Rail fatigue and the role of impact forces

Murray, Martin Howard (2015) Rail fatigue and the role of impact forces. In Cathcart, Stephen & Kalay, Semih (Eds.) Proceedings of the 11th International Heavy Haul Conference, International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) Inc, Perth, W.A, pp. 552-560.


Fatigue of the steel in rails continues to be of major concern to heavy haul track owners despite careful selection and maintenance of rails. The persistence of fatigue is due in part to the erroneous assumption that the maximum loads on, and stresses in, the rails are predictable. Recent analysis of extensive wheel impact detector data from a number of heavy haul tracks has shown that the most damaging forces are in fact randomly distributed with time and location and can be much greater than generally expected. Large- scale Monte-Carlo simulations have been used to identify rail stresses caused by actual, measured distributions of wheel-rail forces on heavy haul tracks. The simulations show that fatigue failure of the rail foot can occur in situations which would be overlooked by traditional analyses. The most serious of these situations are those where track is accessed by multiple operators and in situations where there is a mix of heavy haul, general freight and/or passenger traffic. The least serious are those where the track is carrying single-operator-owned heavy haul unit trains. The paper shows how using the nominal maximum axle load of passing traffic, which is the key issue in traditional analyses, is insufficient and must be augmented with consideration of important operational factors. Ignoring such factors can be costly.

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ID Code: 91120
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: rail, fatigue, impact, simulation, data
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: 10 Dec 2015 01:47
Last Modified: 25 May 2016 02:29

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