Railway track design & degradation

Mehran Sadri, Tao Lu, Arjen Zoeteman, Michaël Steenbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


The long-term behaviour of railway track has attracted increasing attention in recent years. Improvements in long-term structural performance reduce demands for maintenance and increase the continuous availability of railway lines. The focus of this paper is on the prediction of the sensitivity of a track design to long-term deterioration in terms of track geometry. According to the state of the art literature, degradation is often investigated using empirical models based on field measurement data. Although a rough maintenance forecast may be made employing empirical models, the predictions are not generic, and the physical processes which govern track degradation under train operation remain unclear. The first aim of this study is to present a mathematical model to elucidate the underlying physics of long-term degradation of railway tracks. The model consists of an infinitely long beam which is periodically supported by equidistantly discrete sleepers and a moving unsprung mass which represents a travelling train. The mechanical energy dissipated in the substructure is proposed to serve as a measure of the track degradation rate. Secondly, parametric studies on energy dissipation are conducted to identify effects of various track design parameters on the susceptibility of the track to degradation, as well as the effect of the train speed. It has been shown that the track/subgrade stiffness is the most influential parameter on degradation whereas other system parameters do influence the degradation rate but at lower magnitudes. The conclusions can be used to optimise the track design in the early stage for better long-term structural performance of railway tracks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11006
Number of pages6
JournalMATEC Web of Conferences
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2018
EventVETOMAC XIV: 14th International Conference on Vibration Engineering and Technology of Machinery - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 10 Sep 201813 Sep 2018
Conference number: 14


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