A numerical study of the influence of lateral geometry irregularities on mechanical deterioration of freight tracks
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2012

Optimisation of railway track maintenance requires knowledge of how a deteriorated track geometry will affect subsequent loading and damage of the track. This is the scope of the current study where, in particular, the influence on track shift forces and rolling contact fatigue is investigated through numerical simulations. To this end, track geometries are obtained from field measurements. Lateral irregularities are extracted and scaled to represent different levels of geometry deterioration. Multibody simulations of dynamic train-track interaction featuring two freight wagon types are performed under different operational conditions. Track shift forces and rolling contact fatigue damage are further evaluated from simulation results. It is found that track shift forces tend to follow a normal distribution for moderate levels of lateral track geometry irregularities, and that an approximate linear relationship between standard deviations of lateral irregularities and track shift forces can be established. The relation between lateral track irregularity magnitude and rolling contact fatigue is more complex. Increasing levels of lateral irregularities will decrease the fraction of curve length affected by rolling contact fatigue for sharp curves, whereas for shallow curves it increases. As detailed in the article, this is caused by the lateral movement of the contact point as imposed by the track irregularities. Furthermore, the influence of wheel/rail friction and wear is investigated.

track irregularities

track maintenance

track shift force


Track geometry



multibody dynamic simulation

rolling-contact fatigue

rolling contact fatigue


Kalle Karttunen


Elena Kabo

Chalmers, Tillämpad mekanik, Material- och beräkningsmekanik

Anders Ekberg


Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

0954-4097 (ISSN) 20413017 (eISSN)

Vol. 226 F6 575-586





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