An integrated rail track degradation model

Zhang, Yu-Jiang (2000) An integrated rail track degradation model. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Abstract

There has been a worldwide trend to increase axle loads and train speeds. This means that railway track degradation will be accelerated, and track maintenance costs will be increased significantly. There is a need to investigate the consequences of increasing traffic load. The aim of the research is to develop a model for the analysis of physical degradation of railway tracks in response to changes in traffic parameters, especially increased axle loads and train speeds. This research has developed an integrated track degradation model (ITDM) by integrating several models into a comprehensive framework. Mechanistic relationships for track degradation hav~ ?een used wherever possible in each of the models contained in ITDM. This overcc:mes the deficiency of the traditional statistical track models which rely heavily on historical degradation data, which is generally not available in many railway systems. In addition statistical models lack the flexibility of incorporating future changes in traffic patterns or maintenance practices. The research starts with reviewing railway track related studies both in Australia and overseas to develop a comprehensive understanding of track performance under various traffic conditions. Existing railway related models are then examined for their suitability for track degradation analysis for Australian situations. The ITDM model is subsequently developed by modifying suitable existing models, and developing new models where necessary. The ITDM model contains four interrelated submodels for rails, sleepers, ballast and subgrade, and track modulus. The rail submodel is for rail wear analysis and is developed from a theoretical concept. The sleeper submodel is for timber sleepers damage prediction. The submodel is developed by modifying and extending an existing model developed elsewhere. The submodel has also incorporated an analysis for the likelihood of concrete sleeper cracking. The ballast and subgrade submodel is evolved from a concept developed in the USA. Substantial modifications and improvements have been made. The track modulus submodel is developed from a conceptual method. Corrections for more global track conditions have been made. The integration of these submodels into one comprehensive package has enabled the interaction between individual track components to be taken into account. This is done by calculating wheel load distribution with time and updating track conditions periodically in the process of track degradation simulation. A Windows-based computer program ~ssociated with ITDM has also been developed. The program enables the user to carry out analysis of degradation of individual track components and to investigate the inter relationships between these track components and their deterioration. The successful implementation of this research has provided essential information for prediction of increased maintenance as a consequence of railway trackdegradation. The model, having been presented at various conferences and seminars, has attracted wide interest. It is anticipated that the model will be put into practical use among Australian railways, enabling track maintenance planning to be optimized and potentially saving Australian railway systems millions of dollars in operating costs.

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ID Code: 36110
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Presented to the School of Civil Engineering, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Railroad tracks Deterioration, railway track, computer model, track degradation, integration, track modulus, wheel load distribution, thesis, doctoral
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Yu-Jiang Zhang
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:04
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2016 01:05

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