David Connolly is Professor of Railway Engineering at the University of Leeds. His research is focused on railway train-track dynamics, track geotechnics, differential settlement, sensor technologies and noise and vibration. He has developed a wide range of numerical simulation models for the prediction of track behaviour in collaboration with researchers across the world. These models have won 8 awards and have been published widely in international literature. Further they have been used to develop novel track solutions directly for numerous railway companies. He also has expertise in the instrumentation of railway tracks, and has performed site work across the UK and Europe.
The world’s passenger railways are moving towards longer and higher speed trains, while the world’s freight lines are moving towards heavier axle loads. These changes in loading present significant degradation challenges for existing railway track infrastructure. At higher speeds the interaction between train wheels and track induces higher dynamic forces. Further, longer trains induce additional loading cycles while heavier axle loads result in elevated strains, potentially in the non-linear range.
To study these challenges this talk will explore new advancements in railway track numerical modelling, laboratory testing and field instrumentation. First the topics of shakedown and critical train-track velocity will be covered, relating to the wave propagation issues induced at very high train speeds. Next, the effect of high axle load freight trains will be discussed, along with soil stiffness non-linearity. Differential settlement will then be addressed before performing a technical comparison between the behaviour of ballast and slab tracks.