Meet our team

Education:  University of Applied Science - UtrechtDate of birth:  8 September 1965Nationality:  NetherlandsWorking in the Railway industry from 1991. June 2014 I started my PhD study at Delft University of Technology, section of Railway Engineering (in part-time). The topic of my PhD research is the railway switch panel. Improving the reliability of switches will mean a lot for the performance of the railways. Beside my PhD I am working  three days a week at the consulting company DEKRA Rail. I have specialised in vehicle-track / wheel-rail  interface issues and from my role as business development manager  I have direct technical and commercial contacts with our clients. Have become a recognized specialist in my field. I am experienced in managing large and complex projects e.g. responsible Project Manager of an European Research project with a large group of  international partners from the Industry as well as Universities . Experienced in presenting for large audiences, having published my research for over 15 year and presented these papers at conferences all over the world.

Relevant project experience

  • 2015 – Program manager for the joined NedTrain/ProRail funded research into  Track friendliness of trains. Multi-discipline and multi-stakeholder research containing track-train dynamic modelling, laboratory and field testing and business-case development.
  • 2014 – Wheel-Rail  optimisation study Metro Mexico City.
  • 2013- 2014 – Development of wheel-rail lubrication strategy for Paris Metro.
  • 2013-2014 – managing the Wheel-Rail  optimisation program for HTM (tramway the Hague).
  • 2012 – Project leader for optimisation of switch performance at Metro Amsterdam (GVB).
  • 2007-2009; DeltaRail projectmanager for exploitation and operation of RandstadRail network. Expert role in assessment of derailment safety.
  • 2000 – 2006; AEAT program manager for the National Dutch research program on Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF).
  • 1999 – 2003; Project manager of the European 5’ the frame research program ‘InfraStar’; development of a RCF resistant 2-material rail.

SP2: Switch Panel Structural Performance. Materials innovation institute M2i project number T91.1.12475a

Railway switches, key elements in railway operation, are severely loaded by trains. Resulting damages lead to urgent and unplanned replacements, non-availability of track and high monitoring and replacement cost. The aim of this PhD study is to improve the structural performance of the switch panel (switch and stock rail) in terms of reliability, availability and maintainability, addressing the current industry needs. The research objective is to improve the understanding of the root causes of switch panel rail damage and potential mitigation measures and to develop improved engineering models to aid and design optimisation. June 2014 this PhD research started with a more in depth inventory of overall switch damage. Understanding the relationship between parallel research lines within the integrated project on switches at TUD a complementary research scope was defined. The research topic on vehicle-track interaction, identifying measures to decrease switch panel loading, was the first to be started, studying narrow curving behaviour. Investigating the optimisation of bogie rotation rigidity of trains by changing the suspension design between the wheelset and bogie frame, introducing suspension behaviour which depends on loading characteristics. Evaluating the potential of this design change to reduce wear and tear at the wheel-rail interface thus enhancing the so called ‘track friendliness’ of trains. Assessment of vehicle running behaviour was carried out by means of vehicle-track simulations within the VAMPIRE multi body simulation software. At the wheel-rail interface the impact of the suspension design modification is quantified in relation to the wear, rolling contact fatigue (RCF) damage, vehicle stability and passenger ride quality. Simulation results assessing classic curving behaviour clearly showed the potential the proposed measure through a significant reduce in wear and contact fatigue loading. From this first work fisrt full conference papers and a scientific article have been delivered. Preparation of a field test program regarding track friendliness has been carried out, together with setting-up further switch panel track models using the simulation software tool VAMPIRE to allow evaluation of switch panel vehicle negotiation. Furthermore foreseen in 2016 is to start researching on switch panel rail material optimisation. Dissimination of results through full conference papers and scientific articles.

Reducing Switch Panel Degradation by Improving the Track Friendliness of Trains
April 21, 2016
by Martin Hiensch, Pier Wiersma

Improving Track-Friendliness of Rolling Stock
February 25, 2016
by Martin Hiensch


    1. Hiensch; Improving track friendliness of rolling stock, IHHA conference 2015, Perth, Australia
    2. Hiensch, Visser, Dollevoet, Towards a comprehensive model predicting the effect of friction modifiers on a conventional network, 9th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems (CM2012), Chengdu, China, August 27-30, 2012
    3. Hiensch, Horst, Experimental evaluation of friction modifiers for integral network wheel/rail interface friction management, 8th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems (CM2009), Firenze, Italy, September 15-18, 2009
    4. E.J.M. Hiensch, J.W.Lammers,  Preventing railway Squeal Noise through railhead optimisation, WCRR 2008, 19 – 22 may, Seoul, Korea.
    5. Hiensch, Dirks; Rail head optimisation to reach a sustainable solution preventing Railway Squeal Noise, Inter-Noise 2007, August 28 –31, Istanbul, Turkey.
    6. Hiensch; Relationship between Track Geometry disturbances and the Development of Rolling Contact Fatigue Damage, Montreal, WCRR 2006.
    7. Hiensch; Two material rail development; field test results regarding RCF and Squeal noise behaviour, Wear 2004.
    8. Hiensch, Haksel, Bontekoe; Management and Research of Rolling Contact Fatigue in the Netherlands; WCRR 2003.
    9. Hiensch E J M, LeFranc B. Development of a two-material rail allows for engineering squeal noise behavior. Proceedings EuroNoise 2003, Napels.
    10. Hiensch E J M, Larsson P-O, Nilsson O, Levy D, Kapoor A, Josefson B L, Ringsberg J W, Nielsen J C O & Franklin F J. Two-material rail development results regarding rolling contact fatigue and squeal noise behaviour. Proceedings of the Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems (CM2003), Gothenburg, Sweden 10-13, June 2003.
    11. Hiensch E J M, Franklin F J, Nielsen J C O, Ringsberg J W, Weeda G J, Kapoor A & Josefson B L. Prevention of RCF damage in curved track through development of the INFRA-STAR two-material rail. Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures, 2003.
    12. Franklin F J, Weeda G J, Kapoor A & Hiensch E J M. Rolling contact fatigue and wear behaviour of the InfraStar two-material rail. Proceedings 6th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2003.
    13. Hiensch E J M, Kapoor A, Josefson B L, Ringsberg J W, Nielsen J C O & Franklin F J. Two-material rail development to prevent rolling contact fatigue and reduce noise emissions in curved rail track. Proceedings of the World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR 2001), 25-29 November 2001, Cologne, Germany, 16 pp.
    14. Hiensch, Nielsen, Verharen, Rail Corrugation in the Netherlands – Measurements and Simulations, Wear 2000.
    15. Dings, Verheijen and Hiensch, Rail roughness and noise: recent developments, 6e International Congres on Sound and Vibration, juli 1999, Denmark.
    16. Vernersson, Petersson and Hiensch, Thermally induced roughness of tread braked railway wheels, International Wheelset Congress 1998, Qingdao, China.
    17. Beyer and Hiensch , Resistance welding of Titanium-Nickel memory shape metal, International Welding Congress 1989, Bochum, Germany.

Ing. Martin Hiensch

Guest PhD Researcher DEKRA Rail

31 (0) 15 278 50 66
Building: 23, kamer S2 2.29

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