Evaluating Short-Wave Effects in Railway Track Using the Rail Surface Signal

Markus Loidolt*, Stefan Marschnig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Condition assessment and maintenance planning of railway infrastructure is a prerequisite for safe and reliable train operation. As the loads are constantly increasing, condition assessment of the track must also be further developed. Existing methods can describe the condition of the track well in many cases, but they will reach their limits with faster deterioration processes and shorter time windows for inspection and maintenance, both associated with higher loads. This development can only be countered with an increased understanding of the system and the associated better planning of component specific measures. Among others, short-wave effects of the track need to be considered. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the possibility of describing short-wave effects with an already existing data source. Insulated rail joints, welding joints, switch components, but also rail corrugation of different wavelengths and squat can be detected, evaluated and monitored by a measuring system based on optical distance meters. These assets and wear phenomena form essential parts of track asset management, but still are not described sufficiently by established methods. Although the so-called rail surface measurement system has been installed on the main Austrian measuring car for years, its full potential could not be exploited due to insufficient positioning accuracy. The method presented in this paper intends to change that. This allows for a holistic assessment of track condition when planning maintenance activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2529
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Asset management
  • Corrugations
  • Insulated rail joints
  • Railways
  • Short-wave effects
  • Squat
  • Switch components
  • Welding joints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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