastic) glued insulated
fishplate (Fig. 5.76-5.79).

Insulated joints can be applied in suspended and supported joints depending

on their type in case of value of sleeper space and wheel load prescribed by

High tensile strength bolts with great forces are used to press fishplates and
rail. In this way high friction force can be achieved, it causes that great tensile
forces can’t open connection. Plastic profile lining (plate) is built between rail

Insulated joints can be produced in plant as prefabricated elements with given

length rails, as well as on the field, where they are assembled.

Alfonz Szamos’s book [Szamos, 1991] discusses in detail insulated junctions

illustrated in Figures 5.67-5.79.

Fig. 5.67: Portec pressed wooden fishplate [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.68: Insulated joint with plastic fishplates [Szamos, 1991]


Fig. 5.69: Insulated joint with glued fishplate [Szamos, 1991]


Fig. 5.70: P.C. Wagner glued insulated joint [Szamos, 1991]

Fig. 5.71: GTI glued insulated joint [Szamos, 1991]


Fig. 5.72: Portec plastic coated steel fishplate [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.73: Portec steel fishplate constructed with plastic insulation elements
[Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.74: Tenconi plastic coated steel fishplate (Swiss made) 1.

[Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

Fig. 5.75: Tenconi plastic coated steel fishplate (Swiss made) 2. []

Fig. 5.76: Exel fiber-glass-reinforced fishplates (Finnish made)

[Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

Fig. 5.77: Martin Schienentechnik fiber-glass-reinforced fishplates (German

made) 1. [Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

Fig. 5.78: Martin Schienentechnik fiber-glass-reinforced fishplates (German

made) 2. [Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

Fig. 5.79: Apatech fiber-glass-reinforced fishplates (Russian made)

[Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

5.2.5. Rail dilatation structures (rail expansion devices) Necessity and gear of rail dilatation structures

Rail dilatation structures are used to ensure longitudinal movement of rails (if
it should) due to thermal forces and several effects at the connection (determined
sections of railway track) of railway track and railway bridge

Rail dilatation structures have to ensure contiuous support and guidance to

vehicles’ wheels because these structures are the parts of railway tracks. There
are a lot of types of rail dilatation structures but nowadays such rail dilatation
structures have to be used that ensure continuous guidance and movement of rail
ends does not result in variation of rail gauge.

Movement possibility of rail dilatation structure is specified by the position

relative to the neutral position/set centre: e.g. ± 150 mm. The neutral position is
the mean value of permitted values of movements (Fig. 5.80) [Horvát, 2015]:

𝐷𝑚𝑎𝑥 −𝐷𝑚𝑖𝑛
𝑀= (5.7.)

Fig. 5.80: Movability of dilatation structure [Horvát, 2015] Set-up of rail dilatation structures

Rail dilatation structures that meet the requirements contain switch blades
and thick web stock rails: the side of switch blades is the fix part of rail
dilatation structures, and the side of stock rails is the moving part. (In the
opposite case variation of rail gauge can’t be avoided.) The side of switch blades
viewed from above is arched. The geometry of these arches suits to the stock

rail’s elastic deformation due to uniform distributed load in the horizontal plane.
With this formation horizontal load distribution is uniform, and rail wear is
reduced at the contact section of stock rail and switch blade. The expansion
device (rail dilatation structure) is built on a baseplate used at switch sleeper.
Switch blade has to fix fastened to the baseplate, stock rail’s longitudinal
movement is ensured by a special element.

Fig. 5.81 illustrates the cross section of expansion device (rail dilatation

Fig. 5.81: cross section of expansion device [Horvát, 2015] Set-up of rail dilatation structure on a ballast-bedded railway bridge

Rail dilatation structure has to set up on a bridge that the side of switch blade
is built on a higher stiffness: at a bridge abutment, onto the bridge; at a pillar,
onto the side of fix bridge rocker; at moving bridge rocker bridge ends, onto the
shorter dilatation length side. Fig. 5.82 shows the set-up of rail dilatation
structure on a ballast-bedded railway bridge.

Fig 5.82: Set-up of rail dilatation structure on a ballast-bedded railway bridge

[Horvát, 2015] Types of rail dilatation structures

In case of the bridge length (ℓ) is more than 40 m, the 20 mm dilatation gap at
the moving bridge rocker (reached by normal fishplate joints) is much shorter
than it should be due to the thermal dilatation of bridges.

There are the following types of rail dilatation structures applied in Hungary:
 Csilléry-style dilatation structure (Figures 5.83-5.85),
 (B60) VM rail dilatation structure (Figures 5.86-5.87),
 (B60) VM-D twin rail dilatation structure (Fig. 5.88),
 embedded rail dilatation structure (Fig. 5.89). Csilléry-style rail dilatation structure

Figures 5.83-5.85 demonstrate Csilléry-style dilatation structure.


Fig. 5.83: Top view and profile of Csilléry-style dilatation structure

[Gajári, 1983]

Fig. 5.84: Top view and cross sections of Csilléry-style dilatation structure
[Gajári, 1983]

Fig. 5.85: Csilléry-style dilatation structure [Horvát, 2015]


Csilléry-style rail dilatation structures are the followings:

 Csilléry-style rail dilatation structure with MÁV 48 and 54 E1 rail
profiles, rail inclination 1:20,
 modified rail dilatation structures with reduced resistance rail fastenings,
it works into both direction, with 54 E1 rail profiles, rail inclination

Using of Csilléry-style rail dilatation structures should be avoided: at greater

opening there isn’t continuous guidance (for example RoLa vehicles’ wheels); it
is manufactured for only 54 E1 rail profiles; at higher speed railways there
should be rail dilatation structures fit to 60 E1 rail profile. B60 VM rail dilatation structure

B60 VM rail dilatation structure without rail inclination is suitable for:

 in case of dilatation movements of bridge as well as connected long
welded tracks should be handled:
 at  40 ºC variation of bridge temparature up to 300 m
dilatation length steel bridges,
 at  30 ºC variation of bridge temparature up to 480 m
dilatation length concrete bridges,
 in case of dilatation movement of only the bridge should be handled:
 at  40 ºC variation of bridge temparature up to 400 m
dilatation length steel bridges,
 at  30 ºC variation of bridge temparature up to 650 m
dilatation length concrete bridges.

Figures 5.86-5.87 show VM-system rail dilatation structures.


Fig. 5.86: VM-system rail dilatation structure with connection element on both
sides [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.87: VM-system rail dilatation structure with security rails (elements) on
both side [Horvát, 2015]
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 143 B60 VM-D twin rail dilatation structure

In case of opening size (movement possibility) of “normal” VM-system rail

dilatation structure isn’t enough, it can be doubled by twin rail dilatation
structure (Fig. 5.88).

Fig. 5.88: VM-D-system rail dilatation structure with security rails (elements)
on both side, R=600 m with superelevation (cant) [Horvát, 2015] Embedded rail dilatation structure

Emedded rail dilatation structure is suitable V≤120 km/h speed, Q≤225 kN

axle load. It can be applied without any structural change in case of R≥1000 m
(horizontal curve radius), and with structural change in case of R<1000 m.
Embedded rail dilatation structure has to be built onto the embedded
superstructure bridge, it mustn’t be built into the connected track!

Fig. 5.89: Embedded rail dilatation structure suitable for 54E1 rail profiles
(manufactured by Wisselbouw Nederland B.V.) [Horvát, 2015]

5.3. Rail weldings

5.3.1. Roles and importance of rail weldings

Rail welding offers the followings:

 longer rails can be produced than in rolling mill, less rail connection
should be used,
 long welded tracks can be built,
 standard length rails can be made from old, shorter rails,
 transition rails can be produced,
 rail fractures can be fixed,
 faults of rail surfaces can be repaired (repair welding).

5.3.2. Requirements to rail weldings

Requirements to rail weldings are the followings:

 equal strength to rail, in this way same mechanical properties as for rails
 elongation, strength),
 safety against fractures,
 ready made under short time,
 relative cheep technology.

Consequence of rail weldings that with „deleting” the dilatation gaps, significant
thermal forces (tension and compressive) can evolve in the rails due to variation
of rail’s temperature.

To ensure the quality of weldings and control the quality of rail steel the
steel-chemical components and the speed of cooling down are very important. In
case of welding with strange material the components of in-built material is

5.3.3. Rail welding procedures

Rail welding technologies can be classified as bellows:

 hardfacing and refill weldings:
 repair welding,
 stainless steel hardfacing,
 junction weldings:
 flash butt welding:
 flash butt welding in factory,
 mobile flash butt welding,
 gas pressure welding,
 thermit welding,
 manual electric arc welding,
 manual oxyacetylene welding.

At junction weldings listed welding technologies (from flash butt welding to

manual oxyacetylene welding) the achieved quality worsens.

Investigation of requisite of weldabling is possible with carbon-equivalence


𝑀𝑛 𝐶𝑟+𝑉 𝑁𝑖 𝑀𝑜 𝐶𝑢 𝑃 𝑆𝑖
𝐶𝑒 = 𝐶 + + + + + + + + 0.0024 ∙ 𝑎 ≤ 0.45%(5.8.)
6 5 15 4 13 2 24

 „a”: thickness of material (mm), at rail weldings „a” is the maximum
dimension of rail head.

In case of premium rails (C=0.5-0.7%) the speed of cooling down process is

determining. In case of these rail qualities normalisation is required, i.e. heating
and cooling down are required, e.g. with the following steps: 2000 °C 
 500 °C  800 °C.
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 147 Flash butt welding

Resistance welding is made by using heat generated by electric current that

flows in rails, which will be welded during rail ends are pressed to each other.
The generated heat can be calculated by the equation below:

𝑄 = 𝐼 2 ∙ 𝑅 ∙ 𝑡 (𝑘𝐽) (5.9.)

 „I”: amperage (A),
 „R”: electric resistance (),
 „t”: time of heating (s).

It can be stated based on Eq. 5.9 that the heat is in correlation with electric
resistance, this resistance is the highest at the rail pressed to each other flat rail
end surfaces, in this way these surfaces are heated firstly, and become plastic.
Jump-welding is the technology when the “joint” (welt) is made without melting
of the pressed together surfaces, this procedure can’t be applied for rail welding
because oxides aren’t able to leave from the oxidised front surfaces of the rail
ends, in this way the welt won’t be excellent.
In case of rail welding so called flash butt welding technology is used, when
front surfaces are heated until they melt, after that crush force is applied, which
is required to remove oxides and other contamination from the pressed together
surfaces with a liquid film. In this way a very good quality, purely metallic joint
The types of flash butt welding are the followings:
 pre-heating,
 continuous,
 made with light pressure,
 made with light touch.

In case of pre-heating flush butt welding the rail ends are touched with quick
light alternating method that generates an electric arc, it causes rail ends are
heated until melting, after that welding is made by hit like jumping.

Based on Eq. 5.9 it is shown that heat is in correlation with the square of
amperage, in this way high amperage (5…15 A/mm2) as well as low voltage

(1…25 V) are used. Current with high amperage and low voltage is made by
electric transformator (Fig 5.90).

In Fig. 5.90 it is illustrated that rail ends are taken into copper clips, one of
them is fix, the other is movable. Movable copper clip is applied for touching
and pulling away rail ends.

Fig. 5.90: Circuit diagram of flash butt welding [Gajári, 1983]

Flash butt welding machine’s operation has three working phase:

 pre-heating,
 melting,
 metal union with hitting.

Rail ends don’t need to be polished before welding, they should be only
cleaned, and set in straight by using a steel ruler. Machine pushes the heated rail
ends in axial direction together, in this way metallic joint arises without oxides,
bubbles and inclusions, welt is from the base material of rails. The jumping is
approx. 7-8 mm, it generates a little welt knob. This knob is removed at 900 °C
by a pneumatic stamp machine.

In case of flash butt welding with light pressure the melting is very quick on
touching surfaces, liquid joint arises that explodes sparkling when it is
overheated. Because of this lack of material, rail ends have to be moved nearly
to each other. After that process the pressing will follow, during that
contaminations will leave. Because of the quick heating, only the little percent of
the mass of rails are warmed up, in this way cooling down is quick too. This

quick cooling down leads to crackings, in this way this type of welding is not
adequate for high carbon content rail steel materials.

During flash butt welding made with light touch the rail end surfaces are
touched only very light, it results high electric resistance and high heat effect.
Naturally hard rails without dangerous hardening can be also welded by using
this technology with adequate pre-design. Better quality welts using lower power
can be made by this technology, because the heated zone is smaller that requires
lower jump force. Modern mobile flash butt welding machines uses light touch

If it is available railway companies apply flash butt welding because of its

better quality and relatively low cost [Gajári, 1983].

Flash butt welding can be made by two methods:

 flash butt welding in factory (Figures 5.91-5.105),
 with mobile flash butt welding machines (Figures 5.106-5.113).

Fig. 5.91: Flash butt welding in factory in Gyöngyös (Hungary) [Gajári, 1983]

Storage yard of welding factory in Gyöngyös is illustrated in

Figures 5.92-5.94, pre-storage of rails and material selecting happen on this

Fig. 5.92: Storage yard 1. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.93: Storage yard 2. [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 5.94: Storage yard 3. [Horvát, 2015]

The task of rail end cleaner device (Figures 5.95-5.96) is to clean the rail
ends electrically. Scales, rust and other dirt have to be removed first from faces
of rail ends, then from running surfaces and from rail feet in the length of
500 mm from rail ends. In the machine there are always one rail forepart and one
rail end which have to be welded. The machine moves the needed 1,100 mm on
four wheels on rail supports, with help of pneumatic cylinder.

Fig. 5.95: Cleaning of rail ends 1. [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 5.96: Cleaning of rail ends 2. [Horvát, 2015]

The parts of rail welding machine (Figures 5.97-5.99) consists of the min
parts below:
 welding unit,
 hydraulic system,
 control system,
 cooling system and vent hood.

The main unit’s steel structure is can be moved on rolls, it contains the fixing
and set-up parts of rails should be welded, electric units, knob removing knives
with moving unit as well as electric commutator with transformator.

Fig. 5.97: Welding unit 1. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.98: Welding unit 2. [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 5.99: Welding unit 3. [Horvát, 2015]

After welding the knob has to be removed (Fig. 5.100). There are several
knives for several types of rail sections, which knives remove hot welding knobs
with 1-1.5 mm allowance.

Fig. 5.100: Welt after knob is removed [Horvát, 2015]


Rails have to be faced near the welt in a 1.0 m length zone (Fig. 5.101). The
role of facing is to ensure the required (function of line speed) straightness
values of guide and running edges (surfaces) of welded rail. This machine works
with exchangeable pressure jaws, and faced the rail near welt. Straightness is
measured by a unit that gives (and show in a computer screen) 100 data points to
1,000 mm rail length in horizontal and vertical plane, and bending points are
calculated. Horizontal and vertical facing are done by two hydraulic units with
special jaws, one in horizontal plane and the other in vertical plane.

Fig. 5.101: Machine makes horizontal and vertical facing of rail near the welt in
a 1.0 m zone [Horvát, 2015]

Measurement and profile grinding of rails are done by a special machine

(Figures 5.102-5.104).

Fig. 5.102: Measurement of rail profile 1. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.103: Measurement of rail profile 2. [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 5.104: Rail profile grinding [Horvát, 2015]

The ready made rails are transported to storage and delivery depo
(Fig. 5.105), where the rails will also be delivered from.

Fig. 5.105: Storage and delivery depo [Horvát, 2015]

Flash butt welding is not only made in factory but in field by mobile flash
butt machines. These kind of machines are illustrated in az Figures 5.106-5.112.

Figures 5.106-5.108 show a Plasser K-355 APT type mobile flash butt
welding machine and its rail grip unit. Time consumption of welding in case of
60 E1 rail profile is 180 secs. (I=20.000 A, U=7 V).

Fig. 5.106: Plasser K-355 APT type mobile flash butt welding machine 1.
[Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.107: Plasser K-355 APT type mobile flash butt welding machine 2.
[Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.108: Rail grip unit of Plasser K-355 APT type flash butt welding machine
[Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.109 illustrates an old soviet mobile flash butt rail welding machine, in
which two independent rail heads work. For several rail profiles different linings
should be used. Rail web has to cleaned on 700-700 mm length to metal pure
(clean). When this machine grips the rails, rail ends are set. Electric power is
from electric network or from diesel aggregator. I=20 000 A, U=6.3 V, welding
time is 3 minutes. Max. tension force is 1250 kN, max. upset (jump) force is
450 kN. Nominal capacity is 10 pieces of welding per hour.

Fig. 5.109: Old soviet mobile flash butt rail welding machine [Gajári, 1983]

A Container Welder-606 + DAF 8×2×F95 Welderliner type mobile flash butt

welding machine (“amphibious” vehicle) and its rail grip are shown in
Figures 5.110-5.112.

Fig. 5.110: Container Welder-606 + DAF 8×2×F95 Welderliner type mobile

flash butt welding machine (“amphibious” vehicle) [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.111: Rail grip unit of Container Welder-606 + DAF 8×2×F95

Welderliner type mobile flash butt welding machine (“amphibious” vehicle)
[Horvát, 2015]

The machine is suitable for welding MÁV 48.5; 49 E1, 54 E1 és 60 E1 rail

profiles. The container contains the diesel aggregator unit (Cummins ID. 12W
300), the hydraulic and water pumps, moving crane with 4,550 kg loading
capacity (pull out is 2,565 mm, rotation is ±20.5°).

Paramateres of the machine are the followings:

 type of welding head (rail grip unit): K-355 H,
 max. upset (jump) force: 72 tons,
 max. tension force: 193.7 tons,
 upset (jump) stroke: 85 mm,
 decreasing of rail: 25-38 mm,
 primer voltage: 480 V, 60 Hz,
 welding amperage: 40,000 A,
 weight: approx. 3,000 kg,
 the rail grip unit contains the knob removing device to rail profiles
MÁV 48.5, 49 E1, 54 E1 and 60 E1.

Min. width of HRGC (Highway Railway Grade Crossing) is 4.0 m for

standing up of the welding truck to the railway track. (Fig. 5.112).

Fig. 5.112: Standing up of Container Welder-606 + DAF 8×2×F95 Welderliner

type mobile flash butt welding machine in a HRGR [Horvát, 2015]

A ready made welt without knob removing produced by mobile flash butt
welding technology is shown in Fig. 5.113.

Fig. 5.113: Ready made welt without knob removing produced by mobile flash
butt welding technology [Szabolcs Fischer’s photo] Gas pressure welding

Gas pressure rail welding was invented by Oszkár Renner, Hungarian

eingineer, he presented this technology in Europe in 1935, where it hasn’t spread
due to perhaps World War II. This technology was carried to the USA, where it
is extensive applied, even after World War II., it is started to use in Japan, China
and Soviet Union (USSR). In case of primarly factory welding the gas pressure
rail welding offers very high quality welt in efficient manner.

The technology is related to flash butt welding in a certain manner, but in

case of gas pressure welding not electric current, but autogen flame is applied
for heating up rails until they melt. After melting of rail material the rail ends are
pressed together in axial direction making a good quality welt from the own
material of rails. The required machine is much smaller, simplier, cheaper and
easier movable than in case of resistance welding procedure [Nemesdy, 1966].

Gas pressure welding machine is presented in Fig. 5.114.


Fig. 5.114: Gas pressure welding machine [Nemesdy, 1966] Thermit welding

The procedure is based in the high affinity of aluminium (Al) and oxigen
(O2). Iron (III) oxid (Fe2O3) is reduced by aluminium getting high quantity of
heat. The reaction equation is the following:

𝐹𝑒2 𝑂3 + 2𝐴𝑙 = 𝐴𝑙2 𝑂3 + 2𝐹𝑒 + 831𝑘𝐽 (5.10.)

The thermit pour contains scale, aluminium sleet, and other alloys (ferro
vanadium, ferro manganese, ferro molibden). The maximum ratio of
contamination (for example phosphor, sulfur) is 0.1 percent.

Technology steps of thermit welding (TW):

 preparing,
 heating of rail ends in 1,000 mm length if the air temparature is
close to zero Celsius (but not lower than 0 °C) to palm (hand)
 if the welding is in the track, rail fastenings have to be loosed in
straight track on 3-3 sleepers, in curves on 6-6 sleepers,
 removing the dirts from rail ends,
 setting the welding gap related to the welding technology, as
well as setting the level and direction of rail ends, and lifting
them with the control of a steel ruler (Figures 5.115-5.116).

 welding,
 preparing and opening of welding set (Figures 5.117-5.122),
 fixing of sand catcher tray,
 fixing of universal clamp unit,
 setting of moulds (two pieces) and fixing them
(Figures 5.123-5.125),
 sealing the gaps (between the moulds and the rails profiles) with
special sand, (Fig 5.126),
 setting scale tray,
 setting the rail head protection plate next to the moulds,
 setting the durable pot (prepared)20 into pot rack, setting the pot
plug (meltable), loading the thermit welding portion,
 fixing the pot to universal clamp, centering,
 setting and lighting the burner, preheating (Fig. 5.127),
 setting the preheated close parts,
 ignition the lighter, sticking into the thermit portion, closing the
pot (Fig. 5.128),
 take place the reaction, the thermit steel (2000 °C) flows into the
moulds, the liquid scale flows into the scale tray
(Figures 5.129-5.130),
 removing the tap,
 removing the scale tray (after the scale becomes stiff),
 removing the mould clamp units (Fig. 5.131),
 after works,
 removig the knobs with stamp until the half rail web height
(Figures 5.132-5.133),
 knocking off the „rest of foot” (after cooling down),
 rough grinding,
 cleaning the welt,
 fine shaping.

Pot is not in every case “durable pot”, there are also disposable pots.

Fig. 5.115: Setting the welding gap and the level and direction of rail ends 1.
[Gajári, 1983]

Fig. 5.116: Setting the welding gap and the level and direction of rail ends 2.
[Gajári, 1983]

Fig. 5.117: Plötz-type welding set – box that contains the welding set
[Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.118: Plötz-type welding set – moulds and pot plug [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.119: Plötz-type welding set – durable pot [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.120: Plötz-type welding set – welding dose (portion) [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.121: Plötz-type welding set – card about quality control of welding dose
(portion) certified by DB [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.122: Railtech welding set [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.123: Moulds 1. [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 5.124: Moulds 2. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.125: Setting of moulds (two pieces) and fixing them [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.126: Sealing the gaps (between the moulds and the rails profiles) with
special sand [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.127: Setting and lighting the burner, preheating [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.128: Ignition the lighter, sticking into the thermit portion, closing the pot
[Gajári, 1983]

Fig. 5.129: Take place the reaction, the thermit steel (2000 °C) flows into the
moulds, the liquid scale flows into the scale tray 1. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.130: Take place the reaction, the thermit steel (2000 °C) flows into the
moulds, the liquid scale flows into the scale tray 2. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.131: Welt after the mould clamp units are removed [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.132: Removig the knobs with stamp until the half rail web height 1.
[Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 5.133: Removig the knobs with stamp until the half rail web height 2.
[Horvát, 2015]

Figures 5.134-5.135 presents TW welts without and with fine finishing.


Fig. 5.134: Ready made TW welt without fine finishing

[Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

Fig. 5.135: Ready made TW welt after fine finishing [Szabolcs Fischer’s photo]

Fig. 5.136 illustrates the long section of TW welt.


Fig. 5.136: Long section of TW welt [Horvát, 2015]

Variation of time consumption of TW welding is shown in Fig. 5.137.

Fig. 5.137: Variation of time consumption of TW welding [Gajári, 1983]

Flow down possibilities of liquid thermit steel through several type of tunnels
are shown in Fig. 5.138.

Fig. 5.138: Flow down possibilities of liquid thermit steel through several type
of tunnels [Horvát, 2015]

Plötz-type welding technologies are presented in Table 5.3.

Table 5.3: Plötz-type welding technologies

Technology Gap Lifting rail Preheating time Waiting
ends before welt

SOWOS 24-26 mm 1.0-1.2 mm 5-7 minutes 4-5 minutes

S 49/48.5 rail 7-8 minutes
S 54/54 E1 rail 8-9 minutes
60 E1 rail

SkV 24-26 mm 1.0-1.7 mm 1.5-2 minutes 3-4 minutes

in wet weather

SkV-L 51-75 mm 1.8-2.0 mm 1.5-2 minutes 9-11 minutes

SRZ 20-22 mm 1.0-1.2 mm 6-7 minutes 6 minutes

Ph 37/37a rail 24-26 mm 8-9 minutes 6-7 minutes
Ri 59/60 rail 24-26 mm 15-18 minutes 8 minutes
D 180/105 rail

Abbreviations in Table 5.3 have the meanings below:

 SOWOS: normal preheating rail welding technology,
 SkV: fast preheating rail welding technology,
 SkV-L: wide gap rail welding technology,
 SRZ: grooved (tram) rail welding technology. Manual electric arc welding

Welt is from welding electrode held in the weldor hand in 100% in case of
manual electric welding. Electrode is heated and melt by electric arc.

The technology steps of manual electric arc welding:

 setting the level and direction of rail ends according to Fig. 5.115, after
that rail ends are preheated until 350 °C by propane gas in a warming
furnace, the gap is approx. 11…13 mm between rail ends,
 electrode is connected to positive pole, rails are connected to negative
pole of electric circuit, after that welding is started,
 when making foot welt a cut copper plate is taken under rail feet,
whereas web welts are made between copper profile plates placed to rail
webs (Fig. 5.139) (diameter of electrode should be 5 mm in case of rail
foot, 4 mm in case of rail web, 5 mm in case of rail head),
 slags arise on welts have to be removed very carefully,
 when welt is ready for whole cross section, welts should be normalised
by warming up to 713 °C, roughing of steel crystals can be removed by
this method (heating is made by propane gas furnace, speed of cooling
down has to be controlled),
 after cooling down the welts have to be fine finished.

Fig. 5.139: Manual electric arc welding [Gajári, 1983]

Time consumption of making welt with manual electric arc welding

technology is approx. 1.5…2 hours, which is significant long. Material of
electrode has to be chosen according to rail steel material. The required voltage
is 17…20 V, whereas the amperage is 100…200 A. Electric current is generated
by aggregator in case of welding in field. This technology isn’t applied at MÁV
for welding rails, but for repair welding [Gajári, 1983].
This welding technology is used by BKV (Budapest Public Transport
Company) for welding block rails.
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 179 Manual oxyacetylene welding

In case of manual oxyacetylene welding (autogene welding) the heating and

melting of rails and rod is made by burning of oxygene and acetylene gases in a
torch that provide approx. 3,200 °C flame, welt is produced with this
technology. This procedure isn’t applied for welding rails no longer, because it
is very expensive and time consumption is significant high, as well as the quality
of welt strongly depends on the work of weldor. Manual oxyacetylene welding is
used for turning up of rail ends (Fig. 5.140) [Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 5.140: Heating of rail ends with welding torch [Gajári, 1983]

5.3.4. Quality control tests of test weldings

The quality control tests of test weldings are the followings:

 “eye inspection” test,
 geometrical straightness test,
 ultrasonic test,
 tensile test,
 static bending test,
 hardness test,
 (dynamic) fatigue test with pulsating loading.

The check list during eye inspection tests:

 was the cleaning of welts correct?
 was the removing of knobs correct?
 are there any whetting faults related to knob removing/grinding,
 is the quality of welts adequate?

Geometrical straightness test is made as bellows:

 checking the rail 50-50 cm closeness to welts (check tolerances),
 it has to be made on the running and guidance edges of rails,
 the measure equipment is straightness measure device.

Inner cracks and plums (bubbles) of rail welts could be found by ultrasonic
test. Test equipment is hand ultrasonic tester. Inclination of ultrasonic inspection
heads is 45° and 70°.

The assessment is made by MÁV Rt. 101675/94 and MÁV Rt. PHMSZ
105950/95 regulations. Fig. 5.141 illustrates a check list of ultrasonic test.

Fig. 5.141: Check list of ultrasonic test of rail welts


Continue of Fig. 5.141: Check list of ultrasonic test of rail welts


Tension test has to be made according to MSZ EN 10002-1:2001

[CEN, 2001] standard. 330-mm-long piece has to be shaped from trial weldings.
Two tests specimens (rods) have to be turned from these rail piece: a 20-mm-
diameter from rail head, a 10-mm-diameter from rail foot where rail foot and
rail-web contact. At the ends of steel rods there should be 100-100 mm long
grips, in the middle there should be 130 mm long free section. Rail welts are in
the mid-position of rods. Fig. 5.142 presents a laboratory tensile test diagram.

Fig. 5.142: Laboratory tensile test diagrams [Horvát, 2015]

In case of static bending test a tests specimen (rail beam) is made by welding
of two 650-mm-long rails. The bay is 1,000 mm. The welt should be in mid
position. The static force is also in the middle (Fig. 5.143). The deflection-force
diagram has to be registered continuously. The max. force is the ultimate force
where rail beam breaks.

Fig. 5.143: Static bending test [Horvát, 2015]


Table 5.4 details the strength requirements to rail welts.

Table 5.4: Strength requirements to rail welts [Horvát, 2015]

Strength property Rail welding mixture

for rail strength of for rail strength of

800 N/mm2 900 N/mm2

Minimum bending
800 900
strength (N/mm2)

Minimum deflection
10 8
at breaking (mm)

Fig. 5.144 shows deflection-bending force diagram of a laboratory test.

Fig. 5.144: Deflection-bending force diagram [Horvát, 2015]

Table 5.5 details the hardness requirements to rail welts.


Table 5.5: Hardness requirements to rail welts [Horvát, 2015]

Property Rail welding mixture

for rail strength of for rail strength of

800 N/mm2 900 N/mm2

Hardness in the
250-320 280-330
welt (HB)

A hardness test report is illustrated in Fig. 5.145.

Fig. 5.145: Hardness test report [Horvát, 2015]


Parameters of fatigue test are presented in Fig. 5.146. After the this test no
cracking, fracture, etc. can arise in the welt.

Fig. 5.146: Parameters of dynamic fatigue test [Horvát, 2015]



6.1. Function and requirements of sleepers, the purpose of sleepers

In ballasted track the rails rest on sleepers and together form the built-up
portion of the superstructure [Esveld, 2001; Horvát, 2015a].
Railway sleepers play a vital role in the structural demands for railways.
They contribute to distribution of vertical load and lateral movements induced
by trains [Gudmundsson and Gudmundsson, 2014].

6.1.1. Function and requirements of sleepers

The functions of sleepers are [Esveld, 2001; Horvát, 2015a]:

 to sustain rail forces and transfer them as uniformly as possible to the
ballast bed,
 to provide support and fixing possibilities for the rail foot and
 to provide adequate electrical insulation between both rails,
 to preserve track gauge and rail inclination,
 to be resistant to mechanical influences and weathering over a long time

6.1.2. The purpose of sleepers

The purpose of sleepers [Lichtberger, 2005; Horvát, 2015a]:

 to distribute and transmit forces to the ballast (perpendicular axle loads,
longitudinal forces within the rails, centrifugal horizontal forces),
 to establish and maintain the track gauge,
 to hold the rails in height,
 to hold the rails in longitudinal direction,
 to secure the track under construction,
 to dampen rail vibrations,
 to reduce the influence of impact waves and sounds on the environment.

6.2. Types of sleepers (material, structure)

6.2.1. Classification of sleepers Classification of sleepers according to arranging in track

The sleepers according to arranging in track are:

 twin-block sleeper,
 “longitudinal” sleeper,
 monoblock sleeper,
 slab sleeper,
 frame sleeper. Classification of sleepers according to material aspects

The sleepers can be classified according to material aspects:

 timber sleepers:
 hardwood sleepers (beech, oak, tropical varieties),
 softwood sleepers (pinewood),
 steel sleepers,
 concrete sleepers,
 reinforced concrete sleepers,
 pre-stressed concrete sleepers,
 plastic sleepers (FFU).

6.2.2. Timber sleepers

Wooden (timber) sleeper is only suitable for low speed lines with the speed
limit of 160 km/h. Acceptable species of wood for this type of sleeper are
European oak, beech, pine and etc. Fig. 6.1 shows the specific dimensions of
sleepers in Hungary. Nowadays in some countries, wooden sleeper is replaced
by concrete sleeper [Major, 2014; Horvát, 2015a].

The advantages of wooden sleeper are the followings:

 easy to handle,
 good resilience,

 good electrical insulation,

 easily adapted to non-standard situations.

The disadvantages are the followings:

 expensive,
 it isn’t allowed to recycle due to preservative chemicals.

Fig. 6.1: The specific dimensions of wooden sleepers in Hungary

[Horvát, 2015a]

6.2.3. Steel and iron sleepers

Already, in 1930s years steel sleepers were applied in railway tracks by

MÁV. Their lifetime is (about 40-50 years) longer than timber sleeper’s, but the
production costs are higher. The most widespread was the Baden type steel
sleeper in Hungary, which can be seen in Fig. 6.2. Their share was less than 2%,
and they aren’t used nowadays [Horvát, 2015a].

The advantages of steel sleeper are as belows [Major, 2014; Esveld, 2001]:
 easy to manufacture and install,
 high dimensional accuracy,
 positive residual value,
 long service life.

The disadvantages are the followings [Majort, 2014. Esveld, 2001]:

 low transverse resistance,
 difficult to maintenance, maintenance using tampers,
 sensitive to chemical attacks,
 insulator,
 relatively high price.

Fig. 6.2: Baden type sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]


There are more railway companies, which apply again steel sleepers in
nowadays. The steel sleepers are produced in a special troughed shape (Fig. 6.3)
for narrow and normal gauge track in the UK by British Steel. The question of
shape is important in the viewpoint to resistance of ballast and stability of track
[Horvát, 2015a].

Fig. 6.3: Steel sleeper, produced by British Steel [Horvát, 2015a]

An unusual form of steel sleeper is the Y-steel sleeper (Figures 6.4-6.5), it was
developed in 1983. Compared to conventional sleepers the volume of ballast
required is reduced due to the load-spreading characteristics of the Y-sleeper.
Noise levels are high but the resistance to track movement is very good. For
curves the three-point contact of a Y-steel sleeper means that an exact geometric
fit can’t be observed with a fixed attachment point [Major, 2014;
Horvát, 2015a].

Fig. 6.4: Y-steel sleeper [Lichtberger, 2005]

Fig. 6.5: The main beam’s profile of Y-steel sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]

6.2.4. Concrete sleepers

The concrete sleepers were applied in countries appeared, where there wasn’t
enough wood at the beginning of 1900s years (in Hungary in 1908). Initially, the
cracking and structure of fastenings were caused the difficultly. The pre-
tensioning of steel in sleepers was gave impetus for spread [Horvát, 2015a]. The features of concrete sleepers

The advantages of concrete sleepers are the followings [Esveld, 2001;

Major, 2014]:
 small lateral displacement on account of large weight,
 long lifetime,
 long service life provided fastenings are good or can be replaced easily,
 great freedom of design and construction,
 lower maintenance cost of fastenings,
 cheaper than timber sleeper,
 relatively simple to manufacture.

The disadvantages are as belows [Esveld, 2001; Major, 2014]:

 difficult to handle because of weight,
 difficult to maintain longitudinal level due to higher inertia moment,
 less elastic than wooden sleeper,
 susceptible to corrugations and poor quality welds,
 risk of damage from impacts,
 dynamic loads and ballast stresses can be as much as 25% higher,
 residual value is negative.

There are two basic types of concrete sleepers [Esveld, 2001]:

 twin-block sleeper: this type consists of two blocks of reinforced concrete
connected by a coupling rod or pipe (Fig. 6.6 a)),
 monoblock sleeper: this is based on the shape of a beam and has roughly
the same dimensions as a timber sleeper (Fig. 6.6 b)).

Fig. 6.6: Twin-block and the monoblock sleepers [MÁV, 1999] Difference between the pre-stressed and the reinforced concrete sleepers

Prestressed concrete is a method for overcoming concrete's natural weakness

in tension. It can be used to produce beams, floors or bridges with a longer span
than is practical with ordinary reinforced concrete. Prestressing tendons
(generally of high tensile steel cable or rods) are used to provide a clamping load
which produces a compressive stress that balances the tensile stress that the
concrete compression member would otherwise experience due to a bending
load. Traditional reinforced concrete is based on the use of steel reinforcement
bars, rebars, inside poured concrete. Prestressing can be accomplished in three
ways: pre-tensioned concrete, and bonded or unbonded post-tensioned concrete.
Fig. 6.7 shows the difference between the pre-stressed and the reinforced
concrete sleepers [Major, 2014].

Fig. 6.7: Difference between the pre-stressed and the reinforced concrete
sleepers [Gajári, 1983]

The pre-tensioned concrete is cast around steel tendons – cables or bars –

while they are under tension. The concrete bonds to the tendons as it cures, and
when the tension is released it is transferred to the concrete as compression by
static friction. Tension subsequently imposed on the concrete is transferred
directly to the tendons. Pre-tensioning requires strong, stable anchoring points
between which the tendons are to be stretched. Thus, most pre-tensioned
concrete elements are prefabricated and transported to the construction site,
which may limit their size. Pre-tensioned elements may be incorporated into
beams, balconies, lintels, floor slabs or piles [Major, 2014].

The reinforced concrete is a composite material in which concrete's relatively

low tensile strength and ductility are counteracted by the inclusion of
reinforcement having higher tensile strength and/or ductility. The reinforcement

is usually, though not necessarily, steel reinforcing bars (rebar) and is usually
embedded passively in the concrete before the concrete sets. Reinforcing
schemes are generally designed to resist tensile stresses in particular regions of
the concrete that might cause unacceptable cracking and/or structural failure.
Modern reinforced concrete can contain varied reinforcing materials made of
steel, polymers or alternate composite material in conjunction with rebar or not
[Major, 2014].
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 196 The “sleeper sag” of long and short sleepers

The sleeper sag (Fig. 6.8) is a status of support, where the two edge of sleeper
don’t have support, but the middle of it does. Consequently, negative momentum
arises in the middle. This negative momentum causes cracking of the middle of
sleeper, and broadening of gauge. The MÁV applies LM type concrete sleepers
to avoid this phenomenon, that is shown is Fig. 6.9. The sleeper is 2.42 meter
long, 0.85 meter is rest on the ballast below the rails from this. In order to avoid
the sleeper sagging, therefore the middle of the sleeper is higher than the ends
with 20 mm [Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 6.8: The sleeper sag of long and short sleepers [Gajári, 1983]
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 197 Typical types of concrete sleepers

LM type concrete sleeper

Fig. 6.9: LM type concrete sleeper [Gajári, 1983]

Table 6.1: Typical specifications of LM type sleeper []

Type of sleeper LM-GEO, LM-S
Axle load 22.5 tons
Allowed speed 140 km/h
Weight 248 kg± 5%
Support surface 6,776 cm2
Gauge 1,435 mm
Inclination 1:20 1:20
Rail type UIC 60/54, S49, MAV48, Ri
Fastening GEO, Skl/Pandrol

LW type concrete sleeper

Fig. 6.10: LW type concrete sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]

Table 6.2: Typical specifications of LW type sleeper []

Type of sleeper: LW
Axel load 22.5 tons
Allowed speed 200 km/h
Length 2,500 mm
Width 300 mm
Height 232 mm
Height under the rail 214 mm
Height at middle of the sleeper 175 mm
Function Mainline sleeper

L2 type concrete sleeper

Fig. 6.11: L2 type concrete sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]

Table 6.3: Typical specifications of L2 type sleeper [Major, 2014]

Type of sleeper: L2
Axel load 25 tons
Allowed speed 250 km/h
Length 2,600 mm
Width 300 mm
Height 235 mm
Height under the rail 215 mm
Height at middle of the sleeper 185 mm
Function Mainline sleeper

L4 type concrete sleeper

Fig. 6.12: L4 type concrete sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]

Table 6.4: Typical specifications of L4 type sleeper [Major, 2014]

Type of sleeper: L4
Axel load 25 tons
Allowed speed 200 km/h
Length 2,600 mm
Width 300 mm
Height 235 mm
Height under the rail 215(1:40) / 211(1:20) mm
Height at middle of the sleeper 185 mm
Function Mainline sleeper

TM type concrete sleeper

Fig. 6.13: TM type concrete sleeper [Major, 2014]

Table 6.5: Typical specifications of TM type sleeper [Major, 2014]

Type of sleeper: TM
Axel load 22.5 tons
Allowed speed 140 km/h
Length 2,420 mm
Width 280 mm
Height 190 mm
Height under the rail 181 mm
Height at middle of the sleeper 150 mm
Function Mainline sleeper

R65 type frame sleeper

Fig. 6.14: R65 type frame sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]

RS type twin-block sleeper

Fig. 6.15: RS type twin-block sleeper []


DB wide sleeper

Fig. 6.16: DB wide sleeper []

Table 6.6: Typical specifications of BBS1 type sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]

Type of sleeper: BBS 1
Axel load 25 tons
Allowed speed 160 km/h
Length 2,400 mm
Width 570 mm
Height 233 mm
Height under the rail 214 mm
Height at middle of the sleeper 225 mm
Function Mainline sleeper

Turnout sleepers

Fig. 6.17: Concrete sleepers in turnout [Horvát, 2015a]

Fig. 6.18: Concrete sleeper produced for MÁV []


6.2.5. Plastic sleeper

Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd., established in 1947, is a widely diversified

Japanese corporati. Sekisui provides a broad range of products, from high
performance plastics and environmental solutions to synthetic lumber for
railroads and factory-produced module housing. ESLON Neo Lumber FFU
(FFU=Fiber reinforced Foamed Urethan), a synthetic wood developed for use as
railway sleepers in 1978 has since then been widely applied in Japan’s railroad
infrastructure, from the high speed Shinkansen to regional trains and urban
metro systems, main areas of application are turnouts, open steel girder
structures and tunnels. The idea behind this was to devise a synthetic material
featuring the same properties as natural wood, plus an extended life-span and
weathering resistivity. Therefore, FFU is a perfect symbiosis between wood and
plastic, combining the advantages of both materials
[SEKISUI Chemical GmbH].

Eslon FFU Neo Lumber for railroad application is produced by compressing

single strands of glass fibre with polyurethane foam using a high pressure
extraction press (Fig. 6.19). The manufacturing process is initiated by mixing
the base materials polyole and isocyanide with several additives. After
compounding and extrusion, the raw mixture is reinforced with long glass fibres.
Foaming and curing are the final manufacturing stages before the finished
product is cut to a standard length of 12 metres for further processing. The
continuous extrusion method allows the production of sleepers in any length, the
only restriction being transportation capacities. Sekisui synthetic wood railroad
and bridge sleepers can be fabricated to millimetre accuracy according to
customer specifications. A priceless advantage for track precision accuracy
[SEKISUI Chemical GmbH].

Fig. 6.19: FFU type sleeper [Horvát, 2014]


Benefits of FFU are the followings [SEKISUI Chemical GmbH]:

 The scrap fibres or shavings can easily be recycled.
 Doesn’t need to be impregnated with environmentally harmful chemicals.
 Doesn’t absorb water, making it a homogenous, high-grade technical
 After installation, FFU remains inherently stable, even under extreme
strain, the material sits solidly on the steel beams without any distortions.
 The bottom side of the FFU sleeper interlocks with the ballast track just
like natural wood.
 Low maintenance costs and a positive cost-benefit analysis in the long
 FFU waste can be re-fabricated into railway sleepers not subjected to
heavy traffic or loads.
 FFU can easily be drilled with commercial tools, as processing requires
the same procedure as natural wood.
 Easy to repair, misplaced boreholes can easily be fixed by inserting an
FFU dowel and re-drilling the hole in the correct position after a short
waiting period.
 Various sleeper widths and lengths are available according to customer

FFU has been used on several other Wiener Linien bridge projects. Since
2005, Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB uses FFU ‘polyurethane wood’ in diverse
railroad infrastructure projects. Recently, the Bayer AG subsidiary Currenta
Leverkusen installed a FFU turnout 4 meters long in order to connect the
production site to the Deutsche Bahn railroad net. The turnout was manufactured
by Voestalpine BWG [SEKISUI Chemical GmbH].

The durability of Eslon FFU Neo Lumber is much higher than that of natural
wood. The initial investment for installation in the track superstructure is slightly
larger when FFU is used, but is in turn quickly offset by lower life cycle costs
and technical superiority. Environmentally responsible rail operating companies
generally make their purchasing decisions in favour of synthetic wood
[SEKISUI Chemical GmbH].

6.3. Production of sleepers, quality control tests

6.3.1. Production of timber sleepers, impregnation

Largely, the wood has been replaced by import in Hungary. The timber
cutting happens only the standstill period of circulation of moisture. Thereafter,
the drying period follows it. The drying period is 6-12 months, it takes until the
moisture level has fallen to 20-25%, and wood reaches relative dry weight. After
drying period the next step is processing such as: notching (milling) of the
bearing surfaces (Fig. 6.20), drilling of holes to accommodate the fastenings,
binding using a steel band to limit cracks. Then creosoting (conserving) of
timber sleepers follows against biological attack. The creosote is impregnated
into the wood under high pressure after which some of the oil is recovered by
applying a vacuum. The final step is fixing the fastening system.

The total service life in years of timber sleepers is approx.: pinewood

20-25 years, beech 30-40 years, and oak 40-60 years [Esveld, 2001;
Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 6.20: Elaborating from logs [Gajári, 1983]


6.3.2. The concrete sleepers Production of concrete sleepers

The long-line method (Fig. 6.21) describes the process in which ties are
produced end to end in a line, with continuous strands of prestressing steel
running through the ties. Casting beds containing the forms are stationary and
equipment moves along the length of each bed. A variation of this method, in
which forms are placed on train cars called lorries, which allows the ties to move
between the different production steps, is termed the Grinberg method
[Major, 2014].

The long line method is a production where sleepers are cast in a line using
100 to 150 m long beds. Typically in a sleeper production plant there are four or
more casting beds in which a number of casting moulds are placed
[Gudmundsson and Gudmundsson, 2014].

Figure 6.21: The Abetong ”Long Line Method” [Abetong, 2011]

The production of sleepers is done in certain casting steps are the follows
[Gudmundsson and Gudmundsson, 2014]:
 The first step is preparation of the moulds for casting by cleaning and
 The cast-in fastening components are placed in the mould.

 Then a specific number of steel wires are placed in a predetermined

position in each line. They are then pre-tensioned by a hydraulic jack to
give a certain initial prestress force.
 Before casting, the mould has to be lifted to an upper casting position.
 Then the casting can start, it is performed with an automatic casting
machine that guaranties a continuous process. The casting process can
take from 1 up to 3 hours from one end of the bed to the other. The
casting time varies between plants but is most commonly 2 hours.
 After casting, the moulds are covered with tarpaulins to preserve the
heat and humidity in the concrete.
 The sleepers are allowed to cure in the moulds for approximately 16
hours until the bond capacity between the concrete and steel has reached
sufficient strength.
 The sufficient bond capacity is checked by testing the compressive
strength of the concrete and monitoring the temperature rate.
 When the temperature starts to decrease and the compressive strength
has reached 35 MPa, the sleepers are safe for release of the prestressing
 After release of prestress, the sleepers are de-moulded by lowering the
moulds to a lower position.
 The sleepers are then transferred to a cutting machine where they are cut
to exact length with a diamond saw.
 The sleepers then go through a final treatment where the fastening
components are assembled and the sleepers are inspected before they are
ready for delivery to the costumer.
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 210 Quality control tests of concrete sleepers Inspection of sleepers in factory

Devices for controlling the distance of ribs (leftwards) and the flexion of flat
of rail (rightwards) are shown in Fig. 6.22.

Figure 6.22: Dimension control [Horvát, 2013] Loading under the rail seat positive moment

1 – Rigid support
2 – Articulated support
3 – Elastic plate
4 – Pre-stressed sleeper
5 - Railpad
6 – Steel plate
7 – Baseplate and side stand

Fig. 6.23: Loading under the rail seat positive moment [Horvát, 2013]
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 211 Loading at the middle of the sleeper negative moment

1 – Rigid support
2 – Articulated support
3 – Elastic plate
4 – Pre-stressed sleeper
5 – Railpad
6 – Steel plate

Fig. 6.24: Loading at the middle of the sleeper negative moment [Horvát, 2013] Loading at the middle of the sleeper positive moment

1 – Rigid support
2 – Articulated support
3 – Elastic plate
4 – Pre-stressed sleeper

Fig. 6.25: Loading at the middle of the sleeper positive moment [Horvát, 2013]

Additional testing methods are the followings:

 dynamical test in cross-section of rail,
 cycling fatigue test in cross-section of rail. The B55 type prestressed concrete sleeper for two types of ballast beds

Fig. 6.26 shows the dimensioning of the B55 type pre-stressed concrete
sleeper for two types of ballast beds, with the ballast compression value.
The bending moments occurring in the sleeper are calculated, assuming a
rigid support beam, for at least two different types of sleeper beds which cause a
maximum bending moment on the bearing type I (below the rail) and, on bearing
type II (in the centre of the sleeper) [Lichtberger, 2005].

Fig. 6.26: The B55 type pre-stressed concrete sleeper for two types of ballast
beds, with the ballast compression value [Lichtberger, 2005; Horvát, 2013]


7.1. Function of rail fastenings, requirements to fastenings

7.1.1. Function of rail fastenings

The term fastening systems is considered to include all the components

which together form the structural connection between rail and sleeper
[Esveld, 2001; Kazinczy, 2004]

7.1.2. Requirements to rail fastenings

The functions and requirements of the fastenings are the followings

[Szamos, 1991; Esveld, 2001]:
 to transfer loads and rail forces from rails to the sleeper,
 to damp vibrations and impacts caused by traffic as much as possible,
 to retain the track gauge and rail inclination within certain tolerances,
 easy to install and maintain,
 to provide sufficient clamping force on rails to make continuously welded
rail work,
 to provide electrical insulation between the rails and sleepers, especially
in the case of concrete and steel sleepers.

7.1.3. Action forces

The forces acting on the railway superstructure:

 Fz vertical forces (from vertical vehicle load),
 Fy lateral forces (from horizontal vehicle load),
 Fx longitudinal forces (from braking, change in temperature). Vertical and lateral fastener loads

From moving vehicles transferred forces (Fy and Fz) unto rails are picked up
by not only one fastener, but also more fasteners on more sleepers, so a part of
the forces is transferred to fastenings. The reduction factor is based on
experimental measurements and calculations, varies between: β=0.35…0.65

[Gajári, 1983]. Fig .7.1.a. shows the forces which transferred form vehicles’
wheel. In Fig. 7.1.b. the rail spike superstructure forces without baseplate are
shown, while in Fig. 7.1.c. presents the superstructure forces with baseplate.

Fig. 7.1: Action forces in rail fastenings [Szamos, 1991]


Wheel forces:
 Fz (vertical),
 Fy (horizontal).

Action forces on one fastener:

 β·Fz (vertical),
 β·Fy (horizontal)  β=0.35…0.65.

Momentum equation to the tilting point:

𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑦 ∙ 𝑚 = 𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑧 ∙ 2 + 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑡 ∙ 𝑑 (7.1.)

In the Equation „d” distance between rail spikes.

From the previous equation anchor force can be expressed unto the inner
fastener (“Fout”: anchor force):

𝑚 1
𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑡 = 𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑦 ∙ 𝑑
− 2 ∙ 𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑧 (𝑘𝑁) (7.2.)

This force is pull on:

 fastening without baseplate → by one-side rail spikes,
 fastening with baseplate → by both sides fastening elements.

Horizontal force equilibrium equation:

𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑦 = 𝑓 ∙ 𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑧 + 𝐹𝑦′ (7.3.)

𝐹𝑦′ = 𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑦 − 𝑓 ∙ 𝛽 ∙ 𝐹𝑧 (7.4.)

 „f”: coefficient of friction between the sleeper and the rail foot (0.3).
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 216 Longitudinal fastener loads

The longitudinal fastener strength is the ability of the fastener system to

provide longitudinal restraint to the rail and prevent rail movement or creepage
under all loading conditions. Longitudinal loading can evolve due to train action,
such as train braking and acceleration, specifically the variation in temperature,
both rail and ambient [].

The force (Fig. 7.2) on rail is originated from dilatation and rail
wandering/creeping (Fx). This force wants to move the rail above sleeper and
baseplate. Friction between rail foot and sleeper, as well as between rail foot and
baseplate occurs against displacement force, friction depends on the clamping
force unto fastening. So the clamping force unto fastening is correct, if the
sleeper moves inside ballast and not the rail foot slides in baseplate
[Horvát, 2015a].


Fig. 7.2: Resistance of ballast [Gajári, 1983]

Legends in Fig. 7.2 have the following meanings:

 „Fe1”: the friction of ballast in bottom and lateral endplate of the sleeper,
 „Fe2” the pressure of the ballast in forehead of sleeper.

The maximal ballast resistance in one sleeper: Fe2~15 kN.

Force in one fastening: 2 =7,5 kN.

𝐹𝑒2 𝐹
= 𝑓 ∙ 𝐹𝑠𝑧 → 𝐹𝑠𝑧 = 2∙𝑓 (7.5.)

 „Fsz”: the maximal anchor force.

The maximal anchor force depending on friction between the rail foot and
baseplate or rail pad:
 if f=0.3 → F=25 kN,
 if f=0.65 → F=11.5 kN,
 if f=0.11 → F=68.2 kN.

So, one-one fastening is: 2 =12,5 kN forcibly pushing down the rail foot for
sleeper. If this force smaller than this value, the rail can move longitudinal above
the sleeper.
The pressure from rail foot to sleeper:

𝜎𝑠 = 𝑑∙𝑠

For example: 54 E1 r. type of superstructure, if β·Fz=130 kN:

 without baseplate: „d”: width of rail foot (0.14 m), „s”: width of sleeper
(0.23 m), then →s=4.04 N/mm2, or
 without baseplate: „d·s”: size of baseplate (0.36·0.11=0.0396 m2), then
→s=3.28 N/mm2. The rigid frame of the track

The lateral direction forces are transferred from rail to fastenings, and to
sleepers. Majority of these lateral direction forces are balancing by railway track,
because the track behaves horizontal frame structure against these forces
(girths: rails, columns: sleepers). This frame structure works appropriate, if there
is no swivel in the girth-column junction, therefore the structure is rigid frame.
The rigid frame in railway track means that the anchor force unto the fastenings
is explicate to anti-rotation moment. If the rail-sleeper junctions are changed, it
changes the rails perpendicular positions, then the track is deformed. This lateral
direction deforming can be seen in Fig. 7.3 [Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 7.3: Lateral direction deformation of track [Gajári, 1983]


7.2. Types of rail fastenings

7.2.1. Classification of rail fastenings

The fastenings (Fig. 7.4) are classifiable to three leading classes

[Gajári, 1983]:
 direct fastenings,
 without baseplate (Fig. 7.4 part a1),
 with baseplate (Fig. 7.4 part a2),
 indirect fastening (Fig. 7.4 part b),
 elastic fastenings,
 mono-elastic fastening (Fig. 7.4 part c1),
 double-elastic fastening (Fig. 7.4 part c2).

Fig. 7.4: The type of fastenings [Gajári, 1983]


The classification of fastenings can be seen in Fig. 7.5 according to

felxibility and structural design.

Fig. 7.5: The classification of fastenings according to felxibility and structural

design [Kazinczy, 2004] Differences between rigid and elastic rail fastenings

Dr. Bernhard Lichtberger wrote the following in his book [Lichtberger, 2005].

The rail fastenings must permanently hold down the rail firmly, ensuring at
the same time resilience of the track in the upward direction, and good lateral
stability. The elastic downward pressure is essential for the smooth control of the
rail’s upward movement and high creep resistance. A rigid rail fastening does
not meet these requirements. Even minor temporary deformations of the base
reduce the firmness of rail restrain. A permanent deformation of the base
completely eliminates the holding down force and, thus, also the creep
resistance. Furthermore, the spike or screw support is gradually loosened and
pressed aside by impacts exerted on the fastening by the sagging and tilting
movements of the rail. Therefore, such rigid rail fastenings with spikes or coach
screws are not suitable for use with long welded tracks.

In an elastic rail fastening the screws are tightened so that an initial tension is
developed via the elastic clip or the spring washers. As shown in Fig. 7.6, this
initial tension maintains the influence of the force on the fastening, even if the

spring is pressed in farther due to the wheel load. The result is a fastening which
is permanently effective under the influence of different forces. The force takes a
pulsating course fluctuating around the value of the initial tension. The holding
down force significantly influences the creep resistance between rail and sleeper.
Therefore, it is of particular importance to guarantee a minimum holding down
force by choosing an appropriate rail fastening [Lichtberger, 2005].

Fig. 7.6: Differences between rigid and elastic fastenings [Lichtberger, 2005] Direct rail fastenings

At direct fastenings entail that the rail and, if necessary, the baseplate are
fixed to the sleeper using the same fasteners. Direct fastenings also include the
fastening of track on structures without ballast bed and sleepers [Esveld, 2001].

In this type rail spikes, spring spikes or screws to fastening are applied. The
rail foot is immediately fixed to the sleeper between with or without baseplate
[Szamos, 1991].

Rail spikes

A rail spike (also known as a cut spike or crampon) is a large nail with an
offset head that is used to secure rails and base plates to railroad ties in the track.
A rail spike is roughly chisel-shaped and with a flat gives greater resistance to
loosening. The main function is edged point; the spike is driven with the edge
perpendicular to the grain, which to keep the rail in gauge. When attaching tie
plates the attachment is made as strong as possible, whereas when attaching a
rail to tie or tie plate the spike is not normally required to provide a strong
vertical force, allowing the rail some freedom of movement. Originally spikes
were driven into wooden sleepers by hammering them with a heavy hammer by
hand. Splitting of the wood can be limited by pre-boring spike holes or adding
steel bands around the wood [Major, 2014].

Screw spikes

Screw spikes are tapered screws with V-threads. Their head is circular with a
square projection and are used to fasten rails with wooden sleepers. The holding
power of these spikes is more than double to that of dog spikes and can resist the
lateral thrust better than the dog spikes [Major, 2014].

Spring spikes

Spring spikes, (or elastic rail spikes]) are used with flat-bottomed rail,
baseplates and wooden sleepers; the spring spike holds the rail down and
prevents tipping, and also secures the baseplate to the sleeper. The Macbeth
spike (trade name) is a two-pronged U-shaped-like spike bent so that it appears
M-shaped when viewed from the side. Inverted J-shaped single pointed spikes
have also been used [Major, 2014].

Fastening with railspike (inelastic)

Fig. 7.7: Direct fastening with rail spikes in baseplate formation [Gajári, 1983]

Rail screws fastenings (inelastic)

Nowadays, direct fastenings are used in by-line/side tracks, station tracks and
factory siding tracks by MÁV.

The Fig. 7.8 shows the MÁV timber sleeper fastening for side track, and the
Fig. 7.10 shows the MÁV fastening to concrete sleeper. In figures baseplates
can be seen, which is ensure the 1:20 rail inclination [Gajári, 1983].

The parts and features of MÁV side tracks (secondary line) fastening:
 wedge, ribbed baseplate,
 conical shoulders rail screw,
 baseplate which ensure the rail canting,
 in case of timber sleeper: two rail screws inboard, and one in besides.

Fig. 7.8: The MÁV side-track fastenings for wooden sleeper [Gajári, 1983]

Direct system, MÁV side-track rail screw fastening is concrete sleeper with
two wood inserts: the wedge-ribbed baseplate is rests in sleeper, and it rests the
rail above. The conical shoulders H-type rail screws (Fig. 7.9) are tied down to
the sleeper, which are screwed into the wooden inserts.

Fig. 7.9: The conical shoulders H-type rail screw [Gajári, 1983]

In the concrete sleeper base plate there are only two holes diagonally,
because the truncated wooden inserts (Fig. 7.10) are designed so, that accept rail
screws. The disadvantage of these wooden inserts that they wear out below
15…20 years. Long ago, the exchange of wooden inserts was very difficult,
because inserts can be screwed out from concrete sleeper from up to down, and

built-in is from down to top, that requires removing of the sleeper from the track.
Nowadays the change is feasible from above [Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 7.10: MÁV side-track fastening for concrete sleeper [Gajári, 1983] Indirect rail fasteners

Indirect fastenings entail that the rail is connected to an interstitial

component, such as the baseplate, by other fasteners than those used to fix the
intermediate component to the sleeper. The advantages of indirect fastenings are
that the rail can be removed without having to undo the fastening to the sleeper
and the intermediate component can be placed on the sleeper in advance.
[Gajári, 1983; Esveld, 2001].

MÁV mainline rail fastening (GEO) to timber sleeper

The GEO fastenings (Fig. 7.11) ensure high clamping force and rotation
resistance. Its disadvantage is the rigid behaviour, the screws need frequent
tighten and the washers breakage.

Fig. 7.11: MÁV mainline rail fastening (GEO) to timber sleeper with baseplate
[Gajári, 1983]

In case of MÁV mainline (GEO) rail fastening to timber sleeper there are
four V type flat shoulder rail screws, which fasten the great size ribbed baseplate
to the sleeper. The parts of these fastenings are shown in Fig. 7.12.

Fastening of rails happen flexible, fastening of baseplate is fixed to the

sleeper. Elastic or plastic rail pads are placed between rail foot and baseplate
[Gajári, 1983; Szamos, 1991].

1 – fastening/screw nut
2 – washer
3 – GEO clamp plate
4 – GEO locking screw
5 – ribbed baseplate
6 – flat shoulder rail screw

Fig. 7.12: MÁV mainline rail fastening (GEO) to timber sleeper

[Horvát, 2015a]

MÁV mainline fastener (GEO) to concrete sleeper

Lately, the MÁV applies concrete sleepers exclusively. Four-hole baseplate

that provides the 1:20 rail inclination is applied for the oldest produced sleepers.
8 pieces small size truncated wooden inserts are used for fastening the 4 pieces
flat shoulder rail screws into concrete sleepers. This formation is
disadvantageous, because the sleepers are weakened down by the wooden
inserts, and the exchange is very difficult.
Lately, modern wavy wooden inserts are applied in the L type concrete
sleeper, which can be seen in Fig. 7.13. Benefits, sleepers aren’t needed to
remove from the track, when the inserts go to end of life, the exchange of inserts
happens from the top of sleeper.

Fig. 7.13: Wavy wooden insert [Gajári, 1983]


Fig. 7.14 shows the MÁV mainline fastener (GEO) to concrete sleeper
[Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 7.14: MÁV mainline fastener (GEO) to concrete sleeper [Gajári, 1983] Elastic rail fasteners

Spring spikes, or elastic rail spikes (Fig. 7.15) are used with flat-bottomed
rail, baseplates and wooden sleepers, the spring spike holds the rail down and
prevents tipping, and also secures the baseplate to the sleeper. The Macbeth
spike (Fig. 7.16) is a two-pronged U-shaped-like spike bent so that it appears
M-shaped when viewed from the side. Inverted J-shaped single pointed spikes
have also been used [Major, 2014].

Today, elastic direct fastenings are preferred for all types of track
[Major, 2014]:

 screw-type fastenings: a nut or a screw is tightened and this activates an

elastic spring, which clamps foot of rail to a seating plate or to a sleeper,
 spring-type or a clip-type: they are less adaptable then screw-type
fastenings, because there is no variability of assembling in a track.
Screw-type fastenings are reliant on the right range of the torque
moment which is exerted on a screw or nut.

Rüping-type elastic rail spikes fastening (direct)

Fig. 7.15: Rüping-type elastic rail spikes fastening [Kazinczy, 2004]


Machbeth-type elastic rail spikes fastening (direct)

Fig. 7.16: Machbeth-type elastic railscrew [Kazinczy, 2004]


SNCF RN and SNCF RS type elastic fasteners

Fig. 7.17: SNCF RN elastic fastener [Gajári, 1983]

Fig. 7.18: SNCF RS elastic fastener [Gajári, 1983]


VOSSLOH Skl-1 clamping springer fastening (direct)

Fig. 7.19: Formation of Skl-1 clamping springer fastening [Kazinczy, 2004]


Skl 2 fastening (indirect)

Skl-2 rail fastening can be seen in Fig. 7.20. This fastening compilation of
the GEO screw, the clamping element and the washer exchange can be easily
solved. The tightening moment is 200-250 Nm for the assembly. The Skl-2
fastening ensures the flexibility opposite to longitudinal movement
[Horvát, 2015].

Fig. 7.20: Skl 2 type fastening [Gajári, 1983]


Skl-3 type fastening

Fig. 7.21: Skl 3 type fastening []

Elastic fastening what used in Tokaido railway track

Fig. 7.22: Fastening unto Tokaido railway track [Gajári, 1983]


Pandrol "PR-clip" rail fastener

Fig. 7.23: Pandrol "PR-clip" in concrete sleeper [Horvát, 2015a]

Pandrol "e-clip" fastener

Fig. 7.24: Pandrol "e-clip" []


Pandrol "Fastclip" rail fastener

Fig. 7.25: Pandrol "Fastclip"


7.3. The rail fastenings quality control tests

7.3.1. Clamping force test

The clamping force, exerted by the fastening system, is of major importance

for the transmission of the load to the sleeper. A certain minimal value of the
clamping force should always be present. Furthermore, the effect of the upward
movement of the rail, causing a vertical tensile load on the fastening anchors,
should be taken into account. To quantify this, a quasi-static test was carried out
on the combination rail, fastening and sleeper. In this test, the rail is supported
while the sleeper is hanging on the fastening. The sleeper is loaded via an
auxiliary beam. The principle layouts of camping force test seen in Fig. 7.26
[Major, 2013].

Fig. 7.26: The principle layout of clamping force test [Major, 2014]

7.3.2. Vertical stiffness test

To determine the static vertical load of the complete fastening the test
assembly, supported horizontally, is loaded by a vertical force of 80±1 kN with a
rate of 50±5 kN/min. After one minute the load is removed. The
loading/unloading cycle is repeated two times. During the third cycle the vertical
displacements are measured at the four corners of the rail. From this, the average
maximum displacement “d” [mm] of the rail is calculated. Finally, the vertical
stiffness “k” is determined as the quotient of the load interval between 5 kN and
80 kN and the corresponding mean vertical displacement “d” [mm]. The unit of
“k” is MN/m (=kN/mm) [Major, 2014; Horvát, 2013].

7.3.3. Skew static load test

The principle layout of skew static test can be seen in Fig. 7.27. The
recurring force, which has a constant amplitude is working in granted action line
trough in attack point. The loading force is transferred as prescribed
[Horvát, 2013].

1 – Concrete block
2 – 54 E1 type rail
3 – Fastening with rail pad
4 – Loading equipment
5 – Free pivot point (fulcrum)
6 – Hard bearing layer
8 – Force Pvertical /cos

Fig. 7.27: The principle layout of skew static test [Horvát, 2013]

7.3.4. Longitudinal restrain test

In considerations about creep, relaxation, temperature effects, pull apart of

broken rail and braking forces it is useful to know the relation between the
longitudinal load on the fastening and the displacement in the longitudinal
direction (Fig. 7.28). Especially the maximum load is of importance. The figure
shows the measuring principle. The sleeper is secured by a rail fastening
assembly to the supporting structure. The position of the working line has been
chosen in such a way as to minimise the bending moment on the fastening
[Major, 2014; Horvát, 2013].

1 – Rail
2 – Fastening with rail pad
3 – Force-displacement measure
4 – Sleeper or concrete block
5 – Rigid fastening

Fig. 7.28: The layout of longitudinal restrain test [Horvát, 2013]

The prescribed way of loading is indicated in Fig. 7.29. It concerns a static

test without vertical loading. The load step is 2.5±0.3 kN. At some crucial
moments (increasing the load, slip through) the measuring signals were recorded
at a higher sampling rate [Major, 2014; Horvát, 2013].

Fig. 7.29: The test graph [Major, 2014]


7.3.5. Determination of rail fastening resistance for rotation

The purpose of the investigation to be determined that rotatory torque, which

rotate 1 ° the rail that fixed to sleeper with fastening by specified the sleeper
longitudinal axis between the parallel flat. The principle of measurement can be
seen in Fig. 7.30 [Horvát, 2013].

1 – Sleeper
2 – Fastening with rail pad
3 – Rail
4 – Rotation meas. instrument

Fig. 7.30: The layout of determination of rail fastening resistance for rotation
[Horvát, 2013]

7.3.6. Cyclic loading test

The laboratory test to assess the effect of repeated loading is the means of
assessing the potential long-term performance of the fastening in the track. The
cyclic repeated loading (Fig. 7.31) is meant as a simulation of the repeated
loading of passing trains. The test assembly, consisting of a short length of rail,
fastening system and one (half) sleeper, was fixed in the test rig. The bottom
plane of the sleeper acted as reference plane for the force directions
[Major, 2014; Horvát, 2013].

1 – Sleeper
2 – 60 E1 type rail
3 – Fastening with rail pad
4 – Loading equipment
5 – Free pivot point (fulcrum)
6 – Hard bearing layer
8 – Force Pvertical/cos

Fig. 7.31: The principle layout of cyclic loading test [Horvát, 2013]

To create two forces simultaneously with one hydraulic actuator, the test
specimen is tilted over a certain angle a by inserting a stiff wedge between
sleeper and the supporting structure. In this way two force components are
present, one parallel and the other perpendicular to the bottom plane of the
sleeper. A servo-hydraulic actuator applies the constant amplitude cyclic force.
The actuator load is introduced on the machined railhead by means of a load
application head provided with a concave surface to concentrate the load on the
right reference point. The other side of the actuator is connected to a hinge to
enable the free movement of the railhead. The displacement measurements
points in the rail and the loading-time graphs can be seen in Fig. 7.32
[Major, 2014; Horvát, 2013].

Fig. 7.32: Displacement measurements rail relative to sleeper [Major, 2014]

7.3.7. Inspection records after cyclic loading test

These investigations are accomplished before and after the cycling loading
The rate of changes will not exceed the following values:
 changes in clamping force longitudinal component 20%,
 changes in vertical stiffness 25%,
 changes in clamping force 20%.


8.1. Roles of railway ballast

Roles of railway ballast can be sentences as follows:

 support railway track solidly but elasticly,
 transmit forces from the bottom plane of the sleeper to substructure,
 energy damping,
 ensure adequate longitudinal and cross-direction stability/resistance to
railway track,
 ensure permanently value of settlement, direction and twist geometry
 let the precipitation (e.g. rain water) through [Gajári, 1983].

8.2. Material of railway ballast

Good quality railway ballast material gratifies the following points:

 granular structure without cohesion,
 in non-primary track sandy gravel21 or slag (dross) 22,
 usually deep magmatic rock (basalt, granite, andesite, gabbro,
porphyry), or possibly hard limestone,
 high strength, frost proof,
 longish and cubic shape, as well as size, rough surface, sharp edge of
particles and high inner friction of agglomeration is very important
[Gajári, 1983].

Fig. 8.1 presents a railway line with new condition railway ballast bed,
whereas Figures 8.2-8.4 show ballast bed materials in „run down” condition.

Sandy gravel is less adequate for railway ballast material, because it consists of worn surfaced,
rounded particles. They provide low inner resistance of the aggregate. Dynamic effect can easily
loosen sandy gravel ballast under the sleepers, it quickly causes settlements in the track geometry
due to a few through-rolled axles. Sandy gravel ballast bed has low longitudinal and cross-
directional ballast resistance, it causes direction and longitudinal track geometry faults,
Some of foreign railway companies uses slag for construction railway ballast in the non-primary
railway tracks. In case of slag is free from Martin-slag, is adequate for ballast of tracks mentioned

Fig. 8.1: Railway track with new condition railway ballast bed [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.2: Railway track with „run down” condition railway ballast bed 1.
[Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.3: Railway track with „run down” condition railway ballast bed 2.
[Szabolcs Fischer’ photo]

Fig. 8.4: Railway track with „run down” condition railway ballast bed 3.
[Ágnes Nagy’s photo]

8.3. Importance of railway ballast in railway load distribution

Load distribution in railway substructure is show in Fig. 8.5. Based on this

figure it can be identified that in case of normal condition from a 125 kN wheel
load approx. 370 kPa (0.37 MPa) pressure (stress) is evolved on the top of the
ballast (on the bottom surface of sleeper), whereas the value of pressure is
approx. 100 kPa (0.1 MPa) on the bottom surface of the ballast bed. It means
that the contact pressure arises on the rail head is reduced to its thousandth by
the railway superstructure, and this low pressure (approx. 100 kPa) is transmitted
to the earthwork or protection layer.

Fig. 8.5: Load distribution in the railway superstructure [Lichtberger, 2005]


8.4. Requirements to railway ballast

8.4.1. General technical requirements Typical size of ballast bed

Typical sizes of ballast bed are prescribed by D.54 “regulation” of MÁV

[MÁV, 1988], these are the followings:
 thickness (depth),
 width of ballast shoulder,
 inclination of slope,
 heap.

The effective ballast bed thickness23 according to present prescription is:

 min. 25 cm in case of “sub” railway line,
 min. 35 cm in case of main railway line.

In case of fishplate jointed tracks the width of ballast shoulder is 40 cm on

both sides (inner and outer) [MSZ, 1977], whereas in CWR tracks is according
to prescription of MÁV (2009):

„(1) In railway tracks between stations and passing tracks as CWR tracks can
be constructed R=3,000 m and above like in straight sections.” [MÁV, 2009]

The dimension of ballast shoulder width has to be determined according to

Table 8.1.

Effective ballast bed thickness has to be measured in the cross-section of railway track. It is the
vertical dimension related to ballast bed on the specified side (generally in straight sections on the
outer side according to the direction of the connected curve) in the axis of the rail, between the
sleeper’s bottom surface and protection layer top surface (or in case there isn’t protection layer,
between the sleeper’s bottom surface and earthwork top surface).

Table 8.1: Width of ballast bed shoulder [MÁV, 2009]

Geometry case Inner side Outer side
straight and curve with
40 cm 40 cm
R≥3000 m
curve with 600≤R<3000 m 45 cm 45 cm
curve with 500≤R<600 m 45 cm 55 cm
curve with R<500 m 45 cm 65 cm

„In case of R≤600 m curved tracks at railway station with speed up to 40 km/h,
which are short (up to 50 m) length, it isn’t required to build more than 45-cm-
width ballast shoulder if there are “reversing” shoulders on both side filled up
until sleepers’ top level.

(2) In CWR tracks between stations the applicable horizontal radius values of
curves without any addition actions besides written in (1) are as bellows:
 in case of 48-type-rails R≥400 m,
 in case of 54-type-rail R≥500 m,
 in case of 60-type-rail R≥600 m.

(3) In CWR tracks constructed with concrete sleepers the horizontal radius
values of curves can be lower than written in (2)
 in case of using of sleeper anchors (safety caps),
 in case of application bonded ballast (glued ballast),
 in case of using any planned method that ensures adequate shoring.”
[MÁV, 2009]

The inclination of ballast bed side slope is generally 6/4 [MÁV, 1988].

In case of R<600 m curved CWR tracks without special shoring method

specified above (sleeper anchor, bonded ballast, etc.), on the outer side of the
track ballast heap has to be built. Heap should be constructed as shown in
Fig. 8.6 [MÁV, 1988].

Fig. 8.6: Build-up of ballast heap [MÁV, 1988] Compactness of railway ballast

In the aspect of the compactness of railway ballast the following main points
can be sentenced:
 it is important because of load transmission and stability of track,
 it can be developed by compaction (e.g. tamping),
 irregular compactness  irregular bearing  irregular stresses 
irregular settlement,
 dynamic effects and vibrations reduce compactness of ballast bed.

Requirements specified in Chapter 8.1 the railway ballast can achieve only in
the case if it is well-compacted. Compaction is made by platform vibrator, vibro
roller, special railway ballast compactor or dynamic track stabiliser.

Railway track “flows” in the ballast bed, i.e. it can moves both in horizontal
and in vertical plane. Railway ballast puts up elastic-viscous resistance against
these movings. The elastic part is provided by “stone truss” of railway ballast,
whereas the quasi-viscous is provided by inner forces between ballast particles.
Inner forces are partly from friction between particles, partly from interlocking
effect of them. The much compacted the ballast, the higher the resistance of
inner forces as well as “stone truss”, it is the very essential condition of “smooth
lay” and stability of the track.
In the aspect of vertical forces it is very important that there are compact
ballast beams under sleepers, and even it is required that there are the same

compactness of railway ballast beams under all the sleepers, and in case of one
sleeper, the same compactness ballast beams under both rails, as well as all the
sleepers have to uniformly lay on these beams. Unequal compactness causes
quick raising of unequal settlements that results untimely railway track geometry
torsions (cycle of railway track maintenance works is reduced).

Compactness of sleeper cassettes (space between sleepers) and ballast

shoulders can increase the strength of ballast beams, as well as longitudinal and
cross-directional resistance of track.

Compactness is increased by railway traffic, but in this case the most

important is the uniform initial compactness. In case of work of MDZ
(mechanised maintenance train) is required, and track geometry should be
corrected (in vertical and horizontal direction), the compactness of ballast is
decreased due to lifting of track and tamping. If MDZ work was professional,
the geometry of the track is the reachable best in principle, but the compactness
and resistance of ballast is the minimal. Every tamping (MDZ) work starts a new

The half of plastic deformation of the track (geometry) takes place due to the
first through-rolling axle after MDZ work. Because of the effect of many
through-rolled axles the longitudinal level (settlement) is approximately as
before tamping, i.e. the track „remembers” its geometry before tamping
(Fig. 8.7-8.8) (substructure faults can also cause it).

Plastic deformation of the track due to railway traffic can be calculated as


𝑒𝑁 = 𝑒1 ∙ (1 + 0,2 ∙ 𝑙𝑔𝑁) (8.1.)

 „eN”: plastic settlement after “N” pieces through-rolled axles,
 „e1”: plastic settlement after the first through-rolled axle,
 „N”: number of through-rolled axle.

Fig. 8.7: Effect of ballast memory after MDZ work [Selig and Waters, 1994]

Fig. 8.8: Sleeper settlement as a function of tamping lift [Selig and

Waters, 1994]

In case of MDZ work ballast shoulder and ”sleeper cassette” compactor or

DTS (Dynamic Track Stabiliser) can be applied24.

Among the modern tamping machines there are special types that contain DTS too, e.g. Plasser
09-4X Stopfexpress.

The role, advantage and application limit of DTS:

 to replace quickly the natural compaction effect of railway traffic in the
 the artificial stabilisation of DTS provides higher, but uniform
settlements, it ensures that the compaction effect of railway traffic is
reduced (lower unequal settlements),
 DTS replaces the effect of railway traffic with static vertical and
dynamic lateral forces (both forces can be changed and controlled)
(Fig. 8.9),
 the effect of DTS is about the effect of 70,000…100,000 through-rolled
tons, with controlled, uniform plastic settlemenst,
 using DTS for stabilisation is only effective in case of relatively clear

Fig. 8.9: Work principle of DTS []

There are isotope measurement methods for determine compactness of

ballast, but these devices generally aren’t applied for ballast but granular soils
because of their reliability.
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 253 Resistance of railway ballast

There are two different type of railway ballast resistance value:

 longitudinal ballast resistance that is important in fishplated rail tracks
and in CWR tracks’ breathing sections, it is from friction and passive
pressure between ballast and sleepers,
 cross-directional ballast resistance is 50…60% from friction at sleeper
bottom, 30% from friction at both sides of sleepers, and 10% from
passive pressure of both ends of sleepers.

The followings influence ballast resistance:

 foulness (contamination), worn of particles, moisture content (e.g.
 friction at sleeper bottom is increased due to traffic,
 sleeper space,
 width of ballast shoulder,
 compactness.

Longitudinal resistance of railway ballast: counter force per track metre against
longitudinal move of sleepers in ballast bed. Its value influences move of rail
ends in breathing section or move of rail ends at rail/rail welt breakage. High
clamping force of railway fastening is very important to exploit this ballast

Longitudinal resistance of railway ballast per one rail:

 5 kN/m – in railway track built with concrete sleepers,
 4 kN/m – in railway track built with wooden sleepers,
 it can be increased by dynamic stabilisation with 30…50%,
 traffic’s compaction effect can be 80…100%,
 8 kN/m in normal condition (in frozen ballast the longitudinal rail
resistance is dominant),
 the whole value of longitudinal resistance of railway ballast per track is
twice higher than the values above.

Ballast resistance in cross-direction: counter force per track metre against

cross-directional move of sleepers in ballast bed. Its value influences the track
cross-directional stability in curves (resistance against lateral buckling). Its value
varies due to width of railway ballast, quantity of ballast between sleepers,

material , particle size distribution, compactness, condition (muddied, frozen,

etc.) of ballast, structure of track (type, weight size of sleepers, sleeper space).
Its value can be increased with special solution (heap of ballast shoulder, sleeper
anchor, ballast gluing (bonded ballast), etc.).

Approximate practical values in concrete sleeper track:

 tamped and direction regulated track: 8…10 kN/m,
 dynamic stabilised track: 13…15 kN/m,
 consolidated ballast: 15…18 kN/m. Contamination (fouling) of ballast bed

Lifetime and quality of railway track are influence by ballast fouling. A

variety of mainline track conditions across North America is identified the
sources of fouling materials that are shown in Fig. 8.10. It indicated that ballast
breakage was the main source of fouling material, while the minor sources of
fouling materials are infiltration from underlying granular layer and surface,
subgrade infiltration or sleeper wear [Shi, 2009].

Fig. 8.10: Major source of ballast fouling [Selig and Waters, 1994]

Source of ballast fouling [Shi, 2009]:

 ballast breakage,
 handling (at quarry; during transporting; from dumping),
 thermal stress from heating (desert),
 chemical weathering (e.g. acid rain),

 frost effect,
 tamping damage,
 traffic damage (repeated load, vibration, hydraulic action of
 infiltration from ballast surface, combination of materials,
 materials delivered with ballast,
 materials dropped from the train,
 materials from wind blow,
 infiltration from underlying layers,
 old track bed breakdown,
 subballast particle migration from inadequate gradation,
 subgrade infiltration.

8.4.2. Requirements of MSZ EN 13450:2003 standard

Target standards for special product groups are introduced in the European
harmonised regulation system. EN 13450:2002 standard “Aggregates for railway
is one of them, which was introduced in Hungary in 2003 [CEN, 2003], it was
modified in 2009 and 2013. Version of 2013 of standard [CEN, 2013a] was
withdrawn on May 1, 2014, now the version 2003 is valid [].
MÁV made translation for inner use, which is applied in the qualification
practise in that form.

The CEN (2003) standard gives prescription and limit values for railway
ballast, as well as required laboratory tests:
 geometrical requirements,
 railway ballast size,
 grading (particle size distribution),
 fines,
 fine particles,
 particle shape,
 flakiness index,
 shape index,
 particle length,
 physical requirements,
 resistance to fragmentation,
 resistance to wear,

 durability,
 freeze/thaw resistance,
 magnesium-sulphate soundness test,
 particle density,
 water absorption,
 petrographic type,
 harmful components,
 origin determination.

Short descriptions of the parameters are given in Chapters

Details and full descriptions of the tests can be found in the cited standards. Railway ballast size

Railway ballast size shall be designated by a pair of sieve sizes in millimetre

with “d” as the lower limit designation sieve and “D” as the upper limit
designation sieve between which most of the particle size distribution lines. For
railway ballast “D” is 50 mm or 63 mm and “d” is 31.5 mm. Grading (particle size distribution)

Grading should be determined by sieving according to MSZ EN 933-1

[CEN, 2012b] standard, the sizes of sieves are the followings:
…40.0…50.0…63.0 mm.
The basic question for several fractions what percentage passing by mass at
the sieves (Table 8.2).

Table 8.2: Categories for grading [CEN, 2003]

Sieve 31.5/50 mm 31.5/63 mm 31.5/63 mm 31.5/63 mm 31.5/63 mm 31.5/63 mm
size A B C D E F
(mm) Percentage passing by mass
80 100 100 100 100 100 100
63 100 97–100 95–100 97–99 95–99 93–99
50 70–99 70–99 70–99 65–99 55–99 45–70
40 30–65 30–70 25–75 30–65 25–75 15–40
31,5 1–25 1–25 1–25 1–25 1–25 0–7
22,4 0–3 0–3 0–3 0–3 0–3 0–7
31.5–50 ≥50 ≥50 ≥50 – – –
31.5–63 – – – ≥50 ≥50 ≥85
Note: The requirement for passing the 22.4 mm sieve applies to railway ballast sampled
at the place of production. Fines

The fines content25 determined in accordance with CEN (2012b) shall be

declared in accordance with the relevant category specified in Table 8.3. When
required cleanliness shall be assessed from the fines content. Fines shall be
considered non-harmful if the total fines content is less than the relevant
category specified in Table 8.3 in accordance with the provisions valid in the
place of use of the aggregate.

Table 8.3: Categories for fines content [CEN, 2003]

A B C Declared D
Sieve size(mm)
Maximum percentage passing by mass
0.063 0.5 1.0 1.5 >1.5 no requirement

Degradation of railway ballast during transport (max. percentage of passing

by mass in case of 22.4-mm-sieve is shown in Table 8.4.

Table 8.4: Degradation of railway ballast during transport [CEN, 2003]

Particle size
d<22,4 mm 5 7 no requirement

Fines content is the particle mass percentage of smaller than 0.063 mm fraction in
railway ballast.

The content of fine particles26 determined in accordance with CEN (2012b)

shall be declared in accordance with the relevant category specified in Table 8.5.

Table 8.5: Categories for fine particles content [CEN, 2003]

A B Declared C
Sieve size (mm)
Maximum percentage passing by mass
0.5 0.6 1.0 >1.0 no requirement Flakiness index

When required the shape of coarse railway ballast shall be determined in

terms of the flakiness index as specified in EN 933-3 [CEN, 2012c].
Flakiness index shall be the reference test for the determination of shape of
railway ballast. The Flakiness index shall be declared in accordance with the
relevant category specified in Table 8.6.

Table 8.6: Categories for maximum values of flakiness index [CEN, 2003]
Flakiness index Category

≤15 FIRB 15
≤20 FIRB 20
≤25 FIRB 25
4-25 FIRB 4/25
>25 FIRB declared
no requirement FIRB NR Shape index

Where required, the shape index of the railway ballast determined in

accordance with EN 933-4 [CEN, 2008] shall be declared in accordance with the
relevant category specified in Table 8.7.

Fine particles content is the particle mass percentage of smaller than 0.5 mm fraction
in railway ballast.

Table 8.7: Categories for maximum values of shape index [CEN, 2003]
Shape index Category

≤10 SIRB 10
≤20 SIRB 20
≤30 SIRB 30
5-30 SIRB 5/30
>30 SIRB declared
no requirement SIRB NR Particle length

Particle length shall be assessed by measuring with an appropriate gauge or

calipers. Limits should be selected from the specified range until such a time as
there is more data available on aggregate properties related to performance.
When required, the particle length shall be declared in accordance with the
relevant category specified in Table 8.8.

Table 8.8: Categories for particle length [CEN, 2003]

Percentage by mass with length 100 mm in a greater
than 40 kg sample
Particle length category
A B C D Declared E
4 6 8 12 >12 no requirement Resistance to fragmantation

When required, the resistance to fragmentation of railway ballast (Los

Angeles coefficient, LARB, using the conditions as specified in annex C in
CEN (2003) standard), determined as specified in MSZ EN 1097-2
[CEN, 2010a], clause 5, shall be declared in accordance with the relevant
category specified in Table 8.9. The Los Angeles test method shall be the
reference test for the determination of resistance to fragmentation of railway

Table 8.9: Categories for maximum values of Los Angeles coefficient

[CEN, 2003]
Los Angeles

≤ 12 LARB 12
≤ 14 LARB 14
≤ 16 LARB 16
≤ 20 LARB 20
≤ 24 LARB 24
> 24 LARB declared
no requirement LARB NR Resistance to wear

When required, the resistance to wear of railway ballast (micro-Deval

coefficient, MDERB using the conditions as specified in annex E in CEN (2003)
standard) determined in accordance with MSZ EN 1097-1 [CEN, 2012a], shall
be declared in accordance with the relevant category specified in Table 8.10.

Table 8.10: Categories for maximum values of resistance to wear [CEN, 2003]

≤5 MDERB 5
≤7 MDERB 7
≤11 MDERB 11
≤15 MDERB 15
>15 MDERB declared
no requirement MDERB NR Resistance to freezing and thawing, magnesium sulphate soundness test

When required, the durability of railway ballast in terms of freeze/thaw

resistance, shall be assessed by either the freeze/thaw test in accordance with
MSZ EN 1367-1 [CEN, 2007], using the conditions as specified in annex F in
CEN (2003) standard, or the magnesium sulphate soundness test in accordance
with MSZ EN 1367-2 [CEN, 2010b], using the conditions as specified in
annex G in CEN (2003) standard and the results declared.

CEN (2003) standard doesn’t give requirements and categories for

magnesium-sulphate soundness, but the withdrawn CEN (2013a) standard does
(Table 8.11).

Table 8.11: Categories for magnesium-sulphate soundness [CEN, 2013a]

Magnesium sulphate Category
≤3 MSRB 3
≤6 MSRB 6
>6 MSRB declared
no requirement MSRB NR

There is limited experience of the use of either of these tests for assessing the
durability of railway ballast. Advice on the applicability of the test methods and
of using water absorption as a screening test is given in annex H in CEN (2003)
standard. Water absorption

When required the water absorption shall be determined in accordance with

MSZ EN 1097-6 [CEN, 2013] annex B and the results declared.

8.4.3. Requirements to ballast according to MÁV

In the aspect of railway ballast, now the MÁV 102345/1995 PHMSZ

regulation’s Modification 4 [MÁV, 2010] is valid. Tests of material properties

Determination of material properties of railway ballast has to be made by eye

inspection test or manual devices (equipments) on samples from railway track or
quarry, at the field or in accredited laboratories according to CEN (2003)
standard and MÁV (2010) regulation.
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 262 Field tests made by eye inspection as well as manual equipments

(devices) Particle shape – Flakiness index

Particle shape test has to be made according to CEN (2003) standard’s

Chapter 6.6.1. The required flakiness index is the value below:

Speed Flakiness index

V>120 km/h FlRB15,
120 km/h≥V≥40 km/h FlRB20,
40 km/h>V FlRB25. Cleanness test

 Material of railway ballast mustn’t contain remains of soil or vegetables,

or other organic parts and contaminations,
 fine particle content of ballast should be lower than 1.0 percent,
 fines content of ballast should be lower than 1.0 percent. Laboratory tests Particle shape

See Chapter Grading (particle size distribution)

Particle size distribution should be made according to CEN (2003) standard’s

Chapter 6.3. The required categories are „A”, „B” and „C”.

The smallest size is 31.5 mm. The required limit curves are shown in
Table 8.12.

Table 8.12: Grading curves [MÁV, 2010]

Sieve size
Percentage passing by mass
80 100 100 100 100 100 100
63 100 97–100 95–100 97-99 95-99 93-99
50 70–99 70–99 70–99 65-99 55-99 45-70
40 30–65 30–70 25–75 30-65 25-75 15-40
31.5 1–25 1–25 1–25 1-25 1-25 0-7
22.4 0–3 0–3 0–3 0-3 0-3 0-7
31.5–50 ≥50 ≥50 ≥50 – – –
31.5–63 ≥50 ≥50 ≥50

Speed Sign of limit curve

V>120 km/h „A”,
120 km/h≥V≥80 km/h „A”, or „B”,
80 km/h≥V≥40 km/h „A”, „B”, or „C”,
40 km/h>V „A”…„E”.

The prescribed quantity of railway ballast for the test is min. 50 kg, in case of
homogenous ballast, the sample is taken from one sleeper cassette. Strength tests

Strength tests are made according to CEN (2003) standard’s Chapter 7.

Resistance to fragmentation (Los Angeles coefficient) and resistance to wear
(Micro-Deval coefficient) have to be tested.

The bases of the qualification are the Los Angeles and Micro-Deval
coefficients (Table 8.13).

Table 8.13: Maximal values of Los Angeles and Micro-Deval coefficitens

[MÁV, 2010]
Permitted speed on
the railway track LARB (%) MDERB (%)
V>120 16 11
120≥V≥80 16 15
80≥V≥40 20 15
V>40 24 15

Requirements are fulfilled in case of parameters measured lower than the

given value pair’s values.

In case of qualification of (constructed) railway track, samples from tracks

are required.

8.4.4. Special laboratory tests of railway ballast material

In this Chapter breakage parameters of railway ballast are described, but

these tests generally aren’t standard test. Aggregate Impact Value (AIV)

The specimen to be examined comprises 10-14 mm surface-dried standard

grain. The specimen is put into a cylindrical receptacle. Dynamical load is
applied by dropping a test weight (14 kg) 15 times from a height of 380 mm
onto the specimen. Then the test specimen is screened on a 2 mm screen (sieve).
The AIV value is determined according to the following formula
[Lichtberger, 2005]:

𝐴𝐼𝑉 = ∙ 100 [%] (8.2.)

 „m”: mass passing on 2 mm sieve,
 „M”: initial mass put into the cylinder.

The higher the AIV value, the lower the resistance of the specimen to impact.
The AIV test is correlated with Los Angeles test via a logarithmic relation, as
shown in Figure 8.11.

Fig. 8.11: Correlation between AIV and LA test [Lichtberger, 2005] Resistance to impact

The test of the resistance to impact according to DIN 52-115, part 2, is

similar to the AIV test. The difference is that a grain size of 35.5/45 mm instead
of 8/12.5 mm is used. The specimen is arranged in a cylindrical receptacle.
Dynamic load is applied by dropping a test weight (50 kg) a certain number of
times (20 times) onto the specimen from a certain height (380 mm).

Typical parameters of some ballast materials is presented in Table 8.14.

Table 8.14: Typical parameters of some ballast materials [Lichtberger, 2005]

LA AIV Impact Resistance DH
basalt 8.7-9.5 10 10.2-11.7 10.3-13.8
porphyr 10.3 10 11.9 11.1
sand stone 12.5 11 14 9.8
lime stone 13.7-23 15-20 16.3-21.3 5.9
RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION 266 Ballast Breakage Index (BBI)

One type of breakage index is introduced by Indraratna and Lackenby, this is

BBI. BBI is adequate for determining the varying of ballast during deterioration
process. For calculating BBI the initial and final (after the laboratory test)
grading of ballast material are required. The calculation formula is the following
(Indraratna, et al., 2011):

𝐵𝐵𝐼 = (8.3.)

Meanings of „A” and „B values are shown in Fig. 8.12.

Fig. 8.12: Meaning and calculation of BBI [Indraratna, et al., 2011]

The breakage test methods of crushed stone materials with grain size lower
than 2.0 mm (Fig. 8.13):
 Marsal-breakage (Bg),
 Hardin-breakage,
 Lee és Farhoomand breakage.

Fig. 8.13: Breakage test methods of crushed stone material with grain size lower
than 2.0 mm [Indraratna, et al., 2011]

8.5. Increasing lateral resistance of railway ballast

8.5.1. Safety caps (sleeper anchors)

Using of sleeper caps (Figures 8.14-8.15) is adequate for increasing cross-

directional resistance of railway ballast. In case of installing safety caps onto
sleepers, the effective front surface of the sleeper is increased, caps can be
installed in the outer and inner side of the curve. The increased front surfaces
raise resistances that are similar to passive earth pressures, in this way higher
forces should be evolved to cross-directional move of the track, i.e. lay of the
track is more stable. Using of this advantage, the permitted curve radii can be
lowered in CWR tracks. Regulation MÁV (2009) determines the required
distribution (location) of safety caps according to horizontal curve radius
(Table 8.15).

Fig. 8.14: Safety cap installed on wooden sleeper [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 8.15: Safety cap installed on concrete sleeper [Horvát, 2015]

Table 8.15: Allocation of safety caps [MÁV, 2009]

Rail profile
R [m]
MÁV 48 54 E1 60 E1
on every on every on every sleeper
sleeper in the sleeper in the in the inner as
inner side of inner side of well as the outer
curve curve side of curve
on every
on every sleeper
second sleeper
500>R≥400 in the inner side
in the inner
of curve
side of curve
on every second
sleeper in the
inner side of

8.5.2. Ballast gluing (bonded ballast)

In CWR tracks’ small curves the cross-directional resistance of railway

ballast can be increased by glued ballast beam at the end of sleepers in the outer

side of the curve (Figures 8.16-8.18). Glued ballast beams should built from the
centres of transition curves, alongside the circular curve in the outer side of the
curve. In case of there isn’t transition curve, bonded ballast beam has to be
started on the 15th sleepers before the start of the circular curve point, and has to
be ended on the 15th sleeper after the end of the circular curve point.

Fig. 8.16: Glued ballast beam in the outer side of the curve 1. [Szabó, 2011]

Fig. 8.17: Glued ballast beam in the outer side of the curve 2. [Szabó, 2011]

Fig. 8.18: Glued ballast beam in the outer side of the curve 3. [Szabó, 2011]

In case of CWR track with concrete sleepers the dimensions of glued ballast
beam on the ballast shoulder of small radius curves are presented in Table 8.16.
Data are related to standard width of ballast shoulder. In case of standard width
of ballast shoulder can’t be provided, depth (thickness) of beam has to be
increased the value ballast shoulder is decreased.

Table 8.16: Dimensions of bonded ballast beams [MÁV, 2009]

Dimensions of bonded ballast
beam in CWR track with
R [m]
concrete sleepers
width (cm) depth (cm)
600≥R>500 40 15
500≥R>300 40 20

In case of permission, CWR track can be built in R<300 m curves using of

inner and outer bonded ballast beams.

One of research results of Dr. József Szabó PhD [Szabó, 2011] is shown in
Fig. 8.19 related to bonded ballast.

After compaction After compaction and glueing

Force (kN)

Displacement (mm)

Fig. 8.19: Lateral (cross-directional) resistance of unglued and glued ballast

(in test field site, 40x15 cm glued beam cross-section) [Szabó, 2011]

8.5.3. Y steel sleepers

In case of using Y steel sleepers (see Chapter 6) CWR tracks can be

constructed with lower curve radii than with using concrete sleeper, because of
higher cross-directional ballast resistance due to Y steel sleepers.
In Hungary products of Thyssen Krupp GfT Gleistechnik are applied. In case
of application of Thyssen Y steel sleepers the minimum curve radii of CWR
tracks without any other special structures and solutions are the followings:
 in 48-rail system track: R=200 m,
 in 54-rail system track: R=225 m,
 in 60-rail system track: R=250 m.

The system of Y steel sleeper (Y-650, Y-600, Y-550) doesn’t influence the
critical curve radius. In case of R<500 m curve radius ballast shoulder with
width of 45 cm in the inner side, and width of 50 cm in the outer side should be

8.6. Elastic materials to reduce stresses of railway ballast bed

In the ballast bedded railway superstructure there are generally three different
structural elements to reduce stress of railway ballast bed (Fig. 8.20):
 elastic rail pad,
 elastic sleeper pad,
 elastic under ballast mat.

Fig. 8.20: Elastic materials to reduce stresses of railway ballast bed

[Horvát, 2015]

Elements are shown in Fig. 8.20 can be applied separately or even


These kind of elastic elements have damping effects resulted in Fig. 8.21. It
can be stated that in case of every elastic layer there is a frequency range
(approx. 0…30…50…60 Hz), where no damping can be reached, even the effect
is negative. It has to be considered at the planning.

Fig. 8.21: Damping effect of elastic layers [Horvát, 2015]

Values of static and dynamic properties of applied elastic materials have a

very wide range.

The materials can be the followings:

 open and closed cell polymers,
 set of elastic properties can be reached by changing of size of air
pore and thickness of material,
 uniform material properties,
 rubber, recycled rubber,
 elastic properties can be varied by changing of Shore hardness,
thickness, or shape of element.

The relevant laboratory material parameters of elastic layers are as bellows:

 density,
 Shore hardness,
 elongation at rupture,
 tensile strength,
 plastic compression,
 specific electric resistance,
 water absorption.

Parameters related to specimens:

 static spring constant,
 dynamic spring constant,
 static bedding modulus,
 dynamic bedding modulus,
 ratio of dynamic and static bedding moduli.

8.6.1. Elastic rail pad

The function of rail pads is to transfer the rail load to the sleeper while
filtering out the high frequency force components. Modern rail pads vary
considerably in appearance (Fig. 8.22) and their material properties.

Fig. 8.22: Rail pads appearances [Esveld, 2001]

Elastic rail pads can be installed in three different places according to

structural form:
 fastening system with base plate,
 between rail foot and base plate,
 between base plate and sleeper’s top surface,
 fastening system without base plate,
 between rail foot and sleeper’s top surface.

In Figures 8.23-8.27 laboratory test results of elastomers produced by

Getzner are presented.

Fig. 8.23: Vertical static loading of Getzner N 220/125/10-45 type elastomer

[Horvát, 2015]

Based on Fig. 8.23 it can be stated that the force-compression diagram isn’t
linear. Static spring constant (kstat) and static bedding modulus (cstat) can be
calculated using of following formulas:

∆𝐹 𝑘𝑁
𝑘𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡 = [𝑚𝑚] (8.4.)

𝑘𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡 𝑁
𝑐𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡 = 𝑎∙𝑏
[𝑚𝑚3 ] (8.5.)

 „F”: the difference of force values (min. and max.) on the quasi-linear
section (generally 10 kN and 60 kN),

 „s”: the difference of compression values (min. and max.) on the quasi-
linear section,
 „a” and „b”: dimensions of side-edges of the specimen (in case of
rectangular specimen).

Fig. 8.24 illustrates static and dynamic bedding moduli of Getzner Sylodyn
DN 325 type elastomer. It can be stated that the elasticity is strongly frequency
 static bedding modulus is much higher than the dynamic bedding
 the higher the frequency the higher the spring constant of the elastomer
– this is so called dynamical hardening.

Fig. 8.24: Static and dynamic bedding moduli of Getzner Sylodyn DN 325 type
elastomer [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.25 presents pressure vs. compression diagram in case of different

 without treatment (normal),
 salt water treatment,
 70 °C treatment,
 freeze/thaw treatment with more cycles.

It can be stated that the tested elastomer ages much less, because the
difference between measured data is low.

Fig. 8.25: Pressure-compression diagram of Getzner N 220/125/10-45 type

elastomer in case of different treatments [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.26 shows vertical force vs. compression diagram of Getzner Zw N

220/125/10-45 MBu type elastomer before and after fatigue test, where the
laboratory parameters were the followings (Fig. 8.27):
 5 kN/85 kN and 5 kN/37 kN loadings,
 7.7x106 cycles.

Fig. 8.26: Force-compression diagram of Getzner Zw N 220/125/10-45 MBu

type elastomer before and after fatigue test [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.27: Force-time diagram of fatigue test [Horvát, 2015]

Vertical static loading and dynamic stiffness diagrams of CDM-43 type

recycling rubber are shown in Figures 8.28-8.29.

Fig. 8.28: Static vertical loading of CDM-43 type recycling rubber in case of
different thicknesses [Horvát, 2015]

Based on Fig. 8.28 it can be stated that the higher the thickness the higher the
deflection (compression) at the same load than in case of smaller material
thickness, i.e. its static bedding modulus is smaller.

Fig. 8.29: Dynamic stiffness of CDM-43 type recycling rubber in case of

different thicknesses [Horvát, 2015]

Based Fig. 8.29 it can be stated that the higher the thickness the lower the
dynamic stiffness, and the lower the static stiffness too.

8.6.2. Elastic under sleeper pad

In case of installation of elastic under sleeper pad (Fig. 8.30) the ballast bed
can be spared, because ballast particles can penetrate into the under sleeper pad,
it results lower stresses. It ensures better lay and stability of track. The quantity
of MDZ works can be significantly lowered. It can be used in tracks with high-
speed, high axle loads and renewed sections too. Under sleeper pad is installed
onto the sleepers’ bottom surface before delivering to the construction (building)

Fig. 8.30: Under sleeper pad on the bottom surface of the sleeper
[Horvát, 2015]

ÖBB has applied under sleeper pads since 2007:

 a lot of million sleepers with under sleeper pad have built-in since then,
 and more than 1,000 switches with under sleeper padded sleepers have
built-in since then.

Figures 8.31-8.32 illustrate concrete sleepers with under sleeper pads.


Fig. 8.31: Concrete sleepers with under sleeper pad 1. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.32: Concrete sleepers with under sleeper pad 2. [Horvát, 2015]

Advantages of application of under sleeper pads:

 reduces the contact stress between sleepers and ballast bed,
 fixes the upper ballast layer,
 has vibration damping task. Under sleeper pad is a good solution for
reduction of secondary vibrations, e.g. against noise radiation due to
vibrations caused by through-rolled railway vehicle on steel or concrete
 reduces wavy rail wear,
 increases cross-directional resistance of the track.
It has to be mentioned that under sleeper pad can’t lower direct noise effect.

Requirements to under sleeper pad:

 resistance against contact pressure raise at the edges and vertices of
railway ballast particle,
 durable elastic properties,
 adequate behaviour against dynamic effects,
 suitable for railway construction and maintenance machines.

Under sleeper pad increases the dimension of contact surface between the
sleeper and ballast bed due to penetration property. In this way the contact
surface can be increased from the normal 3-9% to 30-35% (Fig. 8.33)
[Veit, 2013; Sárik, 2014].

Fig. 8.33: The contact surface increasing effect of under sleeper pad between
sleeper and ballast bed [Horvát, 2015]

Load distribution with and without under sleeper pad are illustrated in
Fig. 8.34. Based on the Fig. 8.34 it can be stated that in case of application
under sleeper pad the loaded surface is higher than in case of wihout under
sleeper pad, in this way the stress of ballast bed and substructure are lowered. It
results longer lifetime and longer cycle of MDZ works.

Fig. 8.34: Load distribution in case of tracks with and without under sleeper
pads []

The effect of USP (under sleeper pad) to the quality of railway track
geometry is shown in Fig. 8.35.

Fig. 8.35: Variation of railway track geometry on different types of railway

track sections [; Sárik, 2014]

Based on Fig. 8.35 it can be stated that the improvement of railway track
geometry is achieved by tamping in every case. Every section had to be
maintained (with geometry correction) in the investigated time period, but the
high-loaded section with R=425 m curve radius with concrete sleepers and USPs
wasn’t needed to be tamped because the quality of the track geometry was good
in every time in the investigated period [Sárik, 2014].

Fig. 8.36 presents the track geometry quality number of a track with USP and
an other without it. It can be stated that MDZ time-cycle can be lengthened more
than 2.5 times with application of USP.

Fig. 8.36: Variation of the quality of railway track geometry in case of

application of USP and in case of not []

Fig.8.37 shows the measured graph made by EM250 track geometry

recording car, and the variation of longitudinal level (settlement). Significant
good behaviour of the section with USP against without USP can be noticed.
Time-cycle of MDZ work could be lengthened from 5 years to 11 years by
application of USP.

Fig. 8.37: Measured graph made by EM250 track geometry recording car, and
the variation of longitudinal level on railway track with and without USP
[Veit, 2013]

Vertical and horizontal vibration damping of USPs is presented in Fig.8.38.

Fig. 8.38: Vertical and horizontal vibration damping of USPs


8.6.3. Under ballast mat

With using of under ballast mats the elasticity of the railway track is
increased. In case of application UBM (under ballast mat) reduction of
secondary noise, vibration protection, and protection of ballast material can be

UBM can be built on concrete plates (Figures 8.39-8.40), as well as on soil

earthworks (Fig. 8.41).

Fig. 8.39: UBM on concrete plate 1. [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.40: UBM on concrete plate 2. [Esveld, 2001]


Fig. 8.41: UBM on soil earthwork [Horvát, 2015]

Figures 8.42-8.44 show different types of UBMs.

Fig. 8.42: Getzner type UBM [; Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 8.43: Phoenix type UBM [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.44: Edilon)(Sedra Trackelast type UBM []

The top layer of Getzner mat is a geotextile with high elongation and tensile
strength. This mat layer is deformed by the weight of the ballast. Ballast
particles are bedded into the mat, as well as stabilised on the increased loading
surface (Fig. 8.45).

Fig. 8.45: Load distribution effect of UBM [Horvát, 2015]

UBM can be laid on sandy gravel substructure, concrete plate, as well as

bituminous load bearing layers too. It can be applied on used ballast (railway
reconstruction works) in case of there is protection on both sides. It can be built-
in additional due to low weight and simple technology. Track doesn’t need to be
removed, in this way short construction time is needed. UBM should be cut in
planned dimensions in the field.

Figures 8.46-8.48 illustrate application and construction of UBMs.

Fig. 8.46: Application of UBM on earthwork [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 8.47: Application of UBM on concrete bridge [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.48: Application of UBM on tube-plate [Horvát, 2015]

Vibration damping effect of Phoenix U 33-01 type UBM is presented in

Figures 8.49-8.50.

Fig. 8.49: Vibration damping effect of Phoenix U 33-01 type UBM in case of
35 cm ballast bed thickness [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.50: Vibration damping effect of Phoenix U 33-01 type UBM

[Horvát, 2015]

8.7. Ballast stabilisation with PU-foam

The advantages of ballast stabilisation with PU-foam are the followings:

 it hinders redistribution of ballast particles,
 it ensures much more durable track geometry,
 it results better LCC,
 it has good vibration damping effect.

DURFLEX ® railway track system is shown in Figures 8.51-8.53.

Fig. 8.51: DURFLEX ® railway track system 1. [Ferenc Horvát’s photo]


Fig. 8.52: DURFLEX ® railway track system 2. [Ferenc Horvát’s photo]

The superstructure form of ballast stabilisation with PU-foam is presented in

Fig. 8.53.

Fig. 8.53: Superstructure form of ballast stabilisation with PU-foam

[Horvát, 2015]

The steps of construction work:

 preparation,
 substructure repair,
 installation of saturation layer (Fig. 8.54),
 installation of ballast material (Fig. 8.55),

 built up of railway track,

 geometry correction,
 preparation of DURFLEX ® ballast,
 preparation of “building” train,
 PU foaming,
 ballast drying (Fig. 8.56),
 covering of PU components (Fig. 8.57),
 chemical bonding (some minutes),
 covering of normal ballast material.

Fig. 8.54: Installation of saturation layer [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 8.55: Installation of ballast material [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.56: Ballast drying [Horvát, 2015]


Fig. 8.57: Covering of PU components [Horvát, 2015]

DURFLEX ® working units are shown in Fig. 8.58.

Fig. 8.58: DURFLEX ® working units [Horvát, 2015]

Ground pressure values are presented in Fig. 8.59 in case of normal railway
ballast, and two different types of DURFLEX ® ballast (with and without
UBM). It can be seen that near the sleeper axis the lowest values are related to
DURFLEX ® system with UBM, and the highest value is related to normal
ballast superstructure.

Fig. 8.59: Ground pressure [Horvát, 2015]

Figures 8.60-8.61 show results related to measurements of a test section in

case of settlement and cross-directional ballast resistance.

Fig. 8.60: Settlements on the test sections of DURFLEX ® system, transition

zone and normal ballasted track [Horvát, 2015]

Fig. 8.61: Cross-directional resistance of ballast in case of DURFLEX ® system

[Horvát, 2015]

Based on Fig. 8.60 it can be stated that the settlements on DURFLEX ®

system railway track is more uniform – approx. 10 mm – than on normal ballast
bedded railway track after 3 years and 126 million through-rolled tons. In case
of normal ballast bedded railway track tamping work was needed after 6 months.
The average settlement values related to normal ballasted track is approx.
20 mm.

Consequences based on Fig. 8.61:

 lateral ballast resistance is increased 8-times by DURFLEX ®,
 no plastic deformation after loosing of loading.

DURFLEX ® railway track system hasn’t spread in Hungary, and according

to present information it is applied only in tests in foreign countries.




9.1. Construction and renewal of the substructure

The case of building a new substructure is always, when a brand new railway
line is constructed. In other cases, when an old substructure’s renewal method is
discussed, there are two options. The first option, when after the wrecking of the
superstructure, the substructure is reinforced by earthwork machines or other
technology. The second option is to use a substructure renewal machine chain
that can move on the railway.
The quality of the renewal works must be corrected, because the railway like
other structures can work permanently if the base is adequate.
The protection layers are always constructed after the crown of the
substructure is perfect. The construction of these layers depends on the
properties of the materials. These can be built in by a cleaner machine chain
(geosynthetics, SZK layer, polystyrene slab) or after wrecking of the whole
superstructure (stabilizations, asphalt layer).

The necessary shape of the substructure can be seen in Chapter 2.

9.1.1. Construction of the substructure

The method of the construction:

 building an embankment (Fig. 9.1):
 aligning the center points of the axle on the area by 1-2 m long piles,
 aligning the profile by stave scaffold that determines: the height of
the crown, the height after consolidation, the edge of the crown of
the embankment, the angle of the slope,
 overfill at height can be 3-7%, at width can be 2-6%,
 checking the aligning method is necessary,
 creating a cut (Fig. 9.2):
 aligning the center points of the axle and the projected points of the
edges of the crown,
 aligning the intersection of the slope and the ground, with giving the
angle of the slope,
 creating the profile by staggered scheme, checking the angle of the

Fig. 9.1: The necessary points that should be aligned and the determinable
parameters at embankment [MÁV, 2014]

Fig. 9.2: The necessary points that should be aligned and the determinable
parameters at cut [MÁV, 2014]

Fig. 9.3: An excavator and a roller, at the bottom an aligned point with yellow
marking [Zsákai, 2013]

9.1.2. Renewal of the substructure by earthwork machines

At local failures or at shorter railway sections (max. 1000 m) earthwork

machines (Fig. 9.4) are always applied for a renewal or maintenance work. In
this case, a full railway track closing needs, if it could not be happened, there
needs other technology to use.
The applied vehicles are the earthwork machines. These are the excavators,
bulldozers, rollers, oscillators and the transport vehicles.

Fig. 9.4: An excavator during work [Zsákai, 2013]

The steps of the process:

 wrecking of the railway superstructure and the lower ballast, cleaning by
mobile screening,
 removing the protection layer of the substructure if it is planned,
 building the designed layer structure, compacting the layers separately,
continuously quality checking,
 taking in the lower ballast, compaction, after that the construct of the
new superstructure,
 taking in the upper ballast, creating the necessary shape,
 lifting the railway track and setting the adequate rail crown level, setting
the determined geometry,
 creating the railway track (welding or fishplates),
 ending works (signals, electrical grounding and the reconstruct the other
fittings, etc.).

9.1.3. The renewal of the substructure by machine chain technology

In the case of longer railway sections or sections between stations, the fastest
and the most modern technology is the application of machine chains
(Figures 9.5-9.7). Of course, it depends on the length of the selected section,
because of the high machine costs. Always the best solution has to be used that
is cost effective.
The machine is a multifunctional substructure renewal machine chain. The
most modern type of this machine is the approx. 1 km long PM 1000 URM. The
movement and the operation depend on the aligned and prestressed leader wire
that “shows” the way of the works.

Fig. 9.5: The cleaning part of the machine []

Fig. 9.6: Feeding, spreading and compacting of the new material of the
substructure []

The completed work processes without wrecking of the superstructure:

 Removing the old ballast and the upper layer of the substructure.
 Cleaning, washing and regenerating the exploited ballast.
 Spreading the geosynthetics, creating reinforcement and protection
layers, compaction on the whole substructure crown (Figure 9.6.).
 Reconstructing the superstructure on the crown of the substructure and
bed it by the mix of the new and used ballast.
 Setting the optimal level of the rail crown according to the aligned
points, tamping the ballast.
 Transporting the waste material from the workplace.

Fig. 9.7: The processes of the machine chain [Horvát and Fischer, 2015]

9.2. Constructions by tools and human resources

The simplest technology at a railway construction is if there are only tools

and human resources. The railway companies use this method if the construction
doesn’t interrupt the railway traffic. It has slow tempo, so it is adequate for small
projects (e.g. maintenance works). This can be used also for projects, which can
be mechanized hardly, like at the railway tracks of warehouses, service lines or
spur lines.

 hand tools,
 simple elevators,
 rail and road transport vehicles.

The assembly of the superstructure by hand tools (Fig 9.8):

 Distribution of the sleepers according to the designed sleeper space,
setting into direction by a braid according to the aligned points.
 Fitting up the plates to the concrete sleepers, fixing depends on the type
of the fastenings.
 Shaping of the wooden sleepers at the place of the plates, boring the
plates to the right place (with pattern both sides, without pattern just one
 Putting the rail on, just one side (in curves the outer piece), marking the
axes of the sleepers on the rail web (pay attention because of the
 Loosing fastenings of the rail, boring the rails for the fishplates.
 Setting the sleepers at straight to square, at curves to radial direction.
 Permanently fastening of the rail.
 Putting on the other rail. Fastening it to the sleepers one by one while
setting the right gauge.
 Pay attention to hold the square pattern at the rail connections.
Deflection can be max. ±20 mm.
 The gap of the connections has to be set by the actual temperature’s
adequate shims.
 The set-up of the fishplates is done by 2-2 pieces of bolts. The first
screwing is loose, the permanently screwing is important if the railway
geometry is adequate for traffic.

Fig. 9.8: Assembly of the superstructure [Zsákai, 2013]

The creating of the permanently laying of the track:

 Directing the railway track according to the alignment. It can be made
by simple elevators or rack elevators.
 After directing, spreading the upper ballast (from train), then creating
the temporary profile of the ballast.
 Lifting the track to the adequate level of the rail crown, tamping the
ballast by pike or vibrator.
 Supplement of the ballast, creating the permanently profile of the

Ending works:
 Reconditioning the environment, transporting the waste materials.
 Calibration of the track, at all sleepers one by one (gauge, track level) by
track calibration tool (Fig. 9.9) and taking the data to the calibration

Fig. 9.9: Track calibration tool for measuring gauge, track level and leading
distance [Horvát, 2015c]

9.3. Medium machine technology

The reason of the development:

 The needs of growing performance.
 The possible of moving heavy weights.
 The releasing of the workplace from the storing of the needed materials.
 Execution of industrial amount at assembly and wrecking at workplace.
 The growing quality.

The used machines are the portal cranes and the track field transporters.
(Fig. 9.10). These are able to transport the track fields from the workplace to the
yard, where the assembly and the disassembly works happen. It gives larger
performance during the construction time. There are continuously assistant rails
on both sides, because the portal cranes move on this assistant track.

 Assembly of the track fields (ready for building in) and putting on the
transport vehicle.
 Taking off the wrecked and transported track fields from the transport
vehicle, disassembly of the track fields.
 Storing.
 Optional: renewing the used materials of the old superstructure
(sleepers, rails, fastenings).

Fig. 9.10: Portal crane during work [Horvát and Fischer, 2015]

Work sessions:

 Distribution of the sleepers, directing them.
 Putting on the plates, bonding by pattern.
 Putting on the rails to the plates, make the fastenings.
 Depose the ready track field.
 Making a report from all track fields. Measuring above the sleepers, one
after the other.

The wrecking means a reverse bonding. After the disassembly, the used
materials will be deposed.

While the material transport processes are made by the portal cranes, the
different assembly and disassembly works are made by hand tools.

9.4. Large machine technologies

9.4.1. Two parts construction technology

The leading machines are two rigid cranes (laying and wrecking roles) that
can move on the railway. The assistant rail track (from the portal crane
technology) isn’t needed. The transport of the track fields are executed by the
transport trains that are connected to the leading machines. The field tracks are
moved by pulling down (Figures 9.11-9.13).

The technology is similar to the medium machine technology.

The process of the railway constructs:

 Wrecking-laying train moves out.
 Disassembly of the fishplates.
 Wrecking of the track field, putting on the transport train by crane.
 Creating of the of the lower ballast’s top surface, compaction.
 Laying down the new track field from the laying train, building into the
right place (Fig. 9.12).
 The wrecking-laying train moves to the neighbour station.
 Bedding the track, lifting up and tamping the ballast.
 Setting the right direction, ballast supplement.
 Getting the guest rails together.
 Laying the new rails, fastenings, setting the right rail crown level.

Fig. 9.11: The sizes of the Platov crane [Kormos, 2007]


Fig. 9.12: Laying of the track field by Platov crane [Balázs Eller’s photo]

Fig. 9.13: Track field transport trains [Balázs Eller’s photo]

 Assistant rail track isn’t needed.
 On the next day, the empty transport train can be used as wrecking train.
 Relatively large transport capacity (four fields on a train).
 The capacity of the transport train can be set to the daily plan.

 It is capable 1200 m of railway track laying per a day.

 Relatively small cost level technology.

 Efficient in the case of Rmin≥900 m, at 300 m<R<900 m there are large
tangent deflection that means larger specific time cost.
 It needs serving human resources.

9.4.2. One part construction technology

The greatest advantage of the one part construction technology is its huge
performance, because the whole change of the superstructure is made in one
time. All works are made by one machine chain, so the work can be faster and
better quality also. Because of the less time, the specific time cost is less also
that means less closed track time. The development of the machine chains is
continuous, so more types of vehicles are presented.

Original processes:
 Cutting the welded rails into 120 m long pieces, connecting the end of
the rails by temporary solution.
 Sieving and cleaning of the ballast, setting the right rail crown level.
 Pulling down new long rails into the axle of the railway track and
welding into 360-600 m long pieces. After that, taking them out to the
ballast shoulder.
 Setting out the leading wire to the aligned points.
 Changing the superstructure in one time, at one method.
 Taking the old rails into the axle of the railway track, taking up by long
rail transport train.
 Supplement of the ballast, spreading, setting the right level of the rail
crown, creating the profile of the ballast, compaction.
 Welding the rail connections.
 Setting the permanent rail crown level, creating the permanent ballast
profile, compaction.
 Stabilizing the track by stabilization machine.

The properties of the technology:

 Complex machine chains, they can’t be teared from each other.
 The wrecking of the track and the construction of the new track go
successively, but in one time.
 The welded long rails should be prepared:
 Transporting the 120 m long rails to the work field, and pulling
down to the axle of the railway track,
 Welding the long rails into 360-600 m long pieces,
 Place the rails out to the ballast shoulder.
 The machine can scan the direction and the height data from the leader

Conceptions of the development:

 Multifunctional machine family – wrecking, construction, renewal (SUZ
and SMD).
 Only renewal, but large performance (SUM).
 Only renewal or wrecking (SVM machine family).

The developer and the manufacturer of the technology is the Plasser &
Theurer Company (Austria).

These can be found on all machine chain:

 The unit that pulls out the old rails from the sleepers and directs to the
sides of the sleepers.
 Sleeper picking up unit.
 The dozer unit that creates the crown of the lower ballast.
 Sleeper laying unit.
 The unit that pulls out the new rails from the ballast shoulder and directs
to the new sleepers.
 Old and new sleeper transport unit. SMD machine family

The machine continuously wrecks the old track, makes the ballast even, and
lays the new sleepers in this succession. This time, the new rails are waiting on
the shoulder of the ballast. The taking in method to the new sleepers happens
behind the leader machine. The extraordinary property of the SMD-system is the

chain wheel that is used to move the whole machine chain at the time of the

The new and the used sleepers’ transport there are on original transport
trains. These transport trains have lateral rails, because a portal crane has to
move back and forth. The portal crane has necessary transporting task, it brings
the new sleepers to the workplace, and takes the old ones away to the empty
spaces. During the construction work, the transport train is driven by the
machine chain, so other pulling train isn’t needed.

Next to the chain wheel driving-gear, a significant advantage of the SMD 80

series is that it has ballast former dozer and ballast transporter tapes (Fig. 9.14).
With these parts, if there is high volume of ballast, a perfect quality ballast
mirror could be created for the new sleepers. This ballast former dozer is capable
to work between platforms on uneven ballast crown. Another extra possibility,
that the rail track level can be constructing deeper than it was.

The properties of the SMD 80 machine chain (Fig. 9.15):

 Combined sleeper management.
 At the constructions, there is less reassembly necessary.
 At renewal work the transport train is in front of the leader machine.
 At a construction of a new track the transport train is behind the leader
 Performance: rush hour 400 m /hour, average 200-250 m/hour.

Fig. 9.14: The units of the SMD 80 machine chain [Zsákai, 2013]

The constructor unit’s build-up:

1. Rail pulling off rollers.
2. Truck, used at transport.
3. Sleeper picking up unit.
4. Chain wheel driving-gear, during work.
5. Ballast dozer, with plow.

6. New sleeper laying unit.

7. Truck, used at transport.
8. Articulated support.
9. Assistant driving-gear.

Fig. 9.15: The SMD 80 machine chain during work [Zsákai,2013]

1. The old fastenings are removed before the construction works.
Because of the safety, the fastenings are stayed on every 10th or
20th sleepers. These will be removed after the start of the renewal
works. The new rails are transported out to the work place.
2. The machine is getting up for the start of the construction works.
The rails are cut in this time, four pieces of sleepers are push
3. With the help of the articulated support, the machine is lifting. The
old and the new rails are being thread into the rollers (upper and
downer roller lines).
4. Picking up the used sleepers, the transport tape takes them away to
the portal crane, the portal crane takes a pack of the sleepers to the
empty spaces of the transport trains.
5. Letting down the chain wheel driving-gear.
6. Lifting the machine.
7. The transport system brings the new sleepers to the laying unit. It
centralizes the sleepers to lay them to a determined distance between
each other. In curves, the laying is in radial direction so there is no
need supplementary works.

8. Directing the old rails to the end of the sleepers, pulling the new
rails to the new sleepers by the controlling arms. Put temporary
fishplates to the rail connections.
9. At the end of the work, the assistant driving-gear holds the machine
until the rear articulated support is not able to load.
10. Placing the machine to the truck.
11. Behind the machine the human resources are placing the fastenings
and bonding them by bonding tools.
12. Setting the rail crown level, ballast supplement. SUZ machine family

The members of the SUZ machine family:

 SUZ 350 – it is one of the oldest types – in Hungary it worked between
 SUZ 500J – old type.
 SUZ 500 UVR – currently, it is one of the most modern machine chain.

Parts of the SUZ 500 UVR (Figures 9.16-9.18):

 Renewal unit.
 Moving unit, large performance diesel engine.
 Sleeper transporter portal crane.
 Fuel transporter unit.
 Sleeper transporter trains, safety train.

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Fig. 9.16: The units of the SUZ 500 UVR machine chain [Zsákai, 2013]

The working unit’s build-up:

1. Rail lifting rollers.
2. Truck, used at transport.
3. Sleeper picking up unit (Fig. 9.18).
4. Chain wheel driving-gear, during work.

5. Ballast dozer.
6. Lower ballast compacter.
7. New sleeper laying unit (Fig. 9.18).
8. Truck, used at transport.

Fig. 9.17: The SUZ 500 UVR during work []

Fig. 9.18: Picking up the used sleepers and laying down the new ones
[Zsákai, 2013] SUM machine family

Members of the SUM machine family:

 SUM-Q (serial product) (Figures. 9.19-9.21).
 SUM 1000 I (Italian product).
 SUM 1000 CS (Czech product).

The properties of the SUM –Q machine chain:

 It can be used only for renewal works.
 Combined sleeper management.
 The portal crane can transport 21 pieces of sleepers together.
 It doesn’t have ballast compacter unit.
 It doesn’t have chain wheel driving-gear.

Fig. 9.19: The units of SUM-Q machine chain [Zsákai, 2013]

The most important technological units:

1. Picking up the sleepers.
2. Ballast dozer and plow.
3. Laying new sleepers (Figure 9.20.).

Fig. 9.20: The SUM-Q machine chain during work 1. [Zsákai, 2013]

Fig. 9.21: The SUM-Q machine chain during work 2. [Zsákai, 2013]

9.5. Construction and change of the switches

9.5.1. Generally about the construction

In the older times, the constructor engineers had some problems with the
construction or renewal methods of the switches. Mostly the built-up of the
switches are according to the original continuous superstructure (Fig. 9.22). It is
a system of rails-sleepers-fastenings also like the other lines, and the developing
of the methods is parallel to the developing of the rails and sleepers also.
[Kormos, 2007] While in the old times the assembling of the switch was at the
work’s location, after some technological steps, nowadays the assembling of the
switches happens in factory. The transport of the switches needs special
transport train, after that a heavy-duty crane builds it in. This technology can
earn the best gauge and driving distance, so the lifetime of the switch is growing

Fig. 9.22: Automatic, arched switch [Tafeit and Joó, 2011]

The specialties of the switches [Kormos, 2007]:

 The switch’s sleepers have various lengths, at the end of the switch the
sleepers’ lengths are larger than the clearance zone.
 According to the Hungarian experiences, the rails in the switches has no
the used 1:20 inclination, but vertical. Because of that, before and after
the switch needs some sleepers that are running out the 1:20 angle (if the
next switch is in 40 meters, there is no need the angle so that section
must be vertical).
 The switch has special rails that can be made in a factory (in Hungary,
there is a switch factory in Gyöngyös).
 In the direction of the switch the loads are more significant than any
other parts. These parts of the structure are often changed.
 Because of the increased lateral forces, the rail crown level is especially
important. The small failures are growing the speed of the aging.
 Because of the previous reasons, the adequate substructure is very
important also.

9.5.2. Methods of the switch constructions Switch constructions by tools and human resources

In the old times, when many new stations were built and developed, wrecking
works were not happened, but new switches were needed so much the more.
This time the new switch was assembled in the axle of the railway track or next
to the railway track and it was pulled in by crabs.

The assembled switch could be moved by many modes. The simplest was the
already mentioned construction by lever technology. However if the switch was
assmebled far away from the new place, the transport was not easy. At first the
switch was taken on planks and it was pulled by rollers. The other method, when
the switch was in the axle of the railway track and a traction-engine pulled it in.
There was a fortunate case, when the place of the assembling was higher than
the new place of the switch, so the pulling in was much easier. The works of the
levers can be removed by the pulling with rollers if the area was adequate for
that [Kormos, 2007].

Nowadays, this construction method can be only sufficient at industrial rail

lines. Changing switch by crane

During constructions, the railways and it’s environment have been suggested
soon, that there is demand on a huge machines that can move on the rails and
elevate heavy weighted materials. At first, these were the steam cranes, after that
the diesel-electrical cranes. These machines were sluggish. Because of the
moving on the railway track, they were capable to change or construct switches
(Fig. 9.23). The problem was that these don’t have enough carrying capacity, so
the cranes had to elevate the switches into the right places in three main pieces.

Fig. 9.23: 12 tons carrying capacity Toldi railway crane [Kormos, 2007]

These works were made only on closed tracks. Before the closing, the old
switch had to be out bed and the new switch had to be assembled near the old
one. After that, the method was the following:
 The wrecking method had 3 parts after the removal of the fishplates. The
welded switches were cut into 3 pieces. The wrecked main items were
taken out to free places.
 Substructure/lower ballast layer creation and compaction.
 Building the new main pieces of the switch. After that it was fixed by
fishplates. The direction of the construction was always reversing than
the wrecking method.
 The crane moved out, creating the upper ballast, direction and rail crown
level setting by machine.
 In the case of fishplated rail track, the weldings were always made after
1-3 week.

With this technology, the construction needed less human resources. Even so
these cranes were not typical railway machines, they could only move on the
continuous railway track. Switch changing by KICSE machine chain

The construction process in few pieces was a big step forward, but simpler
methods were necessary also. Further development possibilities were the
assembling in other place (factory or industrial area), or the construction in one
In the 1980’s, these possibilities were solved by the use of Geismar UWG
switch changing machine group (KICSE) (Fig. 9.24). The costumer was the
Hungarian Railways. The elevating and moving of the switch wasn’t solved by a

heavy weight carrying-crane, but the use of few small machine units together. In
this case, the machine units compose one machine chain.

The elements of the system:

 the PUM universal elevator,
 the MWT-86 transport car,
 the CRA type assistant track and ramps,
 the ATR-12 type hydraulic traction-engine (not always necessary).

Fig. 9.24: The work process of the KICSE machine chain []

Based on Fig. 9.24 the work process is the following:

1. The KICSE pulls the switch on the transport cars and being pushed to
the work place.
2. Creating the assistant track to the place of the switch.
3. Pushing the switch to the assistant track to the necessary place.
4. At the place of the construction, lifting up the switch.
5. Pulling out the assistant track and the transport cars.
6. Letting down the switch to the lower ballast.
7. Creating the connection of the end of the rails, the machine chain moves
out, spreading the upper ballast.

This technology is perfect for changing one or two switches. If there are more
switches, the construction’s time consumption will be very long, so it won’t be
cost effective. However, the machine chain moves quickly, the creating of the

assistant track needs more time. Moreover it needs accustomed operator team,
and the volume of the human resources is significantly high. Construction by a heavy-duty crane

Thanks to today’s technological solutions, the weak points of the previous

switch changing technologies could be easily developed. The mentioned
technologies of the previous chapters have the following disadvantages
[Kormos, 2007]:
 Small carrying-weight, the switches could be built in in few pieces.
Originally these were in three pieces.
 The balance weight was behind on a safety train that was connected to
the crane. The significant elevations were only in the axle of the railway
track. The high radial rotation could be dangerous.
 If the new switch was out of the railway track, the crane must have been
 Because of the many soling, the cranes were not enough movable.
 The transport of the parts of the switches was improbably.
 The soling of the cranes was running over the clearance zone of the next
railway track.

After that, the Kirow Company developed a new crane technology. They
created a crane that can move on the railway track, and it has heavy-carrying
capacity. The most important type of these cranes is the Kirow KRC 1200 UIC
(Fig. 9.25) that has the heaviest-carrying capacity. The nominal load capacity is
120 tons.

Fig. 9.25: Kirow crane during work [Zsákai, 2013]

The large heavy-carrying capacity is thanks to the evolving of the balance

weight. This isn’t on a safety train, but it is the part of the crane. It comes out
like a cantilever, and it expands higher resistant against the elevating weight,
thanks to the lever arm. The cranes have more safety trains also, if it has to
transport the switches.

As it can be seen, the properties of this crane are better than the previous
technologies. The processes of the constructions are less, and 4-6 workers are
enough for placing the fishplates. Moreover the crane can transport switch also.
The construction of one switch needs approx. 10-20 minutes, so the specific time
cost is less too.

If perfect quality switches are needed, the assembling has to be in factory or

in industrial area. Thanks to this, the transports of the switches were another
solvable problem. As it was mentioned before, the sleepers of the end of the
switch are too wide, so these could be ran over from the clearance zone. Cause
of this, the switches can’t be laid horizontal, these has to be rotated while the
transport. For this task, the Plasser&Theurer Company developed a transport
train to solve the problems. It is the WTW 40 – Weichentransportwagen
(Fig. 9.26).

Fig. 9.26: Renewal works at Kelenföld in 2012 [Zsákai, 2013]



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