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Stop The Water
Maintenance Cost Analysis

Subgrade erosion or mud pumping is a serious problem and will develop where ballast is placed on soils with high shear strength but fine graded particles that are susceptible to eroding. While these conditions only exist in a small percentage of track renewal site the renewal costs are proportionally much higher as they require deep excavation and installation of granular layers.  

TrackTex prevents rain penetrating into the subgrade, but becomes permeable to pore water under the cyclic loading of passing axles. This means no water can penetrate to mix with mobile fines to form new slurry, while existing slurry will desiccate as the pore water is squeezed out. This results in an extended maintenance interval as the ballast can no longer be contaminated by the slurry and weakened.  

As a multilayer geocomposite using microporous filter technology TrackTex represents an increased investment for the initial maintenance when compared to a traditional ballast replacement exercise. However when we look at the whole life cost the benefit becomes clear. 

Assessing the value of TrackTex

In 2018 a Class 1 Railroad Operator produced a detailed cost analysis of a track rehabilitation to assess the value of using TrackTex. The rehabilitation was for a 492ft section which required maintenance every 18 months with a 24 hr outage. 

Introducing TrackTex to the works meant an additional cost vs traditional methods. This is largely the cost of the TrackTex itself, but also includes an allowance for the small increase in labour and plant time to install the TrackTex. Introducing TrackTex increased the cost by around 35% and did not change the timeframe for the works. 

By using TrackTex to prevent mud-pumping this section of track returned to a more usual maintenance cycle, expected to be around 15 years. The extra cost to introduce TrackTex was more than recovered as the first 18 month cycle finishes and no work is required. In this case the Operator predicts a saving of at least 9 maintenance cycles compared to what was necessary without TrackTex, and a saving of over $500,000 based on 2018 prices. 

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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Discover Our Case Studies

Explore our latest case studies showcasing our expertise.

Diamond Crossing Replacement with TrackTex

In Detroit Lakes, MN, a frequently trafficked diamond crossing operated by Canadian Pacific and BNSF had experienced frequent fouling because of mud-pumping. Mud pumping results in ballast failure,...

Coos Bay Line Tunnel 21 Rehabilitation

The Coos Bay Rail Line is owned and operated by the Port of Coos Bay. It spans 134 miles from Coquille Oregon to Eugene Oregon, providing connections to the North American rail network for manufact...

Crossing Repair and Replacement using TrackTex

This road crossing had been replaced and repaired multiple times due to issues with track geometry movement and differential settlement of the highway and railroad. Union Pacific Engineers assessed...