SD2313 Rail Vehicle Dynamics 8.0 credits

Spårfordons dynamik

This course deals with vehicle dynamics for rail vehicles, incl. interaction with the track. The topic has become increasingly important due to the need for faster and heavier trains.

  • Education cycle

    Second cycle
  • Main field of study

    Mechanical Engineering
  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Course offerings

Spring 19 for programme students

Spring 20 for programme students

Intended learning outcomes

The overall aim of the course is to become prepared to work as vehicle dynamics engineer in industry or for railway operators/authorities. You shall be familiar to the different problems involved in dynamic vehicle-track interaction and be capable of actively choosing system properties that result in good vehicle performance and limited damage to vehicle and track components.

More specifically this means that after a fulfilled course you should be able to:

  • list the vehicle and track components that influence the dynamic system behaviour and also how
  • use derived equations to calculate permissible speed or nominal track geometry needed
  • explain mathematically why and when vehicle ride instability can occur
  • derive the equations for wheel-rail forces for vehicles at quasistatic curving
  • discuss the trade-off between stability and curving performance, and its practical implications
  • explain how wheel and rail profiles, and equivalent conicity, affect the trade-off above
  • describe how wheel and rail wear can be predicted and how it can be reduced
  • describe how ride comfort in rail vehicles is evaluated and reflect on how the comfort can be improved
  • use MATLAB and multibody dynamics softwares to practise most of the aspects in the course

Course main content

Rail vehicle dynamics and interaction between vehicle and track. The track and the vehicle (in brief). Fundamentals of vehicle-track interaction. Some simple vehicle models and pertinent equations of motion. Eigenvalue analysis, transfer functions and other types of analysis. Models of wheelsets, bogie frames and car bodies. Geometry and guidance for wheelset and track. Creep (sliding), creep forces (friction forces), ride stability and curve negotiation. Track forces. Safety against derailment: wheel flange climbing, vehicle turnover, rail turnover. Wheel and rail wear. Ride comfort. Vehicle gauging. Examples on different vehicles' dynamic interaction with the track. Simulation and measurement in practise. Exercises. Assignments. Project task (computer work): simulation of dynamic interaction between rail vehicle and track. Study visit.


150 university credits (hp) in engineering and documented proficiency in English corresponding to English B/ English 6.


Andersson E, Berg M and Stichel S: Rail Vehicle Dynamics, kompendium (på engelska), Avd. för Spårfordon, KTH, Stockholm.


  • PRO1 - Project, 2.0, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.0, grading scale: P, F
  • ÖVN1 - Assignments, 2.0, grading scale: P, F

Requirements for final grade

Written exam (TENA; 4 university credits). Assignments (ÖVNA; 2 university credits). Project task (PRO1; 2 university credits).

Offered by

SCI/Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering


Prof Sebastian Stichel,, +46 8 790 7603


Sebastian Stichel <>

Supplementary information

Mandatory for the track, Rail Vehicles.


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2013.
Examination information valid from: Autumn 2007.