Railroad track transitions with multidepth deflectometers and strain gauges

Debakanta Mishra, Erol Tutumluer, Huseyin Boler, James R. Hyslip, Theodore R. Sussmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Railway transitions such as bridge approaches experience differential movements related to differences in track system stiffness, track damping characteristics, foundation type, ballast settlement from fouling or degradation, as well as fill and subgrade settlement. Identification of factors contributing to this differential movement and developing design and maintenance strategies to mitigate the problem are imperative for the safe and economical operation of both freight and passenger rail networks. Findings are presented from an ongoing research study at the University of Illinois that focuses on the instrumentation and performance monitoring of railroad bridge approaches with multi- depth deflectometers. Sensors installed at the selected approaches are introduced, and details of the instrumentation activity are explained. Track settlement data acquired over time are presented to compare the contributions of different substructure layers with the permanent deformation accumulation. Similarly, transient track deformation data gathered under dynamic train loading are analyzed to quantify the contribution of individual track substructure layers to the total transient deformations. Finally, a new approach is presented; it quantifies the support conditions under instrumented ties and assesses the percentage of the wheel load carried by (he instrumented tie. Instrumentation of track transitions with multidepth deflectometers has been shown to quantify the contributions of substructure layers to track settlement adequately. In the bridge approaches instrumented with multidepth deflectometer technology, the ballast layers appear to be the primary source of accumulation for both permanent and transient deformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Record
PublisherNational Research Council
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780309295376
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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