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The University of Southampton

Research project: Track to the Future

Currently Active: 

 The science and analytical tools to design long life, low noise railway track systems.  


Track to the Future is a prestigious £5.2M EPSRC Programme Grant bringing together academics from the Universities of Southampton, Birmingham, Huddersfield and Nottingham and key industry players.


Railway track is being more intensively used as the frequency and speed of trains continue to increase. The time available for maintenance is decreasing and pressure is growing to reduce cost and environmental impacts, including noise and vibration. At the same time climate change is imposing new pressures on old infrastructure, sometimes with major impacts on exposed coastal railways and vulnerable earthworks.


We are addressing these challenges with state-of-the-art experimental and analytical techniques, and the integration of advanced sub-system models in the areas of geomechanics, track systems, vehicle dynamics, noise and vibration. Our research will lead to track that will cost less and last longer with reduced maintenance needs, causing significantly less disruption to travellers.




Our key objectives and research challenges are:

1.     To develop low-maintenance, long-life track systems with optimised material use in terms of whole life cost and embedded carbon

2.     To design crossings and transitions so as to optimise vehicle behaviour through them and hence maximise resistance to damage

3.     To develop an integrated approach to designing a low-noise, low-vibration track.

Associated research themes

Project website - Track to the Future

Related research groups

Infrastructure Group
Dynamics Group
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