Prestressed concrete sleepers (or railroad ties) are principally designed in order to carry wheel loads from the rails to the ground of railway tracks, as well as to secure rail gauge for safe train travels. Their design takes into account static and dynamic loading conditions. In spite of prestressed concrete crossties being most commonly used in railway tracks, there have always been many demands from rail engineers to improve the serviceability and functionality of concrete crossties. For example, signaling, fiber optic, equipment cables are often damaged either by ballast corners or by the tamping machine. There has been a need to re-design concrete crossties to incorporate cables internally so that they would not experience detrimental or harsh environments. Also, many concrete crossties need a retrofit for an automatic train control device and similar signaling equipment. In contrast, the effects of holes and web openings on the structural capacity of concrete crossties have not been thoroughly investigated. This paper accordingly highlights the experimental investigations into the effect of holes and web openings on the toughness and ductility of concrete crossties. The key outcome of this research is to enable a better decision making process for retrofitting prestressed concrete crossties with holes and web openings in practice.
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