Academic Profiles


Prof Hannes Gräbe

Hannes Gräbe is a civil engineer with 16 years’ experience in track technology, track geotechnology, advanced laboratory testing, field investigations, maintenance models and numerical analysis of track structures.  
After completing his under-graduate studies at the University of Pretoria in 1994, he joined Transnet Freight Rail’s Tack Technology Centre, Johannesburg.  From 1999 – 2002 he studied abroad and obtained a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Southampton (UK).
This research was focussed on the design life prediction of railway foundations under heavy axle loading.   He is a registered professional engineer, Fellow of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and chairperson of the SAICE Railway and Harbour division. He is currently employed by the University of Pretoria as Associate professor: Chair in Railway Engineering where he lectures under- and post-graduate courses in Railway Engineering.
He is also responsible for railway research and continued professional education in the form of short courses presented to industry.  
Teaching duties
  • SVC 323: Transportation Engineering
  • SSC 412: Research Project
  • SBZ 420: Civil Engineering Construction Management
Current Research interests  
  • Track formation design, based on layer stiffness and accurate estimates of plastic and resilient deformation.
  • Numerical track analysis using Finite Element modelling and other numerical methods.
  • The testing and evaluation of non-conventional track structures (e.g. Tubular Modular Track and slab track).
  • Track condition assessment using new technologies such as Remote Video Monitoring (RVM) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Formation investigations using in-situ tests (e.g. falling weight and Pencel Pressuremeter).
  • Geosynthetic design using geotextiles, geogrids and geocells for load support, drainage and separation. Quality control and material compliance for track construction projects.
  • Structural Dynamics problems involving amongst others, resilient pads and track transitions.
  • Aspects related to Continuously Welded Rail (CWR) and the measurement of the stress free temperature in CWR.


Research Supervision (Current students)

  • Broekman, A. (PhD, 2022) - The use of rail photogrammetry for track geometry measurement

Research Supervision (Graduated PhD students)

Research Supervision (Graduated MEng students)

Publications list  (Google Scholar profile)

Full list of publications


- Author Andre Broekman

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