A Literature Review on Train Motion Model Calibration

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review



The dynamics of a moving train are usually described by means of a motion model based on Newton's second law. This model uses as input track geometry data and train characteristics like mass, the parameters that model the running resistance, the maximum tractive effort and power, and the brake rates to be applied. It can reproduce and predict train dynamics accurately if the mentioned train characteristics are carefully calibrated. The model constitutes the core element of a broad variety of railway applications, from timetabling tools to Driver Advisory Systems and Automatic Train Operation. Among the existing train motion model calibration techniques, those that use operational data are of particular interest, as they benefit from on- board recorded data, capturing the train dynamics during operation. In this literature review article we provide an overview of the train motion model calibration techniques that have been published in the scientific literature between January 2000 and December 2021 and either use operational data or can be minimally adapted to use it. To this end, we present a critical overview of the existing train motion model calibration approaches, distinguishing online calibration that analyzes data on- the-go and offline calibration that analyzes historical data batchwise. We propose a research agenda and highlight some potential goals to be tackled in the near future: from devising accurate online calibrators for eco-driving applications to quantitizing the physical sources of parameter variation. Last, we discuss practical recommendations for practitioners and scholars inferred from the current state of the art.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3660-3677
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2023

External IDs

WOS 000920484800001
ORCID /0000-0003-4111-2255/work/142246304


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis


  • model calibration, parameter estimation, parameter identification, railways, Train motion model, vehicle dynamics, Parameter estimation, Tracking, Computational modeling, Railways, Wheels, Calibration, Parameter identification, Vehicle dynamics, Resistance, Model calibration, Rail transportation, Trajectory