Long-term behaviour of padded concrete sleepers on reduced ballast bed thickness

Titel in Übersetzung: Langzeit Verhalten besohlter Betonschwellen bei reduzierter Schotterbettstärke

Stefan Marschnig*, Ursula Ehrhart, Stefan Offenbacher

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit

Publikation: Beitrag in einer FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung


The positive effects of under sleeper pads have already been proven by track and laboratory tests worldwide. In Austria, padded concrete sleepers reduce track deterioration by 50 percent and have therefore been used as standard components since 2010. As the pads increase material costs, many infrastructure managers have discussed the idea of covering costs by reducing the ballast bed thickness. Technically, this approach (less ballast) is feasible, as the pads increase the track elasticity and protect the ballast. Further, pads lead to higher rail deflection and distribution of the load to more sleepers, and the stresses in sleepers are therefore relieved. Here, we compared Austrian test sections with padded and unpadded concrete sleepers and with a difference in the ballast bed thickness: standard thickness of 30 cm against 20 cm below the sleeper. Fractal anal-yses and standard deviations of the track’s longitudinal level provided information about the sections’ long-term track behaviour over 20 years. We found that the standard solution with 30 cm ballast performed better in the long term compared to 20 cm. Additionally, the test section with padded sleepers on a reduced ballast bed thickness showed a lower maintenance demand than the unpadded concrete sleeper track on a 30 cm ballast bed.
Titel in ÜbersetzungLangzeit Verhalten besohlter Betonschwellen bei reduzierter Schotterbettstärke
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Okt. 2022


  • Under Sleeper Pads
  • USP
  • Track Deterioration Model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnik und Ingenieurgeologie
  • Werkstoffwissenschaften (insg.)
  • Bauwesen
  • Angewandte Informatik
  • Tief- und Ingenieurbau

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems


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