This paper presents a nonlinear rubber spring model for the primary suspension of the railway vehicle, which can effectively describe the amplitude dependency and the frequency dependency of the rubber spring, by taking the elastic force, the fractional derivative viscous force, and nonlinear friction force into account. An improved two-dimensional vehicle–track coupled system is developed based on the nonlinear rubber spring model of the primary suspension. Nonlinear Hertz theory is used to couple the vehicle and track subsystems. The railway vehicle subsystem is regarded as a multibody system with ten degrees-of-freedom, and the track subsystem is treated as finite Euler–Bernoulli beams supported on a discrete–elastic foundation. Mechanical characteristic of the rubber spring due to harmonic excitations is analyzed to clarify the stiffness and damping dependencies on the excitation frequency and the displacement amplitude. Dynamic responses of the vehicle–track coupled dynamics system induced by the welded joint irregularity and random track irregularity have been performed to illustrate the difference between the Kelvin–Voigt model and the proposed model in the time and frequency domain.

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