A New Methodology for Assessment of Railway Infrastructure Condition

The majority of the railway infrastructure in Croatia is over one hundred years old. In common with many other EU member states, a lack of investment in maintenance and renewal projects in over the last 30 years has resulted in generally poor track conditions. As a result traffic speeds are often restricted with some important tracks operating with speeds limited up to only 20 km/h. This work describes a joint initiative between researchers and infrastructure managers (IM's) to revitalize risk assessment associated with ageing infrastructure, with the aim of increasing safety and reducing the costs of remediation. In order to achieve this, a new methodology for assessment of railway condition is developed. In this paper the use of phased investigation involving electromagnetic ground penetrating radar (GPR), seismic refraction, drones and in-situ geotechnical investigation to determine parameters affecting the track performance are presented. The features considered include ballast fouling, anomalies in railway embankments (including burrows), boundaries between layers, substructure condition, the water content of the soil, the slope geometry and drainage condition. The work constitutes the first step in a Decision Support Framework for IM's, being developed through the Horizon 2020 Project Destination Rail which will help to identify potential hot-spots on the rail network. By early identification of these locations low-cost remediation can be applied and thus costs can be reduced and failures avoided. In this paper the use of a custom-made cart which allows acquisition of data along the three axes of railway rail cross-section and an innovative interpretation methodology is described. Based on GPR data, on visual assessment and on photogrammetry images made using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a categorization of critical infrastructure data is collected to a quantitative risk assessment procedure. This provides a basis for preliminary design solutions as well as for establishment of a detailed programme of investigation works and monitoring on sections where it was shown as necessary. A next step is implementation of this methodology into a geographic information system (GIS) which would additionally fulfill the needs of decision-makers in the railway sector.


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  • Accession Number: 01604849
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2016 8:30AM