Research outcomes for improved management of insulated rail joints

Dhanasekar, Manicka (2015) Research outcomes for improved management of insulated rail joints. In Forde, Michael C. (Ed.) Railway Engineering 2015, Edingburgh, United Kingdom, pp. 1-14.


Insulated Rail Joints (IRJs) are safety critical component of the automatic block signalling and broken rail detection systems. IRJs exhibit several failure modes due to complex interaction between the railhead ends and the wheel tread near the gap. These localised zones could not be monitored using automatic sensing devices and hence are resorted to visual inspection only, which is error prone and expensive. In Australia alone currently there are 50,000 IRJs across 80,000 km of rail track. The significance of the problem around the world could thus be realised as there exists one IRJ for each 1.6 km track length. IRJs exhibit extremely low and variable service life; further the track substructure underneath IRJs degrade faster. Thus presence of the IRJs incur significant costs to track maintenance. IRJ failures have also contributed to some train derailments and various traffic disruptions in rail lines. This paper reports a systematic research carried out over seven years on the mechanical behaviour of IRJs for practically relevant outcomes. The research has scientifically established that stiffening the track bed for reduction in impact force is an ill-conceived concept and the most effective method is to reduce the gap size. Further it is established that hardening the railhead ends through laser coating (or other) cannot adequately address the metal flow problem in the long run; modification of the railhead profile is the only appropriate technique to completely eliminate the problem. Part of these outcomes has been adopted by the rail infrastructure owners in Australia.

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ID Code: 85443
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Insulated rail joints, Wheel-rail interaction, Lipping of railhead, End post squashing
ISBN: 0947644806
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 15 Jul 2015 23:06
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2015 05:52

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