Optimisation of wheel-rail interface in railway crossings

January 11, 2016 in

PhD Research by Chang Wan

Rolf Dollevoet, Valeri Markine

02/01/2010 - ongoing


numerical optimisation, railway turnout, track design, wheel/rail interaction,

ProRail, University of Leeds

China Scholarship Councill, TU Delft

Link or Download
Not available


Due to the discontinuity in the rail geometry introduced in the crossing nose, railway crossings experience high impact loads from passing vehicles, which makes them sensitive to several types of damage. Dynamic interaction between a train and a railway turnout depends on a large number of parameters related to the nominal design and the current conditions of both systems. For a given turnout design, there exists wide variations with respect to the geometry and material properties of the specific turnout  and loads from the passing trains, such as types of trains (passenger and /or freight), wheel profiles, wheel diameters , axle loads and train speeds.

The goal of the research project is to develop numerical tools to get better understanding of vehicle-turnout interaction and to find out possible parameters that could be modified with the ultimate goal to improve crossing design and maintenance.

A combination of numerical models for assessment of the turnout-vehicle performance such as the 2D FEM model DARTS_NL, the 3D MBS model, and the numerical optimisation tools were used. Moreover, experimental analysis of vehicle-track interaction and validation of numerical models and simulation results were performed through field measurements on instrumented crossings.

To combat damages at crossings due to dynamic impact, the effect of rail geometry, track elasticity, wheel profile, as well as irregularities on the track were assessed, based on which the improvement of crossing designs has been obtained by adjusting the rail geometry and the track elasticity, respectively.