Technical Reports

Assessment of Rail Seat Abrasion Patterns and Environment

  • 01
  • May
  • 2012
AUTHOR: Richard Reiff, Russell Walker, Patricia Schreiber, Nicholas Wilson, and Hugh Thompson
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-12/07
SUBJECT: Rail and Infrastructure Integrity
KEYWORDS: Rail; Seat; Abrasion; Environment; concrete ties
ABSTRACT: Rail seat abrasion (RSA) of concrete ties is manifested by the loss of material under the rail seat area and, in extreme cases, results in loss of rail clip holding power, reverse rail cant, and gauge widening. RSA was measured in several curves on two railroads. The measurements encompass a range of environmental conditions and track curvature. The RSA measurements, track geometry measurements, and wheel/rail forces predicted with NUCARSĀ® were compared to identify a correlation between wheel/rail forces and deep, wedge-shaped abrasion. RSA and wheel/rail forces were found to be related to curvature, but no clear examples were found where rail forces and RSA could be correlated to a local track geometry deviation. Comparisons were hampered by cases where RSA was measured in locations where previous repairs had been made and by other cases where very little RSA was present at the sites measured.

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