Railway ground vibrations induced by wheel and rail singular defects

Georges Kouroussis*, David P. Connolly, Georgios Alexandrou, Konstantinos Vogiatzis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Railway local irregularities are a growing source of ground-borne vibration and can cause negative environmental impacts, particularly in urban areas. Therefore, this paper analyses the effect of railway track singular defects (discontinuities) on ground vibration generation and propagation. A vehicle/track/soil numerical railway model is presented, capable of accurately predicting vibration levels. The prediction model is composed of a multibody vehicle model, a flexible track model and a finite/infinite element soil model. Firstly, analysis is undertaken to assess the ability of wheel/rail contact models to accurately simulate the force generation at the wheel/rail contact, in the presence of a singular defect. It is found that, although linear contact models are sufficient for modelling ground vibration on smooth tracks, when singular defects are present higher accuracy wheel/rail models are required. Furthermore, it is found that the variation in wheel/rail force during the singular defect contact depends on the track flexibility, and thus requires a fully coupled vehicle/track/foundation model. Next, a parametric study of ground vibrations generated by singular rail and wheel defects is undertaken. Six shapes of discontinuity are modelled, representing various defect types such as transition zones, switches, crossings, rail joints and wheel flats. The vehicle is modelled as an AM96 train set and it is found that ground vibration levels are highly sensitive to defect height, length and shape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1500-1519
Number of pages20
JournalVehicle System Dynamics
Issue number10
Early online date10 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • ground-borne vibration
  • Hertziancontact
  • rail joint
  • railway
  • singular track irregularities
  • switches
  • transition zone
  • vehicle/track coupling system
  • wheel flat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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