Railroad Track Maintenance: Equipment & Tips for Improving Rainwater Drainage

Railroad track maintenance equipment

When it comes to railroad track maintenance, the goal is to keep tracks up and running. That’s also the challenge with doing track maintenance and repairs: taking care of repairs and maintenance without closing the tracks.

Rainwater drainage is a common problem that’s relatively easy to address by building a concrete spillway to prevent erosion of the railroad track bed. The problem is, how to do that without a long track closure?


THE PROJECT: pouring a concrete rainwater drainage spillway next to railroad tracks

For this project, the contractor needed to pour a concrete spillway for rainwater drainage adjacent to the tracks. To pour a spillway in a different location, the contractor might use a concrete boom pump truck for easy placement of the concrete.

In this case, however, railroad track maintenance regulations prohibit operating a boom over an active track. That’s why the contractor chose a small concrete trailer pump with a 2.5 inch hose that could run underneath the railroad track.

rainwater drainage

Railroad track maintenance: pouring concrete for a rainwater drainage spillway to prevent erosion of the railroad track bed.



Railroad track maintenance equipment: Putzmeister TK40 trailer concrete pump

For this job, the contractor chose a smaller trailer-mounted concrete pump, the Putzmeister TK40, that could be positioned close to the point of the concrete placement without getting too close to the tracks. They also used 25-ft lengths of 2.5 inch diameter hose.

Here’s how the job was completed efficiently with only a brief track closure.

How to pour a concrete rainwater drainage spillway without a long track closure

  1. Clear out a small section of the rock bed between two railroad ties, digging out enough clearance (about 3 to 4 inches) for the hose to pass under the rail. This can be done quickly and only requires the track to be closed for about 30 minutes.

(Typically this step is completed before the day of the concrete pour, and the spot to pass the hose under the rail is ready and marked.)

  1. Position a trailer-mounted concrete pump as close to the spillway location as possible, while keeping a safe distance from the track.
  2. Attach lengths of 2.5 inch hose.
  3. Run the hose under the rail, along the rail siding, and over the retaining wall to the location of the spillway.
  4. Complete the pour (without having to close the track while pumping the concrete).
  5. When the pour is complete, pull the hose from under the track and you’re good to go!


Here at Alexander Wagner Company, we have been providing concrete pumping equipment, supplies and service to contractors in the New York metro area for decades. We’re happy to answer your questions and share our expertise. Feel free to reach out to us anytime!