Railway track support conditions are known to deeply affect the dynamic performance of vehicle-track interaction, influencing the state of the track system both in the short and in the long term. Exactly how much and how is not precisely understood and the notion of track stiffness, although thought to be a key parameter of the track quality, is currently not being monitored systematically. This paper seeks to analyse the influence on the ballast behaviour of track vertical stiffness and especially its spatial non-uniformity, using available experimental data measured at different sites. Mathematical models are developed and the effectiveness of applying under sleeper pads is also investigated. Finally, an iterative procedure based on Guerin’s settlement law is used to take into account the long-term behaviour of the ballast. Such models can help to understand mitigation solutions as well as predicting track quality evolution over time.
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