Why is it so difficult to determine the lateral Position of the Rails by a Measurement of the Motion of an Axle on a moving Vehicle?

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Several attempts of measuring the exact location of the rails by the use of ordinary vehicles have been made. While the method works reasonably well in the vertical direction, the results of the lateral measurements made with different vehicles are so widely scattered that it is virtually impossible to draw any conclusions. We may therefore ask: does a wheel set follow the track disturbances exactly? In this article we investigate the lateral dynamics of a half-car vehicle model with two-axle bogies running on a rigid tangent track with sinusoidal lateral disturbances of the rails. The wavelength, the amplitude and the phase between the rail disturbances are varied. Two different vehicle speeds are investigated. One speed is under and the other above the vehicle critical speed. In the article we show examples of axle motions that do not follow the track disturbances in phase, amplitude or period or several of these together. The results are discussed, and we must conclude that it is in general impossible to determine the track geometry from the motion of a wheel set.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of First International Conference on Rail Transportation 2017
Number of pages13
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventFirst International Conference on Rail Transportation 2017 - Wangjiang Hotel, Chengdu, China
Duration: 10 Jul 201712 Jul 2017


ConferenceFirst International Conference on Rail Transportation 2017
LocationWangjiang Hotel


  • Train-Track Interaction
  • Railway Vehicle Dynamics
  • Vehicle-Track coupled Dynamics

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