File(s) not publicly available

Development of a unified railway track stability management tool to enhance track safety

journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by S Ahmad, Nirmal MandalNirmal Mandal, Gopinath ChattopadhyayGopinath Chattopadhyay, J Powell
Track buckling is a serious problem for railways. High longitudinal rail stresses contribute to many problems such as track buckling, rail joint failure, rail breakage and failure of turnouts. The direct and indirect costs of track buckling problems are very high. The influences of rail temperature, SFT and lateral misalignment of track on track buckling need comprehensive investigation. In this paper, an experimental design comprising strain gauges, thermocouples and rail stress sensors has been implemented on the QR heavy haul 60kg/m rail network. A new creep measurement technique using internal rail stress has been developed. The changes in rail neutral temperature due to the variation of actual rail temperature and the occurrence of rail creep in straight and curved track is quantified. Modes of differences of SFT in the two rails at a location, and of SFT in straight track and in curved track are discussed. The relationship of SFT to rail temperature is also presented. Daily variation in rail temperature due to ambient air temperature is presented. Field trials showed that SFT can vary by 2-30C during the day. Based on this finding and the derivation of an equation for change of SFT, an improvement in utilising rail creep measurements for assessing track condition has resulted. This finding suggests that it is possible to determine the SFT throughout a day rather than just a single SFT value.This paper also presents a simple track stability management tool that is based on two major parameters, namely rail stress and track resistance. Each parameter in the tool has been given three levels of value to determine the required preventive measures. Overall, the tool decides the need for speed restriction during hot weather based on the quantified parameters from the field trials and rail standards.


Category 4 - CRC Research Income






Start Page


End Page


Number of Pages





United Kingdom





Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Centre for Railway Engineering; Institute for Resource Industries and Sustainability (IRIS); Queensland Rail; Rail Innovation Australia Pty Ltd; School of Engineering and Technology (2013- );

Era Eligible



Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part F : Journal of rail and rapid transit.