A History of Railway Vehicle Dynamics

Authored by: A. H. Wickens

Handbook of Railway Vehicle Dynamics

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138602854
eBook ISBN: 9780429469398
Adobe ISBN:


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The railway train running along a track is one of the most complicated dynamical systems in engineering, with many degrees of freedom and a moving interface that connects the vehicle to the track. The dynamics of this complex system has a long history, and this chapter tells the story of its conceptual and analytical development, concentrating on the most basic problems associated with stability, response to track geometry and behaviour in curves of the railway vehicle. Generally, though fundamental concepts were formulated early on, in most cases, empirical engineering development was able to keep abreast of the requirements of ride quality and safety until the middle of the twentieth century. Then, increasing speeds of trains and the greater potential risks arising from instability and interaction between vehicle and track stimulated a more scientific approach to vehicle dynamics, leading to today’s powerful modelling tools.

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