Dynamic and Long-Term Behavior of the Railroad


It is intended that the trainees review and acquire knowledge about the mechanical behavior of railways, both the short-term dynamic behavior and the long-term behavior. A description of the main aspects and intervening factors is made, and the most common representation models present in the bibliography are presented. Situations in which the dynamics of the vehicle-road interaction can decisively influence both the instantaneous behavior (short-term) and the evolution of the longitudinal leveling of the road (long-term) are also identified and described.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

José Nuno Varandas da Silva Ferreira, Zuzana Dimitrovova


Weekly - 1

Total - 22

Teaching language



• Trainees should have previous knowledge of classical mechanics, from the point of view of the concept of forces, tensions and deformations, and the definition of constitutive models.


• Slides from CVF (Varandas, 2020)
• Esveld, C. (2001) Modern Railway Tracks, 2nd Edition, MRT-Productions;
• Popp, K., Schiehlen, W., (2003) System dynamics and long-term behaviour of railway vehicles, track and subgrade, Springer;
• Varandas, J.N., (2013) Long-term behaviour of railway transitions under dynamic loading, Tese de doutoramento, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Teaching method

Essentially expository classes, using slides and practical examples taken from real situations.

Some classes with a calculus component, in a hands-on regime whenever possible.

Evaluation method

One report elaborating about one of the topics described in this discipline, and one final test

Subject matter

• Resilient instantaneous behavior of railways;
• Long-term behavior (in terms of permanent deformation) of railways;
• Models of railway vehicles and actions imposed on the railway;
• Numerical modeling of vehicle-road interaction;
• Case studies: rail irregularities, undulating wear, track defects, sleeper insoles;
• Aspects of dimensioning of railways;
• Railway transition zones;
• Specific effects associated with high speed.


Programs where the course is taught: