Controlling a Rail Vehicle with Independently-Rotating Wheels

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)


A conventional rail vehicle has a purely mechanical suspension consisting of springs and dampers. Their performance is determined mainly by spring stiffnesses, damper coefficients and the sprung and unsprung masses. As a result, the guidance forces generated at the wheel-rail contact are not optimised for a particular track curvature or profile. This leads to a contradictory requirement for a stiff suspension for guidance and a softer suspension for steering, and conventional vehicles have to be designed for a wide range of operating regimes. Active suspensions to influence the running gear of a rail vehicle have been studied widely [1] and proposed as a solution to overcoming the inherent suspension design conflict between stability and guidance. Some of this research has suggested that an active vehicle with independently-rotating wheels (IRWs) will provide the best solution in terms of vehicle performance and lower actuation requirements [2]. This paper takes this research further by designing and implementing a robust controller for IRWs on a multi-body physics simulation (MBS) model of a British Rail Class 230 D-train with modified bogies.


Wheel-motor Robust control Active suspension IRW vehicle 


  1. 1.
    Farhat, N., Ward, C.P., Goodall, R.M., Dixon, R.: The benefits of mechatronically-guided railway vehicles: a multi-body physics simulation study. IFAC J. Mechatron. 51, 115–126 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zhao, Y., Goodall, R., Stow, J.: Developing a wheel motor controller for an actively steered bogie using co-simulation. In: Proceedings of the 25th International Symposium on Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and on Tracks (IAVSD 2017), 14–18 August 2017, Queensland, Australia (2017)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing EngineeringLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK
  2. 2.Institute of Railway ResearchUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK
  3. 3.Stored Energy Technology Ltd.DerbyUK

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