A whole life cycle approach under uncertainty for economically justifiable ballasted railway track maintenance

Manu Sasidharan, Michael Burrow, Gurmel Ghataora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
284 Downloads (Pure)


Historically, railway track maintenance strategies have been based on engineering judgement taking into account available budgets and operational safety. This has led to insufficient concern of the socio-economic and environmental costs and benefits of track maintenance. Given the pressure to increase track utilisation, the ageing infrastructure of railway networks, constrained maintenance budgets, the vertical separation of the ownership and operation of railway track infrastructure and rolling stock in many countries, and concerns about the environmental impacts of transport, there is a need to implement economically justifiable maintenance strategies. To this end, this paper presents for the first time an approach to appraise the investment in railway track maintenance. The approach uses a whole life cycle cost analysis under uncertainty approach which considers the costs and benefits of track maintenance to train operators, users and the environment. Monte Carlo simulation technique is used to address data uncertainties associated with the costs and benefits of track and train operation and maintenance. The proposed approach is applied to three different route types on the UK main-line railway network to compare a number of alternative maintenance strategies. In all the three cases more economically beneficial strategies were identified in comparison to those currently adopted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100815
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Transportation Economics
Early online date31 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2020


  • R400
  • R420
  • R490

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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