Use of Measured Vibration of In-Situ Sleeper for Detecting Underlying Railway Ballast Damage

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

18 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Article number1540026
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


The identification of railway ballast damage under a concrete sleeper is investigated by following the Bayesian approach. The use of a discrete modeling method to capture the distribution of ballast stiffness under the sleeper introduces artificial stiffness discontinuities between different ballast regions. This increases the effects of modeling errors and reduces the accuracy of the ballast damage detection results. In this paper, a continuous modeling method was developed to overcome this difficulty. The uncertainties induced by modeling error and measurement noise are the major difficulties of vibration-based damage detection methods. In the proposed methodology, Bayesian probabilistic approach is adopted to explicitly address the uncertainties associated with the identified model parameters. In the model updating process, the stiffness of the ballast foundation is assumed to be continuous along the sleeper by using a polynomial of order N. One of the contributions of this paper is to calculate the order N conditional on a given set of measurement utilizing the Bayesian model class selection method. The proposed ballast damage detection methodology was verified with vibration data obtained from a segment of full-scale ballasted track under laboratory conditions, and the experimental verification results are very encouraging showing that it is possible to use the Bayesian approach along with the newly developed continuous modeling method for the purpose of ballast damage detection.

Research Area(s)

  • Bayesian approach, continuous modeling, damage detection, railway ballast, Vibration measurement