Geopier Foundation Company Launches New GeoSpike Railway Subgrade Improvement System

GeoSpike is an innovative ground improvement method for strengthening weak railroad track subgrades

Geopier Foundation Company, a world leader in ground improvement solutions, has introduced its newest Intermediate Foundation® solution: the GeoSpikeSM System. This system is a low‐cost method for strengthening weak railroad track subgrades without removing railroad tracks, ties or ballast.

New GeoSpike rail stabilization solution reduces the need for costly repairs

“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 for 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 60m (180 ft) of track. The elements were installed in under two days and proved to be significantly less expensive than alternative options.

New rail stabilization method creates quick, cost‐effective installation for weak subgrade track sections

The GeoSpike system is comprised of a set of polymer shells (2 per location) installed between ties. 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.

“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 of 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.”

The GeoSpike system installation is similar to other Geopier Rammed Aggregate Pier® solutions where direct vertical ramming energy compacts high‐quality aggregate to form high stiffness elements that provide superior support capacity, increased bearing pressure and settlement control.