Estimating the marginal maintenance cost of different vehicle types on rail infrastructure

Andrew Smith, Kristofer Odolinski, Saeed Hossein-Nia, Per-Anders Jönsson, Sebastian Stichel, Simon Iwnicki, Phill Wheat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we combine engineering and economic methods to estimate the relative maintenance cost of different types of damage on the Swedish rail infrastructure. The engineering method is good at predicting damage from traffic, while the economic method is suitable for establishing a relationship between damage and cost. We exploit the best features of both methods in a two-stage approach and demonstrate its applicability for rail infrastructure charging, based on a sample of 143 track sections comprising about 11,000 km of track. The paper implements for the first time the method previously proposed in Smith et al., whilst also enhancing the method in several respects. We demonstrate how the estimated relative maintenance costs related to different damage mechanisms can be used to calculate the marginal cost of different vehicle types. The results are relevant for infrastructure managers in Europe who wish to differentiate their track access charges such that each vehicle pays its short run-marginal damage cost, which can support more efficient use of the rail infrastructure and influence vehicle design to minimize system costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1202
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit
Issue number10
Early online date14 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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