Modelling of Train Induced Vibration (MOTIV)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

In spite of the global financial and economic crisis, a large number of plans for new railway networks is being proposed to meet the demand for both passengers and freight rail services. For example, construction has commenced on the £15.9 billion Crossrail project to provide an East-West rail link under London with 22 km of tunnels under the city. In January 2012 phase 1 of High Speed 2 (HS2) project was given government approval. The project will connect between London and Birmingham with future extensions to Leeds and Manchester. The overall cost of the line connecting between London and Birmingham is estimated between £15.8-17.4 billon. This will include substantial tunnelled sections through urban areas. Plans for light rail lines in urban areas are also progressing. In December 2011, plans to extend the Nottingham tram line where given green light by the government. The project involves 2 new tram lines with overall cost of £570m. In February 2012, Centro was given the green light to go ahead with the extension of Birmingham's Midland Metro tram service in a project worth £128 million.

The introduction of surface and underground railways provides substantial reduction of pollution resulting from the use of trains powered by electricity and the reduction of number of cars on streets. The use of underground railways helps significantly with congestion problems in urban areas. One of the main environmental issues linked with railway transportation in urban areas is ground-borne vibration transmitting to nearby buildings. Ground-borne vibration from railways is generated at the wheel-rail interface due to the passage of individual wheels on tracks (quasi-static loading) and due to irregularities of wheels and tracks (dynamic loading). Vibration propagates to nearby buildings where it causes annoyance to people and malfunctioning of sensitive equipment. Inhabitants of buildings perceive vibration either directly, due to motion of floors and walls, or indirects re-radiated noise. Vibration can also cause disturbance due to movement of household objects, especially mirrors or due to rattling of windowpanes and glassware. The problem can be more serious in some circumstances, such as when an underground tunnel passes below sensitive buildings such as a concert hall.

This project aims to develop a better understanding about key issues regarding the generation and propagation of railway vibration, namely the non-linear behaviour of tracks' elements and the dynamic soil-tunnel-pile interaction for a single as well as a twin tunnels. This will lead to improved models for the prediction of ground-borne vibration and noise from railways in order to reduce prediction uncertainty. To achieve the aim of the project, three objectives are set. The first is to investigate the effect of pre-load and non-linear behaviour of resilient elements of tracks will be investigated using excitation models (i.e. tracks on elastic foundations). The second is to develop a detailed Periodic Boundary Element model and couple that to the relevant structural elements to account for the interaction between twin-tunnels, soil and pile foundations. The third is to develop a fast running tool for calculating vibration transmitted to buildings on pile-foundation from surface tracks and from tracks in tunnels embedded in multi-layered ground. The model will be built in friendly-user software that will be made available for engineers responsible for designing of railway infrastructure and for engineers responsible for designing of measures to reduce vibration from railways.

Note that the project does not aim specifically to address the issue of vibration from high speed trains running on soft soil but is focused rather on vibration and noise from trains in urban settings, principally in tunnels.

Planned Impact

For new railway projects, such as Crossrail and HS2, the mitigation of ground-borne noise and vibration is a major concern and can form a significant part of the project costs. Reducing uncertainty in the predictions can lead to significant savings due to a reduction in the need for special trackforms or building isolation. Reducing ground-borne noise and vibration is one of the main priorities for local government bodies responsible for transport systems in the UK. This is exemplified by the strategies of the Mayor of London 2000-2008 for the Transport for London to develop cost-effective plans to minimise noise and vibration through improvements in the design, operation, monitoring and maintenance of transport infrastructure. In 2011, the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) issued a roadmap fact sheet entitled Greening of Surface Transport that states "The European railways will strive towards noise and vibrations no longer being considered a problem for the railways and its neighbours - meaning that noise and vibration levels are socially and economically acceptable and allow for 24-hour passenger and freight operation by 2050". One of the objectives defined in the Strategic Rail Research Agenda (SRRA) 2020 issued by ERRAC points out the urgent need to better understand the propagation and attenuation of vibrations transmitted from subway tunnels.
This project will deliver both knowledge and numerical tools that will lead to significantly greater understanding and improved accuracy for predictions of ground-borne vibration from railways. Those more accurate tools are also needed for the assessment of existing railways and for the design of mitigation methods before these are implemented. The right choice of mitigation method and its specification is crucial because of the high financial cost and the difficulty of retrospective replacement. The research proposed will also provide scientific input to allow the preparation of International Standards and will help prepare good practice guides for the design of surface and underground railway operation to maintain minimum vibrations for the lifetime of operation. This will have a significant impact on quality of life for people who live near railway lines.
The project will be strongly supported by a stakeholders group with keen interest in the project and its deliverables as evidenced by the letters of support. The stakeholders group involves representatives from metro operators; infrastructure owners; track component manufacturers; consultants and contractors; and world-class academics. The stakeholders group will provide inputs to the work, advise on technical issues and identify ways to maximize the impact.

Publications

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Brookes D (2016) The dynamic interaction effects of railway tunnels: Crossrail and the Grand Central Recording Studios in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

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Brookes, D. (2016) On the dynamic interaction effects of railway tunnels: Crossrail and the Grand Central Recording Studios in Proc. Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part F - Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

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Coulier P (2014) Experimental study of a stiff wave barrier in gelatine in Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

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Hamad W.I. (2014) Tunnel-soil-pile interaction in the prediction of vibration from underground railways: Validation of the sub-models in Proceedings of the International Conference on Structural Dynamic , EURODYN

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Hamad W.I. (2015) The dynamic interaction of twin tunnels embedded in a homogeneous half-space in COMPDYN 2015 - 5th ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Computational Methods in Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

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Hussein M (2013) The use of sub-modelling technique to calculate vibration in buildings from underground railways in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

 
Description In MOTIV, we developed detailed models of the dynamic interaction between underground railway tunnels and neighbouring structures. These models provide better understanding of this interaction and highlight uncertainties in predictions of simplified models for ground-borne vibration. Some of our models findings have been verified against field measurements of changes in vibration environment in Grand Central Recording Studios in London due to the tunnelling of Crossrail tunnels. Further updates and information can be found at the MOTIV website https://motivproject.co.uk/ Calculation models have been developed for railway induced ground vibration. In particular it has been established that it is important to include the two rails separately at higher frequencies but that they can be considered together at low frequencies. The effect of the train movement has also been determined. The nonlinear behaviour of rail fasteners has been quantified through laboratory tests. The effect of this nonlinear behaviour on the vibration of the track and ground has been assessed using theoretical models. Simple models for piled foundations have been developed and compared with more complex models. The models have been implemented in fast-running software for predicting ground vibration due to railways. This includes surface railways and tunnels, including twin-tunnels.
Exploitation Route The models developed in this work package are used to validate fast, user friendly models developed in other work packages. These fast running models will be given to Stakeholders group to use for their predictions of railway induced vibration. The software will be made available to the industry although not as freeware. To provide on-going support it has been decided that it is more appropriate to charge a modest licence fee. The stakeholder group will be allowed preferential access to recognise their contribution to the project.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport

URL http://motivproject.co.uk/
 
Description We have given three presentations to industry: Arup 15 May 2015 AECOM 26 November 2015 TfL 14 March 2018
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Research Collaborator 
Organisation University of Southampton
Department Institute of Sound and Vibration Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are responsible for work package 2 (WP2) of the project, which is aimed at developing detailed boundary element models for the dynamic tunnel-soil-pile interaction due to underground railway vibration. The developed models will serve as a benchmark for models that are developed in other work packages at ISVR. We are also responsible for managing the project in terms of organising meetings, collaborating with industry partners, showcasing project outcomes and managing the project website (www.motivproject.co.uk).
Collaborator Contribution Our partners at ISVR are responsible for two work packages of the project. The first work package (WP1) deals with developing novel excitation models accounting for non-linearity of elements of conventional track system. The models utilise the dynamic stiffness and finite element methods considering both discretely and continuously supported tracks. The other work package (WP3), benefits from the detailed models of generation and propagation of ground-borne vibration developed in WP1 and WP2 in order to be incorporated in the well-known Pipe in Pipe (PiP) model. An extended version of the PiP model will be released at the end of the project as a user-friendly version. The extended PiP version will calculate efficiently train-induced vibration taking into account interaction between neighbouring structures, such as tunnels and buildings, and variation of soil stiffness with depth.
Impact Research papers, public awareness and extended version of PiP model are the main envisaged outcomes of the collaboration.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Research Partner 
Organisation University of Surrey
Department Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are using the ElastoDynamics Toolbox (EDT), which was developed at KU Leuven by Prof Geert Degrande research group, to calculate Green's functions of homogeneous half-space and multi-layered ground. The project is a good opportunity to promote the work of KU Leuven by continuously acknowledging the EDT in published work and presentations. It also provides an opportunity to scrutinise the robustness of the EDT and its practical applications.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Degrande has kindly supplied free of charge a version of the EDT for the whole period of the project. The EDT calculates Green's functions for a multi-layered ground. The EDT is based on the direct stiffness method and the thin later method in order to model wave propagation in layered media.
Impact Prof Degrande has been very supportive of the MOTIV project and have attended most meetings. He, and his research group, discuss continuously the progress of the work.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Stakeholder (Arup) 
Organisation Arup Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We will provide Arup before the end of the project with a beta version of extended PiP model to investigate and use for comparisons against their measurements.
Collaborator Contribution Arup support the investigation of the effect of weak coupling by comparing the results of the boundary element models developed in WP2 against measurements for impulse excitation.
Impact Arup have been interested in the MOTIV project and have sent a representative to some meetings.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Stakeholder (Centro) 
Organisation Centro plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We will provide Centro before the end of the project with a beta version of extended PiP model to investigate and use for comparisons against their measurements.
Collaborator Contribution Centro are supporting the project with a series of field measurements in Birmingham to validate the excitation models in WP1 and identify parameters and vibration due to running trains.
Impact Centro have been supportive of the MOTIV project and have sent a representative to almost every meeting.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Stakeholder (LUL) 
Organisation Transport for London
Department London Underground
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We will provide London Underground Limited (LUL) before the end of the project with a beta version of extended PiP model to investigate and use for comparisons against their measurements.
Collaborator Contribution LUL have allowed us to attend some of their scheduled measurements and provided us with data to analyse and validate our models. The measurements took place in June 2014 on Bakerloo Oxford Circus - Regent's Park line. Another measurement campaign is due shortly after installation of new low-vibration track-form.
Impact LUL have been very keen in the MOTIV project by attending all meetings and providing technical advices.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Stakeholder (Network Rail) 
Organisation Network Rail Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We will provide Network Rail Ltd before the end of the project with a beta version of extended PiP model to investigate and use for comparisons against their measurements.
Collaborator Contribution Network Rail Ltd mainly transfer their knowledge in railway vibration to the project, by attending stakeholders group meetings, assessing developed models and highlighting national importance of the work.
Impact Network Rail have been keen in the MOTIV project and have sent a representative to most meetings.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Stakeholder (Pandrol) 
Organisation Pandrol Track Systems
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We will provide Pandrol before the end of the project with a beta version of extended PiP model to investigate and use for comparisons against their measurements.
Collaborator Contribution Pandrol have given us access to some field measurements conducted at Worksop, to validate particularly excitation models developed in WP1.
Impact Pandrol have been very supportive of the MOTIV project and have sent a representative to every meeting.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Stakeholder (URS) 
Organisation URS Corporation
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We will provide URS Cooperation before the end of the project with a beta version of extended PiP model to investigate and use for comparisons against their measurements.
Collaborator Contribution URS support the investigation of the effect of weak coupling by comparing the results of the boundary element models developed in WP2 against measurements for impulse excitation. URS also provide experimental measurements to validate models developed in WP3.
Impact URS have been supportive of the MOTIV project and have sent a representative to almost every meeting.
Start Year 2013
 
Description BSI Technical Committee - GME/21/3/1 (Mechanical vibration, shock and condition monitoring) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participation in BSI Technical Committee - GME/21/3/1 (Mechanical vibration, shock and condition monitoring - Measurement and evaluation of mechanical vibration and shock in stationary structures      - Structural dynamics and ground-borne noise and vibration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Eurodyn 2014 Conference; ISMA 2014 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Papers presented at the conferences and were recieved very well.

After the talks, we engaged on elaborated discussion with experts on railway ground-borne vibration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Group meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Elaborated discussion on the progress of the MOTIV project, and the way forward.

Actions for next meeting were agreed on.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description Lego train-building demonstrator for Open Days 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Outreach activity included the building of a working Lego model of a base-isolated building, to illustrate the problem of train-induced vibration in buildings. The model was built at Lego City scale and made use of a Lego City electric train set as the vibration source. MEMS accelerometers were incorporated at salient locations in the model to measure vibration levels and demonstrate the principle of base isolation.  A number of posters were prepared.  The model resides in a prominent location in the Department and will be used regularly during Open Days, etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Railway noise and vibration
"See our Lego trainset and buildings demonstrating transmission of vibration into buildings. Including other demos of environmental and transport noiseSouthampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF) is the University of Southampton's annual festival that allows everyone to explore and discover what the world of science and engineering has to offer."

SOTSEF began in 2002 as a one day, free Science and Engineering Day at Highfield campus where ~200 people attended. Every successive year it grew bigger and better, winning best Engineering event in 2009 and best STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) Institution event in 2014. In 2015, SOTSEF officially was launched- marking the beginning of moving away from a one day event to a larger programme of events which included Ocean and Earth Day at the NOCs.

In 2016, SOTSEF had over 100 different activities, talks and tours from 7 out of 8 faculties in the university. Boldrewood Innovation Campus also was open to the public for the first time with Lloyd's Register providing a host of further activities.

The festival is now organised by the Public Engagement with Research unit who also organise the Human Worlds Festival and are responsible for a number of other engagement events between researchers and the public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL http://www.sotsef.co.uk/science-and-engineering-day/location-life-sciences/