Asphalt concrete paved on the surface of a roadbed as a ballastless track substructure has an excellent waterproofing and vibration attenuation performance. However, the mechanical characteristics and the failure mode of this structure under the actions of a cyclic train load and ambient air temperature changes are still unclear. Therefore, a test section of an asphalt concrete substructure was constructed based on a high-speed railway ballastless track project in north China. In situ forced vibration tests and temperature-induced deformation monitoring tests were performed to investigate the mechanical responses of the asphalt concrete, respectively. Test results show that the bottom of the asphalt concrete layer is in the tensile state under the action of the cyclic train load. The surface of the asphalt concrete in contact with the base plate is subjected to tensile stress near the expansion joint under the action of the negative temperature gradient. Changes in the ambient temperature lead to more significant mechanical responses of the asphalt concrete substructure than the cyclic train load, especially near the expansion joint of the base plate. Therefore, the passive tensile failure mode may occur near the expansion joint of the base plate. However, it has also proved that setting isolation layers under the base plate near the expansion joint is an effective method to significantly reduce responses near the expansion joint in this research.
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