There has been an upsurge of interest in developing life extension techniques for rail infrastructure worldwide. This is reportedly due to the world wide recession and a greater worldwide consciousness of reuse and recycling of material rather than create new items.
Hallisey  has carried out work and patented a process for extending sleeper life (sleepers are called railroad ties in the USA) with an integral conduit. This consists of overwrapping with fibrous reinforcement containing a cured matrix associated with the fibres. The ties may be machined prior to overwrapping, and are preferably sawn along their length, and conduit inserted into R1530 machined therein prior to adhesively bonding the sawn portions together. The conduits may be used to provide signal and power cable passages with lessened likelihood of damage thereto.
Railway ballast; Drainage; Ballast contamination; Granulometry; Permeability
A typical cross-section of this type of railways is presented in Fig. 1, where we can see the layers of clean ballast, usually as a result of leveling operations, and the contaminated ballast. The water that falls on the railway track does not drain directly into the drainage ditch. It infiltrates and remains inside the ballast, facilitating the climbing process of the fine particles of soil up to the ballast layer. This problem is very common in all Brazilian railways built before 1970. The low permeability of the contaminated ballast can be seen in Fig. 2, which shows the amount of water retained in the ballast and the state of the platform after water infiltration. These photos were taken one day after the day of the rainfall.