Quality Indices and Decision Support Tools for Managing Rail Grinding Programs
is a common, costly and effective method for assuring safety and extending the
life of wheel, rail and track fastening system.
Because of the cost (both for the grinding itself and many secondary
costs such as track access, safety assurance, firefighting, etc.) there is an
ongoing push to assure its best possible effectiveness. The transit agency needs to balance
productivity and having the work completed in an efficient manner while
ensuring the finished product provides value particularly in terms of improved
wheel rail interaction. But how is that measured? Quality indices are key to assuring that
grinding is achieving the objectives of removing surface damage, installing
optimal rail profiles, and ultimately improving the wheel-rail performance and
reducing long term costs through more effective grinding practices and extended
Common current grinding quality
indices refer to the shape only and relies on the assumption the target rail
profile is optimal from a wheel rail interaction standpoint. Quality indices need to be improved in order
to assure proper treatment of rail corrugation, surface fatigue and shape
provide value to the transit agency. This RNS proposes to support ongoing
efforts to rectify this deficiency.
support the development of rail grinding quality indices that will enable
railroads to objectively manage rail shape, rail corrugation, and rail surface
damage to improve wheel rail interaction.
agencies invest considerable money into rail grinding in order to improve
safety and wheel/rail performance. The
current methods to quantify work quality could be improved to assure the work
is achieving these goals. This research
will provide railroads with an approach for objectively assessing the
effectiveness of the rail grinding program.
several ongoing efforts to establish improved metrics for rail grinding as part
· Commercial grinding programs at BART, Sound
Transit, New York City Transit and Vancouver Skytrain.
· A new rail grinding initiative at the CSX railroad.
Additionally, a research effort
was recently started at the University of Manitoba to look specifically at
measurements of rail corrugation and the impact of corrugation on track and
Next, this general topic has also
been identified by the International Collaborative Research Initiative on RCF
and Wear of Rails and Wheels (ICRI-RCF) as a candidate for international
collaboration. This means that in-kind
contributions from its many international participants could be available.
Lastly, the FRA is currently
sponsoring a research project to compare visible surface damage with the
“actual” depth of damage as measured using eddy current systems and destructive
sectioning. This work will inform and
contribute to the development of a surface damage index.
In support of
the initiatives listed above, specific research funding is need to coral those
efforts and arrive at an industry applicable set of guidelines and processes
for assuring the quality of a rail grinding program.
Since there have been recent literature reviews,
it remains only to check for even more recent contributions on this issue.
Engage the ICRI-RCF and its international
community to identify potential experts for contribution to the work.
Engage the support of at least two transit
agencies to participate in a program of measurement and reporting that allows
evolving quality indices to be trialed and implemented in the field.
Collection of pre- and post-grind rail profile
data, along with wheel profile data for use in wheel-rail interaction analysis
to assess with respect to performance impacts of rail grinding, and from there
to a rail shape index.
Collection of pre- and post-grind surface
condition data (both visible surface damage and eddy current measurement) for
use in developing the rail surface quality index.
Collection of pre- and post-grind rail
corrugation data for use by the University of Manitoba and other participants
in models of vibration, noise and fastener damage.
Specific analyses to be performed include
· Determining allowable deviations of rail
profiles from the prescribed shape, based on the impact to wheel-rail
performance (based on contact stress, steering performance, stability,
shakedown and wear energy).
· Developing and comparing more appropriate shape
indices or measures, including running band radius/position, conformality,
conicity and PQI through the use of static, quasi-static and dynamic analyses.
· Correlating rail deterioration rates (profile,
surface damage and corrugation) with track curvature, wheel profile shapes,
train speeds and steel types.
- General evaluation of the cost impacts of noise,
vibration, RCF and poor wheel/rail performance (rail wheel life, ride quality)
and the impact of rail grinding on those.
expectation is that this research will be incorporated into both APTA and AREMA
standards and so readily available to all.
Its guidelines and approaches will be implemented by rail grinding
companies, wheel-rail and rail grinding specialist organizations.
While there has always been scrutiny on budgets, the increasing profile of noise and vibration especially, but also safety and ride quality, has raised the profile of rail grinding and current practices are being questioned. There is an immediate need for objective means of measuring the effectiveness of rail grinding in achieving its objectives.
|Sponsoring Committee:||AR050, Railroad Infrastructure Design and Maintenance
|Research Period:||12 - 24 months|
|RNS Developer:||Eric E. Magel, Principal Engineer, Rolling Contact Fatigue, National Research Council, Canada, email@example.com, +1 250 317 0205 Mark Reimer, Director of Projects, Advanced Rail Management Corporation, Indialantic, Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 204 792 7555|
|Index Terms:||Decision support systems, Rail grinding, Maintenance of way, Rail profiles, Rolling contact, Service life, |
Administration and Management
Maintenance and Preservation