Organisers: Prof. Diogo Ribeiro, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Portugal ; Dr. Fulvio Busatta, Politecnico di Milano, Italy ; Prof. Rui Calçada & Dr. Pedro Montenegro, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Portugal ; Prof. Wanming Zhai, Southwest Jiaotong University, China

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Summary: In the last decades, railways have proven to be environmentally friendly, energy efficient and capable of guaranteeing high transportation capacity in both passenger and freight transport. Recent scientific and technological advancements made the appearance of new railway transportation types, such as heavy-axle freight and high-speed trains, possible. At the same time, railway infrastructure has grown significantly through the construction of large bridges and tunnels in order to reduce travel time and provide efficient links between major cities worldwide. The longer, faster and heavier trains operating nowadays, as well as the larger and more complex infrastructure that have had to be constructed, have each posed new and important challenges. Thus, structural engineers and the research community have been forced to (i) thoroughly review past theoretical achievements, (ii) enhance and optimize experimental techniques, and (iii) upgrade and develop new computational methods of analysis.

Within the framework outlined above, this special session aims to bring together from across the world the latest research studies, findings and achievements with regard to the planning, design, construction, monitoring, maintenance and management of railway infrastructure. Theoretical, experimental and computational investigations (or a combination of these) are welcome. Expected papers will cover various types of railway infrastructure such as bridges, viaducts, tunnels, track structure (ballasted and non-ballasted systems), track components (sleepers, rail, rail pads, switches and crossings), transition zones and noise barriers. Other relevant topics for discussion will be: vehicle-infrastructure interaction, train-induced ground vibrations, geotechnical aspects (earthworks, embankments and stabilisation), intelligent railway infrastructure systems, big data for railway infrastructure, and the safety, reliability and runnability of railway infrastructure in strong winds and/or earthquake-prone areas.