The serviceability of a section of railway highly depends on track stiffness and roughness. Railway operators regularly measure parameters associated with track stiffness and roughness to evaluate the track conditions. These measures are used in combination with performance observations to assess maintenance requirements. Although these assessments are mostly qualitative, railway operations have benefited from them. Railway operators keep comprehensive records of different types of track defects along their lines. These records are a measure of track performance and present an opportunity to quantify the relationship between track quality and performance. This brings the possibility of developing a performance-based approach for assessing the maintenance requirement along a railway track.
In this paper, a database of track geometry defects along Canadian National Railway’s Lac la Biche subdivision (Alberta) has been compared against measured parameters associated with track roughness and stiffness. The analyses confirm the relationship between track stiffness and roughness, and the occurrence of track defects. This relationship is further used to define threshold values of track roughness and stiffness, and a hazard chart for maintenance requirements along the Lac la Biche subdivision is proposed.