The Wheel-Rail Contact Problem in Vehicle Dynamic Simulation: Modeling of Train-Turnout Interaction

Nico Burgelman

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)


One of the major costs incurred by railway companies is the maintenance of turnouts.This situation occurs because the large dynamic forces between the wheels of a train and the rails of a turnout cause excessive wear, rolling contact fatigue and rapid degradation of other components. A thorough understanding of the dynamic interaction between a train and a turnout could lead to a better design of the corresponding vehicle/track or of the damage mechanisms and subsequently to a smarter maintenance planning. Such an insight can be obtained through a detailed model of the train-turnout interaction. Such models exist in the literature for vehicle-track interaction, but they have some shortcomings when it comes to train-turnout interaction. This leads to the following research questions: 1. How to model the wheel rail contact? In this thesis different models are presented for the search of the contact location as well as for the normal and the tangential contact problem. Especially the relation between the contact models and vehicle dynamic simulation is investigated. 2. How to model the interaction between the wagons of the train? A quasi static approach has been presented and the results have been compared to results obtained through dynamic simulation. The analysis of the contact models in this dissertation will help researchers choose between the different contact models and their interaction with vehicle dynamic software. This should enable researchers to accurately model the contact in turnouts so that the deterioration mechanisms in turnouts can be understood. In turn, this understanding should lead to better maintenance and associated cost savings.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Dollevoet, R.P.B.J., Supervisor
  • Li, Z., Advisor
Award date5 Jan 2016
Print ISBNs978-94-6203-976-6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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