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International Journal of Railway Technology
ISSN 2049-5358
IJRT, Volume 4, Issue 4, 2015
A Methodology for Assessing Track Irregularities with respect to Rail Damage
E.A.H. Vollebregt1,2 and M.J.M.M. Steenbergen2

1VORtech, Delft, The Netherlands
2Department of Railway Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
E.A.H. Vollebregt, M.J.M.M. Steenbergen, "A Methodology for Assessing Track Irregularities with respect to Rail Damage", International Journal of Railway Technology, 4(4), 85-105, 2015. doi:10.4203/ijrt.4.4.5
Keywords: contact modelling, vehicle-track interaction, track irregularities, rolling contact fatigue, asset management.

This paper presents a simulation approach for forecasting the effect of track irregularities on rail damage development in the forms of rolling contact fatigue (RCF) and wear. This approach consists of a high resolution vehicle-track interaction model, a detailed non-Hertzian wheel/rail contact model and an accumulation procedure for the tangential stresses in order to provide an indicator for (shear induced) rail damage development. The main novelty is that the contact stresses are computed in more detail using linear elasticity theory. Reasonable computing times are obtained by subsampling, and the results are processed in an automated way. The approach is applied for a basic vehicle on a stretch of tangent track with artificial and measured track irregularities. The simulation results indicate that the accumulated tangential stress may vary significantly within a distance of a few metres along the track. This appears related mainly to the lateral rail irregularities. Hence these must be controlled in order to combat RCF.

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