Kostovasilis, Dimitrios, Ntotsios, E., Hussein, M.F.M., Thompson, D.J. and Squicciarini, G. (2014) A holistic approach for the design and assessment of railway tracks. In: IX International Conference on Structural Dynamics (EURODYN 2014),, 30th June - 2nd July 2014, Porto, Portugal.

In spite of the global financial crisis, considerable investments are being made in railway infrastructure in the UK and many countries around the world. Improvements in the quality and capacity of current services and the development of new railway infrastructure are needed to meet the increasing demand for transferring more people and goods in a more sustainable way. In particular, the performance of the track system is crucial to the successful and cost-effective operation of the railway. This has motivated much scientific research with the aim of better understanding the performance of the railway system, including both existing railway tracks and improved tracks for the future. Much current research on railway track focuses on individual aspects of the design and performance, e.g. track settlement, rail fatigue, ballast degradation, ride quality, maintenance, and noise and vibration. However to achieve substantial advances in railway track design, it is important to consider all these aspects in an integrated way. Changes that can benefit one aspect should not be allowed to have a negative impact on others. To facilitate this, a single tool should be developed or the computational tools that consider individual aspects of the design need to be integrated. The resulting tool can therefore be used to assess the behaviour of railway tracks in a holistic manner. A preliminary version of such a holistic tool is presented here. In this version, fast running models and empirical relationships are put together in order to calculate the performance of a railway track with regard to ride quality, ground-borne noise and vibration and rolling noise. Results for practical case studies are presented and discussed. The paper also highlights the limitations of the preliminary version and the future plans to achieve a reliable and comprehensive tool.

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