National Facility for Cyclic Testing of High-speed Rail (FCTHSR) is the first national facility of its kind to be designed in-house to accommodate a wide array of track conditions. It is expected to provide a national and international hub for high quality collaborative research with the main objective of contributing to better and more cost-effective track design catering for faster trains carrying heavier loads. 

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The Facility will greatly benefit several ongoing ARC-ITTC Rail and CRC-Rail projects, as well as a number of ARC-DP and ARC-Linkage projects. FCTHSR enables the test pit and model composition to be changed to examine different geologic materials and synthetic inclusions, as well as analysing high-speed loading effects on utilities such as buried pipelines, bridge piers and retaining structures (e.g. sheet walls). The Facility will embrace an array of sophisticated cyclic testing processes to mimic actual field conditions, and undoubtedly be stamped as the current state of the art in experimental rail geotechnics.  

FCTHSR will also bring large national scale positive social and economic impacts. For example, it will be employed to determine the track behaviour along various terrain sections of the Melbourne – Brisbane Inland Rail, where prototype physical models will be simulated and tested. The resulting improvements in the design and construction of tracks utilizing the FCTHSR will generate economies of scale in freight and commuter traffic. In NSW alone, the total maintenance costs on ballast replacement are close to $15M p.a., the FCTHRS research outcomes will reduce the cost of track maintenance and upgrading new tracks.  

Key contacts

Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna, Director of ARC ITTC Rail

Helen Jiang, Manager of ARC ITTC Rail (