Track stiffness is the one of the most critical parameters of the track structure. Its evaluation is important to assess track quality, component performance, localised faults and optimise maintenance periods and activities. Keeping the track stiffness within acceptable range of values is connected with keeping the railway network in a satisfactorily performing condition, allowing thereby upgrade of its capacity (speed, load, intensity). Current railway standards are changing to define loading and stiffness requirements for improved ballasted and ballastless performance under high speed train traffic. In recent years various techniques have been used to measure track deflection which have been also used to validate numerical models to assess various problems within the railway network.
Based on recent introduction of the Video Gauge for its application in the civil engineering industry this project provides the proof of effective applicability of this DIC (Digital image correlation) tool for the accurate assessment of track deflection and the calculation of track stiffness through its effective applicability in various track conditions for assessing the stiffness of various track forms including track irregularities where abrupt change in track stiffness occur such as transition zones and rail joints. Attention is given in validation of numerical modelling of the response of insulated rail joints under the passage of wheel load within the goal to improve track performance adjacent to rail joints and contribute to the sponsoring company s product offering. This project shows a means of improving the rail joint behaviour by using external structural reinforcement, and this is presented through numerical modelling validated by laboratory and field measurements. The structural response of insulated rail joints (IRJs) under the wheel vertical load passage is presented to enhance industry understanding of the effect of critical factors of IRJ response for various IRJ types that was served as a parametric FE model template for commercial studies for product optimisation.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.