Track Geometry Quality of Swedish Railway: Assessment and Analysis based on European Standard prEN 13848-6 (Trafikverket)

Background and Objective

Track geometry quality plays an important role for safety and ride comfort of train operations. Therefore, rail administrations need to measure track geometry parameters routinely by track recording cars (TRC) and, then, carry out necessary maintenance works accordingly. Over recent years, European Standards, the series of EN 13848, have been developed to standardise the methods of assessing track geometry quality and to comply with the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) for trans-European railway networks.

This Master Thesis proposal focuses on the analysis of track qualities at the so-called Overview Level according to prEN 13848-6. The main objective is to gain an understanding of Swedish track qualities over all or part of the whole network. The aim is that the following questions can be answered:

Q1: How are the track qualities of Swedish railway? Compared with the European average level, are they better or worse?

Q2: How are the trends of development? Are track qualities in Sweden, e.g. the Western Main Line Stockholm–Gothenburg, getting better or worse?

Figure 1: European track quality, Left: Longitudinal Level; Right: Alignment

Project Description

One common method of assessing track geometry quality is to consider the standard deviations of vertical and lateral track irregularities, i.e., longitudinal level (LL) and alignment (AL), respectively. When track qualities are analyzed at the Overview Level for strategic decisions, the cumulative frequency distributions of both LL and AL shall be investigated following prEN 13848-6.

In Figure 1, the European average track qualities for five different speed classes are presented, which are based on the survey results from WG28 of TC256 SC1 when preparing prEN 13848-6 and have been used to define the limit values for European track quality classes (TQC).

The candidate is recommended first to carry out literature studies to understand the basics about track and track geometry quality. He or she shall also need to learn Trafikverket’s database system, Optram, and know how to extract track data from TRC-measurements. Most working tasks in this thesis are, following the standard method described in prEN 13848-6, to investigate the cumulative frequency distributions of LL and AL for every track set (Bandel) and, eventually, the whole network. Analysis tasks will then be focused on certain important routes, e.g., the Western Main Line Stockholm–Gothenburg and the Southern Main Line Stockholm–Malmö, and to investigate the trends of development over recent years and, thus, to provide some key indicating parameters for strategic maintenance plans/decisions. Therefore, the expected results for this thesis work will be the answers to the two generally asked questions above.

More in-depth studies are possible and even encouraged. We mention as examples the assessment method of using Power Spectral Density (PSD) for wavelength content analysis or the one of Point Mass Acceleration (PMA) for taking into account vehicle-track interaction. Such studies can even reach to the front of international research activities.

Contact at Chalmers, Applied Mechanics:

Anders Ekberg, 031-772 3480,

Contact at Trafikverket:

Martin Li (UHabs), 010-1231863,

Huvudområde Maskinteknik

Martin Li (UHabs), 010-1231863,


Anders Ekberg, 031-772 3480

Institution Tillämpad mekanik
Uppdaterad: 29 oktober 2012
Ansvarig för sidan: Christian Johansson



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Examensarbetesmallar - Högskoleingenjör
Tillämpad mekanik - Chalmers Tekniska Högskola - SE-412 96 Göteborg