Model-based controller design for a lift-and-drop railway track switch actuator

Precious Kaijuka, Roger Dixon, Chris Ward, Saikat Dutta, Sam Bemment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Track switches are essential in order to enable railway vehicles to change routes; however, they are also the largest single cause of failure on the railway network. A new generation of switching concepts are emerging from projects like In2Rail, REPOINT, and S-Code that promise to improve rail network performance through the use of new mechanisms, monitoring, and control systems. This paper focusses on modeling and control of a lab-demonstrator from the REPOINT project. Unlike conventional track switch machines, this actuator needs closed loop feedback control. First, a detailed simulation model of the actuator is developed and validated against experimental results. Two model-based control designs are then developed and tested: a classical cascaded P/PI controller and a modern state feedback controller. The two controllers are compared and it is found that, whilst there are some performance differences, both meet the requirements for use in a redundantly actuated REPOINT switch.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2008-2018
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number5
Early online date22 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • LQR control
  • Model validation
  • PI Control
  • position control
  • REPOINT switch


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