Safety is a top priority for the development of worldwide high-speed rail systems. Ballast flying is a particular safety concern when a high-speed train is traveling above a certain speed on the ballasted track. Displaced ballast particles from the track may cause damages to rolling stock, as well as the track infrastructure and wayside structures close to the sides of way. The objective of this research is to develop a probabilistic modeling framework to estimate the probability of ballast flight on specific segments or routes, accounting for several principal risk factors. Based on the probabilistic assessment, we propose a methodology to quantify the probability of flying ballast under certain scenarios. The methodology can be further developed, ultimately enabling a normative risk assessment for flying ballast risk management.

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