Investigation of deformations of ballasted railway track during collapse using the Digital Image Correlation Method (DICM)

  • Szabolcs Szalai Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
  • Balázs Eller Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
  • Erika Juhász Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
  • Majid Rad Movahedi Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
  • Attila Németh Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
  • Dániel Harrach Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
  • Gusztáv Baranyai Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
  • Szabolcs Fischer Szechenyi Istvan University, Gyor, Hungary
Keywords: GOM ATOS, GOM TRITOP, Ballasted railway tracks, Collapse, Deformation, Modeling, DIC, DICM


This paper summarizes the results of laboratory tests in which the authors investigated the effects of extremely high vertical load to a railway track segment. The segment consisted of a cut concrete sleeper (contact area: 290×390 mm) with a pair of direct-elastic rail fasteners; the sleeper pieces had a standard, full height; the structure had a typical 350 mm depth railway ballast, underneath approx. 200 mm sandy gravel supplementary layer. The whole assembly was built in a 2.00×2.20 m area wooden rack. The deformations due to the approx. 150 kN static concentrated vertical force were measured and recorded by Digital Image Correlation Method (DICM), ensuring the GOM ATOS technology. The 150 kN peak load meant 1326 kPa vertical stress at the sleeper-ballast interface. The 3D geometry was scanned before the loading and after the collapse. In this way, the comparison was able to be executed. The maximum vertical deformation was 115 mm. The DICM technique is a relatively new methodology in civil engineering; however, it has been applied for more than ten years in mechanical engineering. Therefore, the authors investigated the applicability of DICM in this field. As a result, the pre and the post-states were determined in 3D. The displacement of the ballast particles was able to be defined with the possibility of drawing the displacement trajectories of given points. The DICM can be a valuable methodology in railway engineering, e.g., laboratory tests and field test applications.


Ahmad, M. (2021). Review of materials used for ballast reinforcement. Acta Technica Jaurinensis, 14(3), 315–338.

Buń, P., Górski, F., Wichniarek, R., Kuczko, W., Hamrol, A., & Zawadzki, P. (2015). Application of Low-cost Tracking Systems in Educational Training Applications. Procedia Computer Science, 75, 398–407.

CEN (2002). EN 13450:2002: Aggregates for railway ballast. Harmonized European Union Standard.

Eller, B., Majid, M. R., & Fischer, S. (2022). Laboratory Tests and FE Modeling of the Concrete Canvas, for Infrastructure Applications. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 19(3), 9–20.

Fischer, S. (2015). Investigation of inner shear resistance of geogrids built under granular protection layers and railway ballast. Science and Transport Progress. Bulletin of Dnipropetrovsk National University of Railway Transport, 5(59), 97–106.

Fischer, S. (2017). Breakage test of railway ballast materials with new laboratory method. Periodica Polytechnica Civil Engineering, 61(4), 794–802.

Fischer, S. (2021). Investigation of effect of water content on railway granular supplementary layers. Scientific Bulletin of National Mining University, 2021(3), 64–68.

Fischer, S. (2022). Investigation of the Horizontal Track Geometry regarding Geogrid Reinforcement under Ballast. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 19(3), 89–101.

Funke, C. (2016). GOM 3D Metrology Systems. (Accessed: 16 January 2022).

Goda, I., Lhostis, G., & Guerlain, P. (2019). In-situ non-contact 3D optical deformation measurement of large capacity composite tank based on close-range photogrammetry. Optics and Lasers in Engineering, 119, 37–55.

GOM (2022). GOM Metrology to Go. (Accessed: 5 January 2022).

GOM GmbH (2011). GOM ATOS III Triple Scan User Manual. (Accessed: 10 January 2022).

Grossoni, I., Powrie, W., Zervos, A., Bezin, Y., & Le Pen, L. (2021). Modelling railway ballasted track settlement in vehicle-track interaction analysis. Transportation Geotechnics, 26, 100433.

Guochong, L., & Haiyan, Y. (2021). Preparation and Mechanical Properties of Polyurethane Material for Railway Ballast. Science of Advanced Materials, 13(7), 1238–1245.

Habashneh, M. (2021). Special reinforcement solutions of railway permanent ways’ soil substructures. Acta Technica Jaurinensis, 14(3), 339–363.

Hungarian Standards (1989). MSZ 2509-3:1989: Static load plate test

Hungarian State Railways (2020). e-VASUT 02.10.20 D.11: Vasúti alépítmény tervezése, építése, karbantartása és felújítása. Retrieved from

Jóvér, V., Gáspár, L., & Fischer, S. (2022). Investigation of Tramway Line No. 1, in Budapest, Based on Dynamic Measurements. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 19(3), 65–76.

Juhasz, E., & Fischer, S. (2019a). Specific evaluation methodology of railway ballast particles’ degradation. Science and Transport Progress. Bulletin of Dnipropetrovsk National University of Railway Transport, 3(81), 96–109.

Juhász, E., & Fischer, S. (2019b). Railroad Ballast Particle Breakage with Unique Laboratory Test Method. Acta Technica Jaurinensis, 12(1), pp. 26–54.

Juhász, E., & Fischer, S. (2020). Investigation of particle degradation of railway ballast materials due to static and dynamic loadings. X. International Conference on Transport Sciences, Győr, 2020, ISBN: 978963121882 547–553. (Accessed: 16 January 2022).

Juhász, E., & Fischer, S. (2021). Tutorial on the fragmentation of the railway ballast particles and calibration methods in discrete element modelling. Acta Technica Jaurinensis, 14(1), 104-122.

Koutecký, T., Paloušek, D., & Brandejs, J. (2013). Method of photogrammetric measurement automation using TRITOP system and industrial robot. Optik - International Journal for Light and Electron Optics, 124(18), 3705–3709.

Kurhan, D., & Kurhan, M. (2019). Modeling the dynamic response of railway track. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (IOP Publishing), 708(1), 012013.

Kurhan, D., & Havrylov, M. (2020). The Mathematical Support of Machine Surfacing for the Railway Track. Acta Technica Jaurinensis, 13(3), 246-267.

Kurhan, D., & Leibuk, Y. (2020). Research of the Reduced Mass of the Railway Track. Acta Technica Jaurinensis, 13(4), 324–341.

Kurhan, D. M., & Fischer, S. (2022). Modeling of the Dynamic Rail Deflection using Elastic Wave Propagation. Journal of Applied and Computational Mechanics, 8(1), 379–387.

MABA Hungaria Ltd. (2017). Product datasheet, L4 type concrete sleeper (Accessed: 18 January 2022).

Przybyłowicz, M., Sysyn, M., Gerber, U., Kovalchuk, V., & Fischer, S. (2022). Comparison of the effects and efficiency of vertical and side tamping methods for ballasted railway tracks. Construction and Building Materials, 314, 125708.

Rampat, Chandr Toshan (2018) Reinforcement of ballasted railway tracks using 3D-geocomposite. MPhil thesis, University of Nottingham. (Accessed: 16 January 2022).

R-Design Studio (2022). TRITOP (Accessed: 16 January 2022).

Sysyn, M., Nabochenko, O., Gerber, U. & Kovalchuk, V. (2019). Evaluation of railway ballast layer consolidation after maintenance works. Acta Polytechnica, 58 (6), 1–16.

Sysyn, M., Gerber, U., Kovalchuk, V. & Nabochenko, O. (2018). The complex phenomenological model for prediction of inhomogeneous deformations of railway ballast layer after tamping works. Archives of Transport, 46 (3), 91–107, DOI:

Szalai, S. (2021). Investigation of formability of aluminum vehicle body sheets. Ph.D. thesis, Széchenyi István University (in Hungarian). (Accessed: 16 January 2022).

Szalai, S., & Dogossy, G. (2021). Speckle pattern optimization for DIC technologies. Acta Technica Jaurinensis, 14(3), 228–243.

Szalai, S., Szürke, S. K., Harangozó, D., & Fischer, S. (2022). Investigation of deformations of a lithium polymer cell using the Digital Image Correlation Method (DICM). Reports in Mechanical Engineering, 3(1), 206–224.

Transcalc (2022). CALCULATION AND PLOTTING TOOLS. Sieve Analysis Calculation and Plotting (Accessed: 10 January 2022).

How to Cite
Szalai, S., Eller, B., Juhász, E., Movahedi, M. R., Németh, A., Harrach, D., Baranyai, G., & Fischer, S. (2022). Investigation of deformations of ballasted railway track during collapse using the Digital Image Correlation Method (DICM). Reports in Mechanical Engineering, 3(1), 258-282.