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Railway Construction

Construction of New Lines

O The main tasks involved in the construction of a new line are as follows.
(a) Land acquisition
(b) Earthwork and bridges
(c) Construction of station building, staff quarters, and other allied
including platforms and sheds
(d) Laying of plates including ballasting of track
(e) Opening of section to traffic
Earthwork for Formation

O Depending

upon the rail level and general contour of the area, the
formation may be laid in an embankment or in a cutting. A formation laid
in an embankment is normally preferred because it affords good
drainage. The height of the embankment also depends on the high flood
level (HFL) of the area and a reasonable free board should be given
above the HFL. The standard widths of the formation for BG and MG lines
are given in Table

Earthwork for Formation

O Some of the points to be kept in mind with regard to earthwork are given

(a) Earthwork is normally done in 30-cm layers so that the soil is well
(b) Mechanical compaction is normally done after each layer of
earthwork with the help of a sheep foot roller to obtain 90%
maximum dry density at an optimum moisture content.
(c) A shrinkage allowance of 5% is made for the consolidation of the
final cross section in the case of mechanical compaction. The
shrinkage allowance is increased to 10% if no mechanical
compaction is involved.

Earthwork for Formation

(d) A blanket of a thickness of about 30 cm is provided at the top of the
embankment where the soil is not of good quality.
(e) In areas where there are both cuttings and embankments, the soil from
the cuttings should be used for the embankments up to an economical lead.
The economical limit of moving the earth in the longitudinal direction is
determined by the mass-haul curve.
(f) For the early execution of earthwork, the section is normally divided into
convenient zones, with each zone requiring earthwork costing Rs 1.5 to 3
million approximately. Tenders are separately invited for each zone so that
work can progress simultaneously in all the zones.

Soil Stabilization and Railway Track

O Sometimes it becomes unavoidable to lay tracks on a very poor (or

undesirable) soil. In such cases it becomes necessary to improve and

strengthen the nature of soil by some suitable methods. Under such
circumstances, the following methods are used.

O Layer of Moorum
O Cement Grouting
O Sand Piles
O Use of Chemicals
1. Layer of Moorum

O This method is widely used and is adopted if a poor quality soil comes

across a track such as black cotton soil which is a fine black loomy soil.
This soil has the tendency of expanding (or swelling) when moist and of
caking and cracking heavily when dry.

O Tracks laid on formation of maintain. In rainy season, the soil fills up

ballast interest less, the track in the worst places gets sodden and
spongy track is reduced. In hot weather, the cracks are formed and the
ballast is lost in filling up these cracks.

1. Layer of Moorum

O Thus, the alignment as well as level is disturbed and with mud filling the

interstices, the track loses. Its resiliency, therefore, for these very
reasons, a layer of moorum varying in thickness from 12" to 24" is laid
under the ballast. This layer distributes the pressure of the load and
prevents the ballast from being lost in the cracks of the soil.

O Instead

of moorum, other materials such as ashes, concrete, slabs,

rubber, unserviceable sleepers etc are also used and are found quite

1. Layer of Moorum
2. Cement Grouting

O In this method, steel tubes of 1 1/4 " in diameter and 5ft long are driven

into the formation at every alternate sleeper and near their ends as
shown in figure. The tubes are driven into the foundation at an angle
such that the end of tube is nearly under the rail.

O The cement grout is forced under a pressure of 100 psi through these

tubes. The proportion of cement grout depends on the type and condition
of formation. The concert grout spreads through the poor soil and
consolidates it. The steel tubes are then gradually taken out.

2. Cement Grouting
3. Sand Piles

O This method of strengthening the track laid on poor is most widely used

in development countries like America. In this method, a vertical bore

about 12" diameter is made in the ground by driving a wooden pile. The
wooden pile is then withdrawn and the space is filled with sand and is
well rammed. The sand piles are driven in the pattern as shown.

O It is also arranged that cross sectional area of the sand piles is about 20%

of the formation area. Thus, the top section of the formation is covered
with sand which makes the track stable on poor soil.

3. Sand Piles
4. Use of Chemicals

O In

this method, chemicals are used in place of cement grout to

consolidate the soil. For example, silicate of soda followed by calcium
chloride is effective for sandy soils containing less than 25% of silt and