Category : Infrastructure

Methods to mitigate railway premium fastening system spike fatigue failures using finite element analysis

Dersch, M.S., C.J. Khachaturian and J.R. Edwards. 2021. Methods to mitigate railway premium fastening system spike fatigue failures using finite element analysis. Engineering Failure Analysis. 121 (March 2021): 105160. doi:10.1016/j.engfailanal.2020.105160.

Railroad track fasteners work as a system, in conjunction with the sleeper, to maintain gauge, transmit loads, and resist lateral and longitudinal rail movement. Timber sleeper elastic fastening systems have shown benefits by preventing rail rollover derailments and reducing spike killing. However, these systems have experienced broken spike failures leading to at least 10 derailments…

Timber Crosstie Spike Fastener Failure Investigation: Field Evaluation of an Alternative Fastener

The Federal Railroad Administration has sponsored the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s (Illinois) to conduct a comprehensive investigation into timber crosstie spike fastener failures on North American railroads. As a part of this project, researchers conducted a field evaluation of fastening systems and an accompanied modelling effort…

Resilient Concrete Crosstie and Fastening System Designs for Light, Heavy, and Commuter Rail Transit

Rail transit track infrastructure and its components are expected to function as a system, and the performance and correct design of each component is critical to overall system behavior. A critical component in the transfer of load through the track system is the crosstie. Concrete is the dominant crosstie material choice for rail transit applications…

Numerical and experimental study on dynamic behaviour of concrete sleeper track caused by wheel flat

Zhang, Z., S. Wei, B.O. Andrawes, D.A. Kuchma and J.R. Edwards. 2016. Numerical and experimental study on dynamic behaviour of concrete sleeper track caused by wheel flat. International Journal of Rail Transportation. 4 (1): 1-19. doi:10.1080/23248378.2015.1123657.

Impact loads caused by flat spots on railcar wheels impose a major maintenance burden on railroads and can cause severe damage to both railcar and track components. This paper discusses the dynamic behaviour of the railroad track system under impact loads. A finite element (FE) model with multiple crossties and their accompanying fastening systems is…

Finite element modelling and field validation of prestressed concrete sleepers and fastening systems

Chen, Z., B.O. Andrawes and J.R. Edwards. 2016. Finite element modelling and field validation of prestressed concrete sleepers and fastening systems. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering. 12 (5): 631-646. doi:10.1080/15732479.2015.1034140.

Prestressed concrete sleepers and elastic fastening systems have been widely applied in North America to accommodate increased freight axle loading and the development of high-speed passenger rail systems. However, the design standard of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association remains unclear about the relationship between some critical design parameters and the vertical and lateral…

Quantification of concrete railway sleeper bending moments using surface strain gauges

Edwards, J.R., Z. Gao, H. Wolf, M.S. Dersch and Y. Qian. 2017. Quantification of concrete railway sleeper bending moments using surface strain gauges. Measurement - Journal of the International Measurement Confederation. 111: 197-207.

As the use of concrete sleepers increases for heavy-haul freight railroad and rail transit applications in North America, it is becoming more critical to quantify their flexural performance under revenue service traffic in an effort to improve sleeper design and maintenance practices. The objective of improving sleeper design and performance is achieving longer service lives,…

Analytical method to estimate railroad spike fastener stress

Dersch, M.S., M. Trizotto Silva, J.R. Edwards, A. de O. Lima and T.A. Roadcap. 2020. Analytical method to estimate railroad spike fastener stress. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. doi:10.1177/0361198120949259.

Previous research indicates that spike fastener fatigue failures have led to at least ten derailments since 2000. Given that rail-roads continue to install fastening systems that have experienced spike failures, methods to quantify the stress state of thespike must be developed. Common approaches to quantify the effect of key variables include laboratory experimentation,field instrumentation, or…

Analysis of geometric ballast plate for laboratory testing of resilient track components

Branson, J.M., M.S. Dersch, A. de O. Lima, J.R. Edwards and J-Y. Kim. 2019. Analysis of geometric ballast plate for laboratory testing of resilient track components. Transportation Geotechnics. 20 (100240).

Under tie pads (UTPs) have become a common solution for railroad networks across the world to improve track quality and reduce maintenance. Despite the benefits of UTPs in heavy-haul applications, there are currently no testing standards pertaining to UTPs in high axle load environments. The current European standard, the EN 16730:2016, recommends the use of…

Probabilistic framework for the assessment of the flexural design of concrete sleepers

Canga Ruiz, A.E., Y. Qian, J.R. Edwards and M.S. Dersch. 2019. Probabilistic framework for the assessment of the flexural design of concrete sleepers. Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit. doi:10.1177/0954409719854569.

An extensive study of the flexural performance of monoblock prestressed concrete sleepers in a light rail system was conducted as part of a research program funded by the Federal Transit Administration. Five consecutive sleepers deployed on the track were instrumented with strain gauges at their critical design cross-sections (center and rail seats) to obtain relevant…

Statistical prediction of center negative bending capacity of pretensioned concrete crossties

Bastos, J.C., M.S. Dersch and J.R. Edwards. 2020. Statistical prediction of center negative bending capacity of pretensioned concrete crossties. Journal of Transportation Engineering, Part A: Systems. doi:10.1177/0954409719854569.

When concrete railway crossties are installed in North American freight track and subjected to flexural loads, center negative bending is one of the most critical demands. However, the ultimate flexural capacity at the crosstie center is often unknown and hard to obtain. Because railroads do not always know what the remaining flexural capacity of concrete…

Identification of the under-tie pad material characteristics for stress state reduction

Branson, J.M., M.S. Dersch, A. de O. Lima, J.R. Edwards and J.C. Bastos. 2019. Identification of the under-tie pad material characteristics for stress state reduction. Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit. doi:10.1177/0954409719890156.

The degradation of ballast particles and concrete crossties in heavy-haul railroad tracks poses problems such as inhibiting proper drainage and disturbing track geometry. under-tie pads offer a solution to reduce crosstie–ballast stresses by improving load distribution through the track structure and reducing pressures on ballast particles and the crosstie surface. Despite the emergence of under-tie…

Development of a parametric model for the prediction of concrete railway crosstie service bending moments

Edwards, J.R., Y. Liang, J.C. Bastos and M.S. Dersch. 2019. Development of a parametric model for the prediction of concrete railway crosstie service bending moments. Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit. doi:10.1177/0954409719888068.

Concrete crosstie usage in North America continues to increase for rail transit and heavy axle load freight railroad applications. As such, it is important to design optimized crossties to save both capital and maintenance funds. Recently, a method for quantifying concrete crosstie bending moments using concrete surface strain gauges has been developed, deployed, and validated.…

Investigation into the effect of lateral and longitudinal loads on railroad spike stress magnitude and location using finite element analysis

Dersch, M.S., T.A. Roadcap, J.R. Edwards, Y. Qian, J-Y. Kim and M. Trizotto Silva. 2019. Investigation into the effect of lateral and longitudinal loads on railroad spike stress magnitude and location using finite element analysis. Engineering Failure Analysis. 104 (2019): 388-398. doi:10.1016/j.engfailanal.2019.06.009.

Multiple wide-gage derailments have recently been attributed to broken spikes in track constructed with premium elastic fastening systems. Premium fasteners on timber crossties were introduced into heavy axle load (HAL) freight service in North America over the past few decades and have gained popularity given they are thought to reduce maintenance costs, reduce rail rollover…

Tie and Fastener System Gage Restraint Performance at FAST

To better understand the performance of the tie and fastener system under heavy axle loads, Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) continues to perform testing on a variety of tie and fastener test zones at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST).

Testing of the McKay ‘Safelok’ Rail Fastening System

At the request of Ralph McKay Ltd., Australia, rail fastener tests in accordance with the specifications of the Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) and in some points in accordance with the recommendations of he AREA have been performed to prove the ‘Safelok’ fastening assembly for heavy track loadings and to estimate the service life. The tests consisted…

Study of New Track Design Phase II

Phase I of this research investigation was undertaken in September, 1996, for the Office of High Speed Group Transportation (OHSGT) og the Department of Commerce by Battelle Memorial Institute for the purpose of conceiving new and improved track structures for high-speed trains. As a result of the Phase I program, a number of track structures…

Static and Dynamic Tests on Rail Fastening Systems

The Roads and Railways Research Laboratory of the TU Delft (Delft University of Technology) conducted a series of laboratory tests on of rail fastening systems on concrete sleepers according to new European CEN standards. The aim was to determine typical parameter values under static and dynamic loading. The central part of each test series was…

Short Survey of a Test of the Rail Fastening for Railway Tracks with Wooden Sleepers Equipped with Double Elastic Rail Spikes DS 18 Manufactured by Messrs. Hoesch Rother Erde-Schmiedag Ag, Werk Dorken, Gevelsberg

Response of the Railway Track Under External Loading Stresses in a Fastening System Caused by Wheel Forces

A railway track model is presented in order to describe the influence of the non-linear behaviour of the various elements of the fastening system on the forces and deformations affecting the fastening system.

Performance of Elastic Fasteners on an 8-Degree Curve in Revenue Service

A test of elastic rail fastening systems was conducted on an 8-degree curve in the Norfolk Southern (NS) Mega Site as part of the Revenue Service Test Program, which is jointly sponsored by the Association of American Railroads and the Federal Railroad Administration. The two elastic fastener types, from two manufacturers, were subjected to 260…

Measurements of Rail/Tie Deflections and Clip Strains at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing

Measurements of rail-to-tie deflections and fastener slip strain were made on both concrete and wood tie track at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) in October 1980. These measurements were made to provide a data base for duplicating, if possible, these deflections and strains in a laboratory. The laboratory tests would serve as the…

Investigation of Rail Fastener Performance Requirements

An investigation was conducted to develop qualification requirements which reliably duplicate the service performance of rail fasteners. The study included a review of available data from qualification tests, measurements of rail/tie deflections and fastener clip strains at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST), and laboratory tests at Battelle which simulated the FAST environment. Several aspects of service performance…

Field Tests for the Failure Evaluation of PANDROL Rail Fasteners

This report presents an evaluation of the performance of PANDROL rail fasteners based on laboratory tests and field tests in Section 17 of the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) at the Transportation Test Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado. The test program examined the effects of track curvature and grade, tie pad composition and train direction on static…

Evaluation of Steel Tie Performance at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing

The original construction of the FAST Track included a segment of steel ties, which remained in service from September to December 1976. A number of performance measurements were made during this period to determine the ability of the ties to maintain geometry, fastener strength, and lateral resistance. This report describes the performance of the steel…

Effect of Missing or Broken Fasteners on Gage Restraint of Concrete Ties

In 2009-2010, the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. measured gage restraint of mainline concrete tie track affected by missing or broken fasteners. Measurements were taken at the Facility of Accelerated Service Testing and at the western mega site in revenue service. A concrete tie rail fastener provides gage restraint through the toe load (hold-down force) on…

Data Analysis and Instrumentation Requirements for Evaluating Rail Joints and Rail Fasteners in Urban Track

This report was prepared as part of the Rail Supporting Technology Program sponsored by the Office of Research and Development, Rail Programs Branch, of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration. Rail fasteners for concrete ties and direct fixation and bolted rail joints have been identified as key components for improving track performance. However, the lack of statistical load data limits…

The Mechanics of Rail Fasteners for Concrete Slab Track

The author seeks to show what conditions must be fulfilled by rail fasteners for use in slab track. Vertical elasticity has to compensate for the resilience of cross ties on ballast, and elastic restraint in other modes of deformation is discussed. Considerations of noise and vibrations raise problems of damping which must influence the design…

Resistance to Rail Creep – What Do Rail Fastenings Really Have to Do?

Rail fastenings are just one part of the track structure, but they perform a number of critical functions. It is widely understood, of course, that one of their principle functions is to restrain the rail, longitudinally i.e. to control rail creep. What is less well understood is that the amount of restraint that is required…

Model testing on dynamic behaviors of the slab track of high-speed railway

This paper presents a full-scale physical model test on a ballastless high-speed railway’s dynamic performance. Both cyclic loading at fixed point at track and simulated train moving loads are used. A portion of ballastless high-speed railway consisting of track superstructure (rails, slab, concrete base) and track substructure (roadbed, subbase and subgrade soil) has been built…

Field Evaluation of Sleeper and Fastener Designs for Freight Operations

As train speeds, axle loads, and tonnage increase on North American freight railroads, improved sleeper and fastener designs that are both economical and serviceable may be necessary to maintain acceptable track safety and quality in these high demand environments. TTCI continues to evaluate the performance of various sleeper and fastener systems at its Facility for…

Experimental Measurement and Finite Element Analysis of Screw Spike Fatigue Loads

Screw spikes, also known as coach screws, are an advanced alternative to common cut spikes for track fastening. Despite their ability to secure tie plates with a clamp load and utilization of high strength steels, they are still susceptible to bending fatigue failure from lateral wheel loads. A novel method of measuring these bending loads…

Concrete Slab Track Test on the High Tonnage Loop at the Transportation Technology Center

This paper presents results of field testing of two slab track sections on the High Tonnage Loop (HTL) at the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado. The test at TTC is part of the Cooperative Slab Track Research and Demonstration Program for Shared Freight and High Speed Passenger Service initiated by the Portland Cement…

Analysis of Rail Fastening System Delta Lager I Failure

Within the presented paper an analysis of possible causes for failure of rail fastening system Delta Lager I is presented. The type of fastening attributed as Delta Lager I is commonly used in underground railway system. Routine safety inspections revealed higher amount of broken high-strength steel bolts that secures interconnection between the rail and a…

A European Standard for Rail Fastenings for Heavy Axle Loads

This paper describes the development of European standard EN13481-8, which sets out the performance requirements for rail fastenings which are to be used on tracks carrying trains with heavy axle loads i.e. axle loads greater than 260kN. The standard takes particular account of proposals to run such trains on track aligned for faster lighter trains.…

The direct fixation fastener-its past and its future in rapid transit

Gildenston, R. 1987. The direct fixation fastener-its past and its future in rapid transit. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 1152: 49-55.

When compared to most other trackwork components, direct fixation fasteners are relatively new products in transit applications at North American transit authorities. In the past, some difficulties have been experienced by procuring operators as well as fastener suppliers in specification compliance and effective part design. With the introduction of newer, more technically advanced direct fixation…

Lifetime evaluation of rail pads for high speed railway vehicle

Woo, C.S. and H.S. Park. 2017. Lifetime evaluation of rail pads for high speed railway vehicle. IJR International Journal of Railway. 10 (1): 12-14. doi:10.7782/IJR.2017.10.1.012.

Useful lifetime evaluation of rail pad was very important in design procedure to assure the safety and reliability. It is, therefore, necessary to establish a suitable criterion for the replacement period of rail pads. In this study, we performed properties and accelerated heat aging tests of rail pads considering degradation factors and all environmental conditions…

Influence of toe load on the fatigue resistance of elastic rail clips

Hasap, A., P. Paitekul, N. Noraphaiphipaksa and C. Kanchanomai. 2018. Influence of toe load on the fatigue resistance of elastic rail clips. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit. 232 (4): 1078-1087. doi:10.1177/0954409717707834.

As a critical component of the fastening system, the elastic rail clip maintains the rail in the vertical, lateral, and longitudinal positions using its specified toe load. In this study, the influence of toe load on the deformation and fatigue resistance of the clip was studied. Finite element analysis, static load experiments, and fatigue experiments…

Finite element modeling and validation of the fastening systems and concrete sleepers used in North America

Chen, Z., M. Shin, S. Wei, B.O. Andrawes and D.A. Kuchma. 2014. Finite element modeling and validation of the fastening systems and concrete sleepers used in North America. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit. 228 (6): 590-602. doi:10.1177/0954409714529558.

Significant increases in rail loads, as well as growing interest in providing higher-speed passenger rail services, is placing new and increasing existing demands on fastening systems and concrete sleepers. Consequently, there is a strong need to better understand the response of fastening systems and concrete sleepers to these significantly increased demands. This paper presents an…

Fatigue damage analysis and life prediction of e-clip in railway fasteners based on ABAQUS and FE-SAFE

Hong, X., G. Xiao, W. Haoyu, L. Xing and W. Sixing. 2018. Fatigue damage analysis and life prediction of e-clip in railway fasteners based on ABAQUS and FE-SAFE. Advances in Mechanical Engineering. 10 (3): 168781401876724. doi:10.1177/1687814018767249.

This article used a combined solution of ABAQUS and FE-SAFE to evaluate the performance and predict the fatigue life of the e-clip (a widely used e-clip in the railway system) under cyclic loading. With the proposed methods, the fatigue life analysis of the e-clip has been performed under 12 working conditions. The results show that…

Estimating clamping force of rail fastener system by experimental and numerical methods

Li, Q.T., Y. Luo and Y. Liu. 2017. Estimating clamping force of rail fastener system by experimental and numerical methods. Transportation Research Procedia. 25: 443-450. doi:10.1016/j.trpro.2017.05.424.

Higher demand on security of passenger railway nowadays leads to a trend of field testing method tried on the existing lines. Features of rail fastener are important parameters relevant to safety of railway track structure. Numerical model calculated to predict lateral features of rail fastening system investigates the relation between applied load and displacement of…

Development of slab tracks for Hokuriku Shinkansen line

Ando, K., M. Sunaga, H. Aoki and O. Haga. 2001. Development of slab tracks for Hokuriku Shinkansen line. Quarterly Report of RTRI. 42 (1): 35-41. doi:10.2219/rtriqr.42.35.

Thirty years have passed since the world’s first use of slab tracks by the former Japanese National Railways. It is recognized that they have excellent performance for maintaining good track geometries and reduce track maintenance costs through this experience. However, there were still some points to be improved. This paper describes the present condition of…

Analysis of the fatigue performance of elastic rail clip

Hasap, A., P. Paitekul, N. Noraphaiphipaksa and C Kanchanomai. 2018. Analysis of the fatigue performance of elastic rail clip. Engineering Failure Analysis. 92: 195-204. doi:10.1016/j.engfailanal.2018.05.013.

As a critical component of railway fastening system, the elastic rail clip (e-clip) maintains the rail position using its specified toe load. To understand its fatigue failure during service, the fatigue experiment, finite element analysis (FEA) and failure analysis were performed on e-clip. Under normal wheel load, e-clips with high, normal, and low toe loads were run-out at 5 × 106 cycles. Under the contribution of…

An experimental analysis of railroad spike maul methods

Gray, B.A. and W.S. Marras. 1989. An experimental analysis of railroad spike maul methods. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. 31 (3): 335-344. doi:10.1177/001872088903100307.

This study investigated differences in railroad spike maul methods between experienced track workers and novice subjects. Differences were analyzed by developing a quantitative measure of the orientation of the spike maul path during spiking. The relationship between spiking motion pattern and spiking performance in both novice and experienced subjects was also investigated. Subjects were videotaped…