Rail Research

The University of Kansas is committed to helping the railroad industry improve safety, efficiency, extending track life and protecting the environment through research on the many factors that contribute to this critical sector of the American economy.  Some of the areas of ongoing research include:

Track Structure

Professors Parsons and Han have led several projects that address problems with ballast and subgrade conditions.  Ballast that is removed during an undercutting action is often cleaned of fines and then recycled back onto the track.  For this project KU investigated the benefit of adding a geogrid reinforcement layer to the ballast during undercutting.  The first figure shows geogrid added to ballast and the second shows the recycled ballast being tested under dynamic loading in a laboratory.  The geogrid did show a substantial benefit during this test. 

Professors Parsons and Han are also working on identification of locations with poor ballast or subgrade conditions using a variety of technologies.

two students doing a field test on train tracks using resistivity