Spectro-temporal responses of curved railway tracks with variable radii of arc curves

Sakdirat Kaewunruen, Chayut Ngamkhanong, Xin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


On curved railway tracks, wheel/rail interface can usually cause a traveling source of sound and vibration, which constitutes high-pitch or tonal noise pollution causing considerable concern to rail asset owners, commuters and people living or working along the railway corridor. The sound and vibration can be in various forms and spectra. The undesirable tonal sound on curves caused by excessive lateral wheel/rail dynamics in resonance with falling friction states are often called 'squeal noises'. This paper evaluates the transient effect of curve radii on the possible occurrence of lateral track resonances, which is a principal cause of dynamic wheel/rail mode coupling that could trigger 'curve squeal'. This study is devoted to systems thinking approach and better insight into dynamic phenomena of railway tracks that could resolve the railway curve noise problems. Curved track models in three-dimensional space have been developed using a finite element package, STRAND7. The dynamic responses of curved track have been simulated by applying a moving train load. The transient loading model of a common wheel/rail slip has been adopted. The simulations of railway tracks with different curve radii have been carried out to develop state-of-the-art understanding of lateral track dynamics, including rail dynamics, cant dynamics and overall track responses. Parametric studies have been conducted to evaluate lateral displacements, velocities and accelerations of rail over sleeper and rail at midspan, both in static and dynamic conditions. The study firstly reveals that the lateral resonance of tangent tracks is relatively rare and the mode coupling behavior is unlikely to occur on moderately curved tracks. The lateral vibration responses have been presented in terms of time histories and spectro-temporal responses (also called "Spectogram"). The dynamic lateral responses of the track are found to be sensitive to the change of curved radii. The resonance peak in the lateral direction is related to the agreement of corresponding natural frequencies of rail and the vibration excitation frequencies under an individual rolling velocity. The outcome of this study establishes new insight into the dominant influences of different track parameters to track lateral dynamic behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics
Issue number4
Early online date8 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019


  • railway noise
  • system thinking approach
  • curve radius
  • lateral nonlinear dynamics
  • curve squeal
  • high-frequency vibration


Dive into the research topics of 'Spectro-temporal responses of curved railway tracks with variable radii of arc curves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this