Research

Faculty and students of the Railway Engineering and Safety program at the University of Delaware conduct advanced research on railroad engineering, safety, operations and economics for the North American and international railway and transit industry. Areas of focus include:

  • Big data in railroad engineering and maintenance
  • Rail fatigue and rail life management
  • Track strength and performance
  • Turnout safety and maintenance
  • Safety, risk analysis and maintenance
  • Vehicle/track dynamics and interaction
  • Track inspection technologies
  • Optimization of components’ lives and maintenance costs
  • Rail transit and sustainable urban infrastructure

 

Recent Projects

Relationship between rail fatigue and track geometry defects (Integration of Multiple Inspection System Data to Identify Potentially Unsafe Track Conditions)
[PDF: On the Relationship between Track Geometry Defects and Development of Internal Rail Defects]
[PDF: How Track Geometry Defects Affect the Development of Rail Defects]

  • Funded by Federal Railroad Administration with support of CSX
  • Examine relationship between track geometry defects and rail fatigue defects
  • Two-year project; completed August 2015

 

Wheel Climb at Switch Points: Phase I
[PDF: Improving Inspection of Turnouts 178] [PDF: Development of: Hand Gauges for Inspection of Switch Points to Prevent Wheel Climb]

  • National Academy of Science/Transportation Research Board- IDEA program
  • Development of Hand Held Inspection Tools for Switch Point Inspection
  • Phase I is development of Hand Held inspection gauges
  • Completed 2014

 

Wheel Climb at Switch Points: Phase II 

  • National Academy of Science/Transportation Research Board- IDEA program
  • Development of Hand Held Inspection Tools for Switch Point Inspection
  • Phase II is field validation phase; validation ongoing on five railroads

 

Assessment of Crude by Rail (CBR) Safety Issues in State of Pennsylvania
[PDF: Assessment of Crude by Rail (CBR) Safety Issues in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania]

  • State of Pennsylvania
  • Direct report to Governor of PA
  • Completed 2015

 

Relationship between missing/deficient ballast sections and track geometry defects
[PDF: Does Missing Ballast Result in Development of Track Geometry Defects?]
[PDF: Relationship Between Missing Ballast and Development of Track Geometry Defects]
[PDF: On The Relationship Between Missing Shoulder Ballast and Development of Track Geometry Defects]

  • Funded Georgetown Rail Equipment Company (GREX)
  • Analysis of track geometry defect data and deficient ballast sections as measured by LIDAR inspection unit
  • Phase I completed 2014
  • Phase II is ongoing

 

Optimization of Rail Grinding process at Micro level

[PDF: Analyzing Rail Grinding Patterns]
[PDF: Towards a Better Understanding of the Rail Grinding Mechanism]

  • Funded by Harsco Rail and Government of China
  • PhD level research in optimizing grinding patterns/mechanisms and high speed rail grinding
  • Develop micro-level rail grinding model
  • Completed 2013

 

Analysis of the Relationship between Rail Grinding and Development of Rail Defects

  • Funded by Class 1 Railroad
  • Completed

 

Effect of Heavy Axle Loads on Short Line and Secondary Track (Delaware Transit Corporation)

  • Delaware Department of Transportation
  • Project to look at effect of heavy axle load freight traffic on maintenance and safety for short lines in state of Delaware.
  • Completed 2014

 

Preliminary Assessment of Bamboo for Use as a Railroad Cross-Tie Material

  • Funded by TieBam, Inc.
  • Completed 2015

 

Ballast Inspection

[PDF: Use of Ballast Inspection Technology for the Prioritization, Planning and Management of Ballast Delivery and Placement]

  • Funded by Georgetown Rail Equipment Company (GREX)
  • Analysis of missing or deficient ballast
  • Development of prioritization algorithms for determining which sections of track should receive additional ballast
  • Completed 2013