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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 110
Edited by: J. Pombo
Paper 8

Measuring Acceleration of Ballast Particles at Track Level

D. Milne1, L.M. Le Pen1, G. Watson1, D.J. Thompson1, W. Powrie1, M. Hayward2 and S. Morley2

1Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
2Network Rail (High Speed) Ltd., London, United Kingdom

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
D. Milne, L.M. Le Pen, G. Watson, D.J. Thompson, W. Powrie, M. Hayward, S. Morley, "Measuring Acceleration of Ballast Particles at Track Level", in J. Pombo, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 8, 2016. doi:10.4203/ccp.110.8
Keywords: ballast acceleration, microelectromechanical systems, ballast flight, track bed vibration.

The maximum operational speed of high-speed railways has increased considerably since the 1960s and is forecast to continue to rise. For example, routes being planned today expected to attain opening speeds of at least 360 km/h. When ballasted tracks are used for higher speeds, ballast flight may be of concern. The mechanisms of ballast flight are still not fully understood but it is hypothesized that ballast particles could become airborne owing to a combination of track bed excitation and air flow beneath a passing train. To understand better the mechanics of ballast flight measurements of individual particle accelerations are highly desirable, yet these are difficult to achieve. Trackside monitoring technologies generally provide data on the performance of the track superstructure and the track bed, not individual ballast particles. A novel measurement technique is presented in this paper. This is based on the use of low cost microelectromechanical systems (MEMs) accelerometers embedded within individual ballast particles, which permits measurements of the acceleration of ballast particles in three axes. The utility of the method is demonstrated with reference to measurements from a section of well performing high speed track. Measurements of sleeper movements are also presented to demonstrate that there are differences in the motion of the ballast and the track superstructure.

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