Dynamic vehicle-track interaction in switches and crossings and the influence of rail pad stiffness - field measurements and validation of a simulation model
Journal article, 2015

A model for simulation of dynamic interaction between a railway vehicle and a turnout (switch and crossing, S&C) is validated versus field measurements. In particular, the implementation and accuracy of viscously damped track models with different complexities are assessed. The validation data come from full-scale field measurements of dynamic track stiffness and wheel-rail contact forces in a demonstrator turnout that was installed as part of the INNOTRACK project with funding from the European Union Sixth Framework Programme. Vertical track stiffness at nominal wheel loads, in the frequency range up to 20 Hz, was measured using a rolling stiffness measurement vehicle (RSMV). Vertical and lateral wheel-rail contact forces were measured by an instrumented wheel set mounted in a freight car featuring Y25 bogies. The measurements were performed for traffic in both the through and diverging routes, and in the facing and trailing moves. The full set of test runs was repeated with different types of rail pad to investigate the influence of rail pad stiffness on track stiffness and contact forces. It is concluded that impact loads on the crossing can be reduced by using more resilient rail pads. To allow for vehicle dynamics simulations at low computational cost, the track models are discretised space-variant mass-spring-damper models that are moving with each wheel set of the vehicle model. Acceptable agreement between simulated and measured vertical contact forces at the crossing can be obtained when the standard GENSYS track model is extended with one ballast/subgrade mass under each rail. This model can be tuned to capture the large phase delay in dynamic track stiffness at low frequencies, as measured by the RSMV, while remaining sufficiently resilient at higher frequencies.


model validation



rail pad stiffness

field measurements


Björn Pålsson


Jens Nielsen


Vehicle System Dynamics

0042-3114 (ISSN) 1744-5159 (eISSN)

Vol. 53 6 734-755

Subject Categories

Mechanical Engineering

Vehicle Engineering

Areas of Advance




More information