Non-linear soil behavior on freight vs passenger lines

Kaitai Dong, David P. Connolly, Omar Laghrouche, Peter Keith Woodward, Pedro Alves Costa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Upgrading existing passenger-only railway lines to carry freight traffic is becoming increasingly desirable. This is challenging because freight trains have larger axle loads and thus can have a negative effect on track longevity, particularly on ballasted lines supported by sub-optimal ground conditions. These additional loads can cause large subgrade strains resulting in non-linear behaviour, which should be considered before permitting freight vehicles on passenger routes. To do so requires the modelling of non-linear soil behaviour which is challenging. Therefore, this paper presents a solution in the form of an equivalent non-linear, thin layer element soil model, coupled to an analytical track model. The model has low computational demand and can adjust subgrade stiffness depending upon strain levels. Therefore, it is well suited to computing track response induced by freight trains. This paper validates the model and then uses it to compare the differences between the response of a ballasted line to freight and passenger vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputers in Railways XVI
Subtitle of host publicationRailway Engineering Design and Operation
PublisherWIT Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781784662868
ISBN (Print)9781784662851
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event16th International Conference on Railway Engineering Design and Operation 2018 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 2 Jul 20184 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameWIT Transactions on the Built Environment
PublisherWIT Press
ISSN (Print)1743-3509


Conference16th International Conference on Railway Engineering Design and Operation 2018


  • Non-linear soil
  • Railroad
  • Railway freight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Transportation
  • Safety Research
  • Computer Science Applications


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