Visakh V Krishna
I completed my PhD at the Department of Engineering Mechanics in March 2022. I hold a MSc degree in Vehicle Engineering.
The European commission’s stated objective of decreasing emissions comes with the need to shift 50% of the road-borne freight to railway and water-borne modes by 2050. Especially with the European Green Deal that aims to completely transform the EU into the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, there is a significant impetus to developing a robust, electrified rail transportation system.
Railways is the most eco-friendly land-based transportation mode withonly 0.5% of transport-related emissions in the EU accounted to the sector. A sustainable and a competitive railway sector however only comes with optimal infrastructure renewal & maintenance planning, track-friendly vehicle concepts and an acute understanding of the the vehicle-track system. This is particularly relevant considering that transport administrations all over the world spend a lot just on track maintenance annually.
Description of my work
In my PhD work, I closely work with Trafikverket and other European partners to increase the competitiveness of rail freight transportation with longer, heavier and less damaging freight train concepts with the help of digital tools and mathematical modelling. I am currently active inShift2Rail projects.
In theDYNAFREIGHTproject (Grant no. No: 730811), along with our international partners, I investigated the bottlenecks and the safety precautions that limit the operation of overlong freight trains in the EU by modelling the various aspects ofLongitudinal Train Dynamics. In addition to this, I also performedTrack-friendliness calculations for novel suspension designs for locomotives.
Track maintenance is particularly more relevant today, acting as a bottleneck preventing a higher amount of modal shift of freight from roads to railway. Also, increased investment across the world on new dedicated freight corridors for enhanced capacity calls for better track-friendly vehicles and track maintenace strategies for economically-viable railway systems. In theFR8RAIL (Grant no. 730617) andFR8RAIL2(Grant no. 826206) projects, we explore various running gear concepts and methodologies to effectively judge the track-friendliness of the designs.
With a systems-wide perspective to the vehicle, track and the maintenance strategies, I aim to add to the KTH model for wheel-rail damage and aid the development of a digital twin to obtain predictive maintenance strategies and develop track-friendly running gear concepts.
Drawing from my work, I have authored/co-authored peer-reviewed publications and project deliverables for the Shift2Rail projects, the links to which are provided in thepublications page.
Sustainable development goals
Within this context, I view my work as directly aligned with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:
#9-Industry, innovation & infrastructure (targets: 9.1, 9.3 and 9.4): Better infrastructure planning and vehicle concepts
#11-Sustainable cities and communities (target 11.3): Improvement of logistics with the help of rail networks, especially in the resource-rich rural hinterlands of the developing world.
#13-Climate Action (target 13.2):An incentive to shift more energy-intensive freight towards the rail mode which is instrumental to taking millions of Internal Combustion Engine-based trucks off the road. This will massively take tonnes of emissions out of our atmosphere in the long term.
 Roadmap to a Single European Transport Areahttps://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/strategies/2011_white_paper_en
 A European Green Deal:https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en
 Trafikverket: Annual report 2017:https://trafikverket.ineko.se/Files/sv-SE/49148/Ineko.Product.RelatedFiles/2018_086_TRV_Annual%20Report_2017.pdf