Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rail Ballast on the Shoreline

Don't mean to stir the whole coal train pot, but I have been asked a lot about the impacts of heavy trains on slope stability. What I can say is that heavier train loads and traffic does impact rail ballast used to support the rails. This especially true where ballast supports rails across soft saturated sediment as shown below.

It appears the ballast is side dumped off of rail cars and at least some of ballast flowed down the slope into the track side wetland. Some rail replacement work has taken place along this stretch as well as rails on the outside curve were heavily worn. 

Miles of waterfront are owned and managed by the railroads. Not sure if they have a blanket wetland permit.  

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