Railway sleeper vibration measurement by train-borne laser Doppler vibrometer and its speed-dependent characteristics

Y. Zeng, A. Núñez*, Z. Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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A train-borne laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) directly measures the dynamic response of railway track components from a moving train, which has the potential to complement existing train-borne technologies for railway track monitoring. This paper proposes a holistic methodology to characterize train-borne LDV measurements by combining computer-aided approaches and real-life measurements. The focus is on the speed-dependent characteristics because the train speed affects the intensity of railway sleeper vibrations and the intensity of speckle noise, which further affects the quality and usability of the measured signals. First, numerical models are established and validated to simulate sleeper vibrations and speckle noise separately. Then, a vibration–noise separation method is proposed to effectively extract speckle noise and structural vibrations from LDV signals measured at different speeds. The parameters of the separation method are tuned using simulation signals. The method is then validated using laboratory measurements in a vehicle-track test rig and applied to field measurements on a railway track in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Further, the speed-dependent characteristics of train-borne LDV measurement are determined by analyzing the competition between sleeper vibrations and speckle noise at different speeds. Simulation and measurement results show that an optimal speed range yields the highest signal-to-noise ratio, which varies for different track structures, measurement configurations, and operational conditions. The findings demonstrate the potential of train-borne LDV for large-scale rail infrastructure monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalComputer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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