Track gauge optimisation of railway switches using a genetic algorithm
Journal article, 2012
A methodology for the optimisation of a prescribed track gauge variation (gauge widening) in the switch panel of a railway turnout (switch and crossing, S&C) is presented. The aim is to reduce rail profile degradation. A holistic approach is applied, where both routes and travel directions (moves) of traffic in the switch panel are considered simultaneously. The problem is formulated as a multi-objective minimisation problem which is solved using a genetic-type optimisation algorithm which provides a set of Pareto optimal solutions. The dynamic vehicle-turnout interaction is evaluated using a multibody simulation tool and the energy dissipation in the wheel-rail contacts is used for the assessment of gauge parameters. Two different vehicle models are used, one freight car and one passenger train set, and a stochastic spread in wheel profile and wheel-rail friction coefficient is accounted for. It is found that gauge configurations with a large gauge-widening amplitude for the stock rail on the field side are optimal for both the through and diverging routes, while the results for the gauge side show a larger route dependence. The optimal gauge configurations are observed to be similar for both vehicle types.