Optimisation of railway switches

Yann Bezin, Andy Foan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


As well as some blue-sky research, S&C is benefiting from an unprecedented level of needs-driven research. Previous issues have described fixed crossing studies and ways to improve ballast. This paper focuses on switches from three complementary viewpoints: wheel/rail interaction, point equipment interaction and non-ballasted support. These can be treated separately, and the improvements brought together from any or all to create improved switches. This paper draws from three papers resulting from a collaboration between the University of Huddersfield (UoH), Embedded Rail Technologies (ERT) and Andy Foan Ltd (AFL) and presented at Railways 2018 conference. This work was funded by the European Commission within the Shift2Rail projects In2Rail (I2R) and In2Track (I2T). The author considers how nine sampled switches apply actuation locking and detection in different ways; computes and compares their behaviour and recommends improvements. The author reviews how switch machining is constructed and generates a multiplicity of combinations of features, some of which are subjected to multibody simulation so that the effect of key features on the wheel-rail interaction can be better understood. The author describes a framework for developing switches for embedded track, and also identifies a practical application of flange-back steering for embedded switch diamonds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalPermanent Way Institution
Issue numberPart 2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


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