Field testing and analysis of high speed rail vibrations

D. P. Connolly*, G. Kouroussis, P. K. Woodward, P. Alves Costa, O. Verlinden, M. C. Forde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper outlines an experimental analysis of ground-borne vibration levels generated by high speed rail lines on various earthwork profiles (at-grade, embankment, cutting and overpass). It also serves to provide access to a dataset of experimental measurements, freely available for download by other researchers working in the area of railway vibration (e.g. for further investigation and/or the validation of vibration prediction models).

First, the work outlines experimental investigations undertaken on the Belgian high speed rail network to investigate the vibration propagation characteristics of three different embankment conditions. The sites consist of a 5.5 m high embankment, an at-grade section and a 7.2 m deep cutting. The soil material properties of each site are determined using a ‘Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves’ technique and verified using refraction analysis. It is shown that all sites have relatively similar material properties thus enabling a generalised comparison.

Vibration levels are measured in three directions, up to 100 m from the track due to three different train types (Eurostar, TGV and Thalys) and then analysed statistically. It is found that contrary to commonly accepted theory, vertical vibrations are not always the most dominant, and that horizontal vibrations should also be considered, particularly at larger offsets. It is also found that the embankment earthworks profile produced the lowest vibration levels and the cutting produced the highest. Furthermore, a low (positive) correlation between train speed and vibration levels was found. A selection of the results can be downloaded from

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-118
Number of pages17
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Early online date26 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014


  • Cutting
  • Download data
  • EIA
  • Embankment
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Experimental testing
  • Ground borne vibration
  • Ground-borne noise
  • High speed rail
  • In-situ testing
  • MASW
  • Railway
  • Vibration prediction


Dive into the research topics of 'Field testing and analysis of high speed rail vibrations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this