Railway track switch simulation: a new dynamic model for studying actuator and switch blade dynamics

Linxiao Li, Saikat Dutta, Roger Dixon, Edward Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


This paper proposes a new approach to the dynamic modelling of railway track switches. The approach results in a model which faithfully reproduces the dynamic bending of the switch blades, allows simulated actuators (forces) to be applied along the length of the rails and can be simulated in times that are an order of magnitude faster than similar models in multi-body dynamics software (such as Simpack). These are the main contributions that should be of use to researchers and engineers concerned with the design of switches and their actuation mechanisms. First, an actuator model is developed; then the switch blade FEA (Finite Element Analysis) model is developed and validated against static bending predictions; the two are then combined and validated against the dynamic and steady-state predictions from a validated Simpack model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-783
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit
Issue number6
Early online date29 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/),which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited..


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The work araised in this paper has received funding from the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham. The author(s) are deeply grateful to the School of Engineering and Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) for the resources provided.


  • Railway track switch
  • Simulink
  • actuator
  • finite element analysis
  • model validation
  • switch blade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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