Track condition analyser: identification of rail rolling surface defects, likely to generate fatigue damage in wheels, using instrumented wheelset measurements
Journal article, 2011

Vertical wheel-rail contact forces with high magnitudes are generated in vehicle operation on track sections with periodic (rail corrugation) or discrete (rail joints, crossings) surface defects and/or in operations with out-of-round wheels. This may result in severe wheel damage, such as subsurface rolling contact fatigue and deep shelling. Based on input data in the form of contact forces measured by an instrumented wheelset, including contributions with frequencies up to about 2 kHz, a track condition analyser (TCA) has been developed. The dominating and most frequently occurring types of rail rolling surface defects can be detected, their location along the line can be determined, and their detrimental effect on the fatigue life of wheels can be estimated. This means that the TCA can be used as a tool to assess the current track quality and determine the need for immediate and planned track maintenance. Using the instrumented wheelset on a Swedish passenger train, the 450km line Stockholm-Gothenburg can be measured in both directions during an 8 h test campaign.

wheel damage


rail rolling surface defect

instrumented wheelset


Per Gullers

Interfleet Technology AB

Paul Dreik

Dreik Ingenjörskonst AB

Jens Nielsen


Anders Ekberg


Lars Andersson

Interfleet Technology AB

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

0954-4097 (ISSN)

Vol. 225 1 1-13

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Applied Mechanics

Vehicle Engineering



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