Feasibility of a kneeling train to improve platform-train interface for passenger boarding and alighting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Railway operators and infrastructure companies strive to optimise the flow of passengers on and off vehicles whilst aiming to minimise accidents at the platform-train interface (PTI). An ideal solution (already available in some situations) would be step-free access to aid efficient boarding for everyday passengers and those with additional needs or reduced mobility. Out of many solutions existing today, a 'kneeling vehicle' seems a possible solution due to the opportunity to minimise the step and gap distances. In this study, the viability of an assumed kneeling mechanism retro-fitted to a contemporary suspension architecture is assessed by evaluating the possible improvement in the step/gap distances based on a detailed model of suspension movement. It is shown that for many different infrastructure scenarios that significant improvements in the PTI are shown for a modest and achievable kneeling action. This study also addresses fundamental operational concerns of a kneeling vehicle by assessing gauging (with respect to infrastructure and adjacent vehicles) and pantograph interaction.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: This research was funded by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) under Grant COF-PTI-03 through the Rail Research UK Association (RRUKA). The authors earnestly acknowledge and thank them. The authors also thank the valuable inputs of Dr. David Johnson, Technical Director of DGauge Ltd.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1170
Number of pages8
JournalIET Intelligent Transport Systems
Issue number10
Early online date27 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020