Analysis and improvement of crossing performance

January 11, 2016 in

PhD Research by Lizuo Xin

Rolf Dollevoet, Valeri Markine

02/01/2011 - ongoing


contact mechanics, rail geometry, railway turnout,


China Scholarship Council, TU Delft

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Railway turnouts are important components of railway infrastructure as they provide the flexibility and guidance to the rail traffic. Due to geometrical discontinuities in the crossing area of the turnouts, high impact forces due to passing wheels acting on the crossing nose can occur. In the field, severe rail damage problems are found in the crossing areas. Statistical evidence shows that turnout failures cause major operational disturbances in a railway network, which lead to higher maintenance costs as compared with the other track components.

The research presented here was motivated by the short service life of the turnout crossing observed in the Dutch railway network and the need to improve the performance of the railway turnouts. Also, there was a lack of the advanced numerical tools such as the dynamic three dimensional (3-D) models to analyse the wheel-rail interaction in the crossings on the stress and strain level, and especially the models coupled with the life estimation of the crossing.

Therefore, the goal of this study is to develop the numerical tools for analysis of the dynamic interaction between the wheel and turnout crossing, and prediction of the service life of the crossing, aiming to improve the crossing performance and to prolong its service life.

The methodology for estimating the railway crossing performance developed here includes the 3-D explicit finite element (FE) model of a whole wheelset moving over a crossing coupled with the fatigue life prediction approach.