Railways, crucial to national transport, constantly face rolling contact loads that lead to subsurface cracking. This study examines how these cracks impact the fatigue life of railheads. The focus is on modeling the progressive growth of these cracks, which is crucial to preventing severe failures. A finite element model simulates stress from wheel contact, considering the steel’s ductility. A multiscale computational method enhances modeling efficiency, focusing on local scale crack behavior influenced by global scale stress tractions. This approach aims to predict when a railhead might fail. An advanced non-linear cohesive zone model is used for more accurate predictions of crack growth behavior. This involves developing sophisticated rail testing protocols for model calibration and validation, ensuring real-world applicability. The research employs phased array ultrasonic testing for non-destructive internal crack analysis. This methodology, illustrate the experimental results by measures the internal crack geometry under long-term cyclic loading. These insights are crucial for understanding railhead life expectancy post-crack detection, enhancing railway safety, reliability, and efficiency.

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