Railway turnouts feature discontinuities in wheel-rail contact geometry and track stiffness. These discontinuities result in large dynamic contact forces causing degradation of the rail surfaces and track irregularities over time.
The analysis of the previous research activities in this field has shown that main research institutions have put their focus mostly on one damage mechanism at a time. However, the interplay and interconnection between those mechanisms have not yet been addressed.
The aim of the Shift2Rail Demonstrator and the Whole-System Model (WSM) framework being collaboratively developed within WP1 is therefore to develop, demonstrate and validate a novel methodology based on the interconnected submodules to make such holistic predictions for accumulated track damage in turnouts and account for the interplay and interaction between damage patterns such as the development of track irregularities due to ballast and subsoil settlement, and rail profile changes due to plastic deformation and wear.
Current project results reveal that at the beginning of the turnout service life the running surface of the rails in these areas changes significantly due to plastic deformation, which in turn increases the dynamic impact forces from passing vehicles.
After planned successful validation of the framework, it can be used for holistic assessment of turnouts for their design, performance and maintenance-costs optimisation.