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A Case Study On Washable Aprons By

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1 A Case Study On Washable Aprons By
S.Satyanarayana AXEN/C,PLH,ECOR Mob:

2 Washable Apron for Passenger Platforms
welcome Washable Apron for Passenger Platforms


4 We are all aware of maximum nuisance by passengers in the station yards, particularly platform lines due to stoppage of passenger trains. It is obvious that these lines cannot be kept clean with conventional track with ballast. Apart from unhygienic conditions created on these line, entire track becomes slushy, water logged and track condition deteriorates. This also gives rise to flies and mosquitoes and whole circulating area looks shabby and unhealthy.

5 Only solution to above problem is perhaps providing a washable apron
Only solution to above problem is perhaps providing a washable apron. In fact, washable apron are essential on environmental and hygienic considerations at all important stations where large number of passenger trains halt. But due to its very nature of use and intense interaction with water, the concrete in washable apron deteriorates quickly unless extreme care is taken in quality and protection

6 The following types of washable aprons are being provided all over the Indian Railways.

7 1.Providing wooden blocks over the raised concrete bed and fixing the rails to the wooden blocks.

8 2. Providing Bituminous concrete below and all around the PSC Sleepers as per the RDSO Drg.No:T-4786

9 3. Providing 25mm to 50mm thick Bituminous Mastic Layer below the PSC Sleepers and filling the mastic mortar between the sleeper and filler concrete.(Adopted at SEALDAH station )

10 4. Providing 25mm to 50mm thick Bituminous Mastic below the PSC Sleepers and filling the filler concrete with nominal reinforcement around the sleepers ( Being adopted in S.C.Rly)

11 5. Providing plain cement concrete below and all around the PSC Sleepers. (Being adopted in Southern Rly)

12 6. Providing RDSO approved Grooved rubber pads –10mm thick below the PSC Sleepers and filling the mastic mortar all around the sleepers.

13 7. Providing ballast and pre-cast blocks below the Railway track popularly known as ‘Ratlam Design’.
8 Ballast less track as being provided in Metro Railways and Tunnels.

14 9. Providing Reinforced Bituminous felt below the PSC Sleepers and filling the mastic mortar around the sleepers as suggested by Sri R.N. Malhotra Member Engineering at Lucknow on

15 10. Providing Non-shrinkable concrete below the PSC Sleepers and filling the 10mm thick gap between Sleepers and filler concrete with carbonaceous sealing compound and non-biodegradable polymer based sealant. (Adopted at HWH station for repair of damaged washable apron)

16 The merits and de-merits of two types of washable aprons which are generally used are discussed below:

17 A. Washable apron as suggested by the RDSO vide Drg. No.T-4781;
Provision of bituminous concrete of 75mm thick below and around the PSC Sleepers. 3. Provision of PCC 1:2:4 or 1:1 ½ : 3 as a filler concrete in the balance portion. 4. Provision of 10mm thick Epoxy mortar on the top of bituminous concrete at the junction with PSC Sleeper and filler concrete. A. Washable apron as suggested by the RDSO vide Drg. No.T-4781; The salient features are 1. Provision of RCC Slab of 350mm thick over a layer of sand filling and lean concrete of 100mm thick each.

18 Washable aprons executed based on the above method failed miserably within a short span of 1 to 3 years.Contrary to this With the experience gained from these failures by modifying the RDSO specifications washable aprons executed at RGDA & SBP are working satisfactorily even after 3 years of commissioning to traffic.

19 The construction mainly suffered from the following deficiencies
The construction mainly suffered from the following deficiencies. i) Lack of adequate bond between the bituminous concrete and the adjacent PSC Sleeper/filler concrete. This is because of the reason that the bitumen is not a cementacious material and do not have proper adhesion. The epoxy being used to hold these three things viz. sleeper, bituminous concrete and filler concrete intact is failing under vibration of sleepers during passage of traffic.So The cracks formed at these junctions giving way to the entry of water and it travels inside. Accumulated water inside the concrete activated by the repeated vibrations on the passage of traffic causes deterioration to the bituminous concrete below and around the sleeper and pumped out, forming a gap.

20 B.Raft type construction: This method is nothing but the long old process of making washable aprons. Embodying the PSC Sleepers with plain cement concrete without any flexible material around.

21 Salient features: (1) PSC Sleepers are supported either on RCC base slab or PCC. (2) After linking the track to the required level and alignment, gaps all around the sleepers are filled with plain cement concrete 1: 2:4 or 1:1 ½ :3 to the slope of 1 in 40 towards the drain. In This method also, though the sleeper and the filler concrete may not act monolithically but the bond between the pre-cast PSC Sleeper and the cast-in-situ filler concrete is some what sufficient to negotiate the moving loads in the station yard limits.

22 This is evident from the washable aprons observed at Chengalpat (commissioned in 1998) and Chennai Central Stations, where no single crack has been observed around the PSC Sleepers. The photograph taken in the month of Sept’03 are enclosed herewith. Drawbacks: As no construction technique or adhesive had been used in placing the PSC sleeper on bearing concrete the water finds its way below the sleeper when the sleeper vibrates up and down as the trains move.This water accelerates the wear & tear of the concrete surface below the sleeper particularly at the rail seat.This situation creates center binding for the concrete sleeper and the sleepers start cracking from the centre


24 . Suggestions: The life of the washable apron can be increased drastically by making the PSC Sleepers and filler concrete act monolithically. This can be achieved either by

25 (1) Embodying the reinforcement bars transversely at a spacing 250mm c/c in to the PSC Sleepers at the time of casting and anchoring the same with the filler concrete while executing the washable apron.

26 (2) embedding the MS Angle at the bottom face of sleeper at the time of casting. Subsequent welding of the reinforcement rods to the angle and anchoring with filler concrete.

27 (3) Laying of rails directly on the MCI inserts embedded in the RCC base slab. As the PSC Sleepers are avoided completely the cost of the washable apron can be reduced directly by Rs. 1200/Rmt. Though this method requires strict vigilance and careful supervision at every stage of construction this method is cost effective and durable.

28 (4) The cost of RCC RAFT alone comes to Rs. 5714/-per RMt
(4) The cost of RCC RAFT alone comes to Rs.5714/-per RMt. Where as the cost of ballast filled with sand comes to Rs. 850/-only per by replacing the RCC RAFT with the ballast filled with sand the cost of washable apron can be bring to Rs.2562/-per Rmt.By providing this flexible material as a dampening media below the Rly track the chances of formation of cracks around the PSC sleepers can be minimized when compared with rigid RCC base slab where reactions are much more. (5) The central binding of the PSC sleeper can be avoided by tying the thermo Cole to the bottom of the sleeper before placing the concrete.

29 (6)The quality of the material used in construction plays an important role in achieving the quality and durable apron. At the same time the agency to whom the work is awarded plays equal role in achieving the quality of apron. So much should be the stress in deciding the agency for execution of the work. Irrespective of the lowest tenderer the work should be awarded to reliable and quality oriented contractor who has good track record, at workable rates. (7) In many number of cases the quality is spoiled in a hurry to complete the work, at the last stage , with in the block period without allowing sufficient time for curing , setting and stabilizing.So from the initial stage itself the daily progress should as per the program planned meticulously by the department.The penalty clause should be strictly enforced if the agency fails to adhere to the program.A bonus clause should also be incorporated to encourage the contractors to complete the work with in time.


31 Conclusion :A damaged washable apron is worse than having no washable apron. This is more so for hygienic and environmental reasons. The sleepers get broken, the filler in between sleepers got damaged causing the night soil to stick and make it worse. Reconstruction /repair of washable apron with in a short span of 5 to 15 years is not at all economical and not practicable as the traffic density is increasing day by day.Hence For such an important work on which huge amount of crores of rupees is spent every year,careful study,testing and standardization of specifications and method of construction is very much essential by central institutes like RDSO. (


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