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

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 5553
Abstract HTML Views: 1736
PDF Downloads: 906
ePub Downloads: 1082
Total Views/Downloads: 9277
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 2754
Abstract HTML Views: 840
PDF Downloads: 574
ePub Downloads: 318
Total Views/Downloads: 4486

Creative Commons License
© 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: 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:


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.