Bridget Eickhoff, Laura Mazzola, Yann Bezin, Gareth Tucker, Hinnerk Stradtmann, Andreas Haigermoser, Hugues Chollet and Jérémy Landais

For their paper: ‘Track loading limits and cross-acceptance of vehicle approvals’ published in the Proceedings Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit 2015 Vol 229(6), 710-728.

Bridget Eickhoff This paper reports on a major piece of work that was carried out by a multinational consortium of railway companies and universities as part of the DynoTRAIN project. It was a four year project, valued at around €5.3m under the EU's 2nd Call of the 7th Framework Programme, dealing with key railway interoperability issues in vehicle dynamics and vehicle-track interaction. The research was completed in September 2013, and has already been taken into account in the revised rolling stock and infrastructure Technical Specifications for Interoperability which were published at the end of 2015.

Work Package 4, the subject of this paper, has effectively addressed the challenging area of loading on railway track and how this affects deterioration. The research, and the improved understanding generated, will allow railways to manage their infrastructure more effectively and to set more relevant standards. It will also allow greater flexibility in vehicle acceptance throughout Europe by enabling a single approval test of rolling stock to be accepted on different networks, and increasing the use of simulation as an alternative to extensive testing. Complex concepts are explained clearly with the use of many appropriate diagrams and graphs. Conclusions are drawn and guidance given in a way that will be useful to all readers.

Bridget Eickhoff, the corresponding author, explains: ” The requirements for track loading limits are one of the main barriers to simple cross-acceptance of vehicles. Rolling stock that is already operating successfully in one (or more) networks has to be retested before it can be approved for operation on another network. This is understandable as track deterioration, and the resulting maintenance, is a major cost and concern for railway infrastructure managers.”

The work uses a wide range of approaches, including:

  • ;A review of current vehicle testing requirements, local, national and international
  • A review of current standards for track construction across different railway networks
  • Track dynamics modelling to understand the influence of different inputs on track deterioration and sensitivity to operating conditions and track construction
  • On-track testing of different vehicle - locomotives, passenger coaches, freight wagons
    -    Vehicle dynamics multibody simulations of a range of vehicles similar to those tested to complement the test results and investigate other factors
  • Multiple regression analysis of on-track test data and dynamic simulation results to investigate relationships with influencing factors such as speed and curve radius  
  • “The work showed that the parameters, such as forces and acceleration, measured in vehicle assessment testing according to the international standards do relate to the common types of track deterioration, and so are suitable for use in vehicle cross-acceptance. On lower speed lines in some countries a ‘weaker’ track condition may require a lower limit on one of these parameters. However, no new testing is needed, as the use of multiple regression analysis allows a new estimated maximum value to be determined from the original test results, and compared with the appropriate limit value, or with existing vehicles.  Guidance is provided on the relevant parameters to be considered when developing operating controls for different types of track deterioration.

    “Receiving this award is recognition of the value of the project to the railway industry. The various contributors worked together to produce valuable results that will enable more cost-effective introduction of new and modified railway vehicles. This work could not have been completed without significant contributions from all of the authors, each bringing their own particular expertise to the project. It was a privilege to work as part of such a strong team.”

    DynoTRAIN was a collaborative project – medium-scale focused research project supported by the European Seventh Framework Programme, contract number: 234079 and was led by UNIFE.

    Find out more about the George Stephenson Gold Medal Award.

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