Track Geometry
Diagnosing Mud Pumping

Where mud pumping is left untreated trackbed maintenance intervals will be severely shortened, track geometry will be affected, and slow order to reduce track speed are likely to be necessary due to the increased risk of derailments. It has been reported that if mud-pumping is not correctly treated at the time of ballast renewal the life of the trackbed can be less that 100 MGT, compared to 1000 MGT for ballast which deteriorates gradually under the action of trafficking and repacking.

Effective treatment of mud pumping can significantly increase the cost of ballast renewal. It is therefore important to correctly diagnose where mud-pumping is the root cause so treatment is only applied to the areas where it is necessary.

Diagnosis Techniques

The classic visual symptom of mud pumping is the presence of fines and mud in the ballast. Water mixes with fine graded particles to create a slurry which is pumped into the ballast by the cyclic loading from passing trains. Changes in track geometry can be an early warning that mud pumping is reducing the track modulus, and will be apparent before the slurry becomes visible at the surface.

Where there are visual clues to the presence of subgrade pumping trial pits can be an invaluable tool to enable assessment of the ballast condition. By excavating at the side of the track it is possible to see whether there is a developing mud pumping problem.

Ground radar is one of the best techniques for observing the development of mud pumping. Radar waves pass easily through clean ballast but are slowed down when they encounter wet or fine-grained material. Rising mud is usually characterised by a strong shallow irregular interface.

Preventing Mud Pumping, Ensuring Track Stability

Comprehensive Support Delivers Trackbed Performance

At GEOfabrics, we provide technical support to help you get the most out of TrackTex and address the cause of mud pumping. This ensures the stability and performance of your tracks. Our team of experts utilizes advanced techniques and technologies to deliver effective solutions tailored to your specific needs

Professional Development Hours

GEOfabrics continuing education sessions provide technical training on specifying and using TrackTex. These sessions contribute to PDH hours.

Trackbed Stabilization

Geosynthetics are widely used as a way to improve ballast performance under railways. GEOFabrics RK4 is a geocomposite comprising a stabilizing geogrid bonded to our RK1 needlepunched non-woven sep...

Symptoms of Mud Pumping

The symptoms of Mud Pumping are similar to those of life expired ballast, i.e. wet spots appearing at the surface of the ballast accompanied by rapid deteriorating of track geometry. However, from ...
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