Vertical track stiffness is widely considered to be a fundamental indicator of track strength and sustainability. Although measurement of the stiffness parameter is often thought of as being potentially useful for track condition assessment, fault diagnosis and/or maintenance planning purposes, specificity as to how or why is generally lacking. This paper will assess the potential value of measuring track stiffness by considering if the data provides information that: 1) is essentially different from that provided by other techniques, and 2) can be used to enhance current track management capabilities in ways the other techniques cannot. To answer these questions, the paper will describe the track stiffness parameter, discuss the issues surrounding its measurement, summarize related measurement technologies, examine potential applications of the data and discuss the benefits, if any, that track stiffness data might provide that are potentially superior to the related techniques.

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