Vehicle-track interfaces

Vehicle-track interfaces

Vehicle-Track Interfaces are of critical importance for operators, rolling stock owners, and infrastructure managers alike, with a significant impact on the safety, costs and performance of the rail system.

We provide a wide range of services such as studies, measurements, analyses and advice focused on the interfaces between rolling stock and infrastructure. This includes maintenance optimisation for rolling stock and infrastructure, vehicle dynamics multi-body simulation, testing, optimisation of wheel/rail interaction and cost-benefit analyses.

Our infrastructure team specializes in track-related issues including switches and crossings and provides assurance, advice and condition-monitoring services for heavy and light rail systems all over the world.

How we can help

We support infrastructure owners, track maintainers and operators by providing specialist expertise across every aspect of the track lifecycle; from design, manufacture and installation to renewals, maintenance and incident investigation.

In addition to technical oversight, we offer a range of independent assessment and engineering safety management services, such as Notified or Designated Body (NoBo or DeBo) certification, or the development of safety cases in support of product approval applications. 

Where appropriate, we ensure projects apply relevant safety approaches, such as the Common Safety Methods referenced by the EC Railway Safety Directive 2004. 

We are also actively involved in developing technical standards for the industry, supporting committees and working with groups such as the RSSB Infrastructure Standards Committee, Network Rail Track Stiffness Working Group and the European Interoperability (TSI) GB Infrastructure Working Group.

Key services

  • Ballasted and ballastless track form guidance
  • Damage and wear analysis
  • Wheel and rail profile measurement and optimization
  • Component selection and approval advice — for example, rail, sleeper, pad and fastenings
  • Noise and vibration monitoring and mitigation
  • Design advice and comparison of switch designs
  • Switch inspection tool development
  • Dynamic modelling of wheel-rail interaction
  • Points-operating equipment (actuate, lock and detect)
  • Development, testing, validation and assurance of new, high-risk or novel designs
  • Independent assessment (including NoBo, DeBo and Assessment Body assessments)
  • Training
  • Condition-monitoring services our wheel-load impact detection system is installed on the network of a number of countries, including the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Poland, Morocco, Switzerland and Sweden, providing real-time asset management information based on data gathered from passing trains

What are the benefits?

Our experienced engineers possess a solid background in the fundamental principles of track and vehicle/track interaction. We are passionate about rail engineering and offer trusted, bespoke advice that delivers value.

Examples of previous assignments 

  • Development of switch inspection gauges for main line, metro and light rail systems
  • Authoring the safety plan and safety case required for product acceptance of a new stretcher bar design for use in turnouts
  • Identification of root cause and mitigation of flange squeal problem in New Zealand
  • RSSB project to develop a categorization system for the interface between track condition and the forces imposed on the track by rail vehicles
  • Derailment investigations for main line (passenger and freight), metro and light rail systems
  • Contributed to the design of the Non-Intrusive Crossover System used to provide temporary junctions and allow significantly reduced track possession