Geopier Foundation Company has introduced its newest Intermediate Foundation® solution: the GeoSpike℠ System—“a low‐cost method for strengthening weak railroad track subgrades without removing railroad tracks, ties or ballast.”
The GeoSpike℠ System is comprised of a set of polymer shells—two per location—installed between ties, according to Geopier; aggregate is then placed within the confining shell and compacted. The dynamic loads from the passing rail cars arch through the ballast and are effectively transferred through the GeoSpike℠ down to a stronger bearing layer, the company said.
“With railroads across the world being supported on weak subgrade soils, passenger and freight trains are experiencing issues with track stability, settlement and dynamic track deflection that require costly repairs,” says Matt Caskey, Director of Business Development, Geopier. “To avoid expensive, over-excavation‐based subgrade repairs and to minimize rail down time, Geopier’s GeoSpike℠ System will reinforce soft soils and provide a high-strength, superior level of performance without removing railroad tracks, ties or ballasts.”
According to Caskey, Canadian National was experiencing vertical and lateral deflection along a section of track just south of Sarnia, ON, in St. Clair. The track was experiencing soft subgrade soils, pumping of the track sections and ballast contamination. Geopier installed 130 GeoSpike℠ elements along 180 feet of track. The elements were installed in under two days and proved to be significantly less expensive than alternative options, the company said.
“Geopier’s new system is unique to the ground improvement market and presents great opportunity and cost savings for railroad companies,” said Dr. Kord Wissmann, President and Chief Engineer, Geopier Foundations. “The GeoSpike℠ System shows our commitment to the industry as we continue to innovate and push ground improvement techniques further. We believe in investing in the right people and technologies to strengthen our value proposition, while focusing on the customer’s needs.”