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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

TTCI to test slab track for freight-, high-speed rail compliance


Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) has begun testing two 250-foot-long concrete-slab track sections developed by Portland Cement Association (PCA).

During the two-year test, TTCI will subject the sections to 100 million gross-tons of heavy-axle (39-ton) loads. Partially funded by the Federal Railroad Administration, the project aims to determine a design for "a safe and durable track system that can support heavy-axle freight loads while maintaining the tolerances required for FRA Class 9 high-speed rail," according to a prepared statement.

Widely used in Europe and Japan, slab track is designed to connect track to a concrete slab, eliminating the need for ties and ballast.

Through its "Cooperative Concrete-Slab Track Research and Demonstration Program for Shared Freight and High-Speed Passenger Service," PCA conducted initial tests showing slab track can be constructed to meet high-speed rail tolerances and support heavy-axle loads. The association also found that slab track can prevent sun- or heat-related kinks and buckling, and cold-weather-related weld separations or cracks.

An Association of American Railroads subsidiary, TTCI is testing the slab track on the High Tonnage Loop of the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing at the center's Pueblo, Colo., facility.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/10/2003