An investigation of subgrade differential settlement on the dynamic response of the vehicle–track system

The construction of non-ballasted slab railway track on existing subgrade soils, or on embankments, is at an early stage of development on Chinese railways. Developing appropriate standards for the allowable amount of subgrade differential settlement that takes into account the dynamic response of the train–track system is one of a number of issues that need to be addressed. To inform the development of such standards, a model based on the theory of vehicle–track coupling dynamics, which considers the weight of the track structure, was created to investigate how differential settlement, in terms of the amplitude, wavelength and position of the settlement along the track, can affect various railway performance-related criteria, including ride quality, stability, vehicle safety and potential damage to the wheel of the train and the rail (i.e. forces at the wheel–rail contact and in the fasteners). The performance of the model was favorably compared with other widely used models described in the literature. The analysis of the study to inform design standards using the developed model demonstrated that the magnitude of the differential settlement influences passenger comfort the most compared with other performance criteria. For the considered CRTS I track, there exists a particular wavelength (8?m for the specific conditions considered) that results in all measures of performance being at their maximum values. Furthermore, the longitudinal position of the settlement waveform in relation to the joints between two concrete slabs, a factor which is not considered in design standards, was shown to influence component deterioration, passenger comfort and safety. The greatest propensity to cause component damage occurs when the beginning or end of the differential settlement waveform corresponds with the inter-slab joint of a concrete base. Accordingly, it is recommended that current design standards should be modified to specify appropriate combinations of amplitude, wavelength and position of the differential settlement to give acceptable measures of performance.


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  • Accession Number: 01608743
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 9 2016 11:37AM