Model-based controller design for a lift-and-drop railway track switch actuator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Loughborough University


Track switches are essential in order to enable railway vehicles to change routes however they are also the largest single cause of failure on the railway network. A new generation of switching concepts are emerging from projects like In2Rail, REPOINT and S-Code that promise to improve rail network performance through the use of new mechanisms, monitoring and control systems. This paper focusses on modelling and control of a lab-demonstrator from the REPOINT project. Unlike conventional track switch machines, this actuator needs closed loop feedback control. First, a detailed simulation model of the actuator is developed and validated against experimental results. Two model-based control designs are then developed and tested: a classical cascaded P/PI controller and a modern state feedback controller. The two controllers are compared and it is found that, whilst there are some performance differences, both meet the requirements for use in a redundantly actuated REPOINT switch.


Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2019


  • REPOINT switch, PI control, LQR Control, model validation, position control