Designing a cost-effective, easy to maintain floating slab railway track
The Taichung Metro is a rapid transit system constructed by the city government of Taichung, Taiwan. The project includes track running on viaducts.
Ground-borne vibrations and noise, originated at the train wheel–rail interface and transmitted through the rails to the ground, can cause significant disturbance to people passing by or living alongside the railways. We provided the noise and vibration design to address these issues, as well as the design of the floating slab track to isolate this vibration. Prior to the award of the Taichung MRT contract, most floating slab tracks in Taiwan were constructed using springs to support the concrete slab. The spring system was preferred by Taiwan’s rail authorities because of the ease of replacement of springs if required.
Noise and vibration predictions were carried out, mitigation of noise and vibration was confirmed, and the floating slab track sections were modelled and designed in detail. We designed an innovative floating slab with the concrete slab supported on rubber pads, thereby providing a less expensive system. The particular design involved a system whereby the slab could be poured in-situ and jacked up to allow the pads to be inserted underneath. The benefit of this system is that it is easy to jack up the slab at a later time to replace a rubber pad if required.
The authorities accepted our innovative design. Our rubber pad design has since been used by the trackwork sub-contractor client for a number of projects following the awarding of the Taichung MRT project, including other projects located across Taiwan.