Probabilistic Assessment of Windblown Sand Accumulation Around Railways

  • L. RaffaeleEmail author
  • L. Bruno
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 27)


New ultra-long transnational railway megaprojects are currently being planned or under construction. Along their route, they increasingly cross arid and desert regions. In these regions, railways are vulnerable to windblown sand. Several failure cases recently occurred, e.g. along the Linhai-Ceke railway in China, or the Aus-Lüderitz railway in Namibia. We consider windblown sand as an environmental key factor, analogously to wind or snow drift. We categorize its effects into Sand Ultimate Limit States and Sand Serviceability Limit States. In the design perspective, the quantitative prediction of the windblown sand sedimented along the railway is mandatory. We propose a probabilistic approach to sedimented windblown sand modelling because of the inborn variability of the phenomenon. The proposed method allows evaluating the design value of the accumulated windblown sand volume for a given site.


Windblown sand Sand limit states Railway Monte Carlo 



The study has been developed in the framework of the Windblown Sand Modeling and Mitigation (WSMM) joint research, development and consulting group established between Politecnico di Torino and Optiflow Company. The authors wish to thank the other members of the WSMM group for the helpful discussions about the topics of the paper.


  1. 1.
    Bruno L, Fransos D, Lo Giudice A (2018) Solid barriers for windblown sand mitigation: aerodynamic behavior and conceptual design guidelines. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 173:79–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    EN 1990 (2002) Eurocode - basis of structural designGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bruno L, Horvat M, Raffaele L (2018) Windblown sand along railway infrastructures: a review of challenges and mitigation measures. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 177:340–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cheng J-j, Jiang F-q, Xue C-x, Xin G-w, Li K-c, Yang Y-h (2015) Characteristics of the disastrous wind-sand environment along railways in the Gobi area of Xinjiang, China. Atm Env 102:344–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nathawat V, Sharda A (2005) Challenges of track maintenance in desert area - problems and remedies. Permanent Way Bull 32:1–8Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Davel Wallis M (2014) Freight Train Derails. Namib TimesGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zakeri JA, Forghani M (2012) Railway route design in desert areas. Am J Env Eng 2:13–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Indraratna B, Su L, Rujikiatkamjorn C (2011) A new parameter for classification and evaluation of railway ballast fouling. Can Geotech J 48:322–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ionescu D, Fedele D, Trounce M, Petrolito J (2016) Deformation and degradation characteristics of sand-contaminated railway ballast. In: Pombo J (ed) Proceedings of the third international conference on railway technology: research, development and maintenance. Civil-Comp Press, StirlingshireGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Carrascal I, Casado J, Diego S, Polanco J (2016) Dynamic behaviour of high-speed rail fastenings in the presence of desert sand. Constr Build Mat 117:220–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Faccoli M, Petrogalli C, Lancini M, Ghidini A, Mazzù A (2018) Effect of desert sand on wear and rolling contact fatigue behaviour of various railway wheel steels. Wear 396–397:146–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tyfour WR (2008) Predicting the effect of grinding corrugated rail surface on the wear behavior of pearlitic rail steel. Tribol Lett 29:229–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kóllmann J (2013) Railway operations under harsh environmental conditions sand, dust & humidity problems and technical solutions/mitigation measures. In: AHK workshop be a partner of Qatar Rail, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    EN 1991 (2003) Eurocode 1: actions on structuresGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kok JF, Parteli EJR, Michaels TI, Karam DB (2012) The physics of wind-blown sand and dust. Rep Prog Phys 75:106901CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Raffaele L, Bruno L, Pellerey F, Preziosi L (2016) Windblown sand saltation: a statistical approach to fluid threshold shear velocity. Aeolian Res 23:79–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Raffaele L, Bruno L, Fransos D, Pellerey F (2017) Incoming windblown sand drift to civil infrastructures: a probabilistic evaluation. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 166:37–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lettau K, Lettau H (1987) Experimental and micro-meteorological field studies of dune migration. In: Exploring the world’s driest climate (IES Report), vol 101, pp 110–147Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Melcher ER, Beck AT (2018) Structural reliability analysis and prediction. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hotta S, Horikawa K (1990) Function of sand fence placed in front of embankment. In: Coastal engineering. American Society of Civil Engineers, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture and Design (DAD)Politecnico di TorinoTurinItaly
  2. 2.Windblown Sand Modeling and Mitigation Joint Research GroupTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations