Published version.pdf (3.8 MB)

The benefits of mechatronically-guided railway vehicles: A multi-body physics simulation study

Download (3.8 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 13.04.2018, 08:17 by Nabilah Farhat, Christopher Ward, Roger Goodall, Roger Dixon
Mechatronically-guided railway vehicles are of paramount importance in addressing the increasing interest in reducing wheel-rail wear and improving guidance and steering. Conventional passively-guided rail vehicles are limited by the mechanical constraints of the suspension elements. Currently, a typical rail vehicle suspension needs to be sufficiently stiff to stabilize the wheelsets while being complaint enough to negotiate curved track profiles. The suspension is therefore a compromise for the contradictory requirements of curving and stability. In mechatronic vehicles, actuators are used with the conventional suspension components to provide additional stiffness or damping forces needed to optimise a vehicle for a wide variety of scenarios, and not rely on a sub optimal combination of passive components. This research demonstrates the benefits of active guidance and steering when compared to a conventional vehicle using simulation results from a multi-body simulation software Simpack. It also provides insights into the relative performance of the mechatronic schemes. The Simpack modeling allows for a complex model with high fidelity, which provides an additional level of proof of the control algorithms working on a real rail vehicle. Each vehicle is assessed in terms of guidance on straight track, steering on curved track, actuation requirements and wheel-rail wear. Significant benefits are demonstrated in one of the guided vehicles with independently-rotating wheelsets.


The research has been supported by a Loughborough University studentship and European Unions Horizon 2020: the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014–2020) through grant number 635900 for the project IN2RAIL: Innovative Intelligent Rail.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in





115 - 126


FARHAT, N. ... et al., 2018. The benefits of mechatronically-guided railway vehicles: A multi-body physics simulation study. Mechatronics, 51, pp. 115-126.


© The authors. Published by Elsevier


VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: by/4.0/

Acceptance date


Publication date



This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: