Managing wheel/rail performance on Amtrak's Northeast corridor

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Proceedings titleProceedings of the AREMA 2002 Annual Conferences: Washington, DC - Semptember 22-25, 2002
ConferenceAREMA 2002 Annual Conferences, Semptember 22-25, 2002, Washington, DC
AbstractAmtrak's Northeast corridor (NEC), with 150 mph Acela passenger trains operating on tracks shared with much slower and heavier freight trains, places unique demands on the wheel/rail system. The traffic mix runs the gamut between slow moving heavy axle load trains operating at considerable under-balanced elevations and high speed trains running at up to 7 inches of cant deficiency over an alignment far more curved than any other high speed corridor around the world. This poses a particularly challenging maintenance environment in which to operate a high-speed service. Among its many efforts to facilitate higher speeds and more efficient services on passenger lines, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has initiated a landmark project to help Amtrak engineer the wheel/rail interaction on the NEC for improved safety, ride quality and lower maintenance costs. This paper reports on the improved curved-rail profiles that have been designed to maximize the effectiveness of limited rail grinding resources during the 2002 grinding cycle. It reports on an alternate wheel profile that will soon be tested for its ability to reduce flange wear on the high-speed Acela vehicles and for its impact on stability, wheel climb, wear and contact fatigue. Beyond the important safety implications of this program, Amtrak is working to apply the findings to improve system reliability and to maximize the cost effectiveness of wheel and rail maintenance. The paper discusses maintenance management in general and reports on a wheel/rail management system being developed jointly between Amtrak and the National Research Council of Canada. This system will perform an integrated engineering analysis of an increasing number of data streams (e.g. measured rail and wheel profiles, track alignment and geometry measurements, and vehicle performance data) to provide guidance on wheel and rail maintenance policies and practices.
Publication date
PublisherAmerican Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Centre for Surface Transportation Technology
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number23000260
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Record identifier49174c5c-4ed6-4304-a437-d67ec0366af4
Record created2016-06-29
Record modified2016-06-30
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