Technical Reports

A Study of Railroad Ballast Economics

  • 07
  • Sep
  • 2016
AUTHOR: Hay, W. W.; Baugher, R.; Reinschmidt, A. J.
KEYWORDS: Railroad tracks, Railroad ballast, Cost analysis, Transportation, Maintenance, Service life
ABSTRACT: This report presents the results of Phase V - Economic Evaluation of the Ballast and Foundation Materials Research Program. The present 'State of the Art' in the ballast costing area is discussed. The individual ballast costs are quantified to the extent possible using the data base compiled from the literature review and from replies to a survey received from 70 U.S. and Canadian Railroads. A discussion of the differences in ballast performance is presented. An equation to compute the additional cost justified to place a ballast of superior stability is formulated. It has been possible to quantify many of the costs associated with ballasting procedures; however, due to the wide diversity in operating conditions, procedures, gang organization, financial conditions and climatic factors, these costs vary greatly from railroad to railroad since many railroads do not take into account all costs in their costing exercises. The costs derived in this study can be used as an input to a general model for ballast selection.