REVIEW ARTICLE


Degradation Prediction of Rail Tracks: A Review of the Existing Literature



Najwa Elkhoury, Lalith Hitihamillage, Sara Moridpour*, Dilan Robert
Civil and Infrastructure Engineering Discipline, School of Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia


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© 2018 Elkhoury et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Civil and Infrastructure Engineering Discipline, School of Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, 3001, Australia; Tel: +61 3 9925 2407; Fax: +61 3 9639 0138; E-mail: sara.moridpour@rmit.edu.au


Abstract

In the past few decades, the railway infrastructure has been widely expanded in urban and rural areas, making it the most complex matrix of rail transport networks. Safe and comfortable travel on railways has always been a common goal for transportation engineers and researchers, and requires railways in excellent condition and well-organized maintenance practices. Degradation of rail tracks is a main concern for railway organizations as it affects the railway’s behaviour and its parameters, such as track geometry, speed, traffic and loads. Therefore, the prediction of the degradation of rail tracks is very important in order to optimise maintenance needs, reduce maintenance and operational costs of railways, and improve rail track conditions.

This paper provides a comprehensive review of rail degradation prediction models, their parameters, and the strengths and weaknesses of each model. A comprehensive discussion of existing research and a comparison of different models of degradation of rail tracks is also provided. Finally, this review presents concluding remarks on the limitations of existing studies and provides recommendations for further research and appraisal practices.

Keywords: Rail Track, Degradation, Rail, Prediction, Parameters, Variables, Deterioration, Models.