Technical Reports

Investigation of Cracks in Acela Coach Car Brake Discs: Test and Analysis Volume II - Appendices

  • 01
  • Nov
  • 2005
AUTHOR: Sherrock, Eric T.; Owings, Raymond; Clemenzi, Jacinda L.; and Kesler, Kevin
KEYWORDS: Brake disc, cracked spoke, Acela brake disc, center and outer brake discs, WABTEC/SAB-WABCO supplied brake disc, Knorr brake disc, out-of-plane
ABSTRACT: In April 2005, visual and laboratory tests identified cracks in the spokes of several brake discs on coach cars within Amtrakā€™s Acela trainsets, the high-speed trainsets operating on the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak halted operations of the Acela fleet until an assessment of the cracked spokes could be made. With the support of the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak launched an extensive test program that relied on a cooperative effort between several organizations, including the Northeast Corridor Maintenance Services Company, Bombardier, Alstom Transportation, the manufacturers of the brake system, and ENSCO, Inc. The test program involved a three-phase over-the-road test effort, finite element analyses, and a series of laboratory tests. The first and second phases focused on characterizing the mechanical and thermal load environment associated with WABTEC/SAB-WABCO supplied brake discs employed on the Acela equipment. In the third phase, the Knorr Brake Corporation provided a replacement disc, and an axle equipped with brake discs of this alternative design was also evaluated. This report documents the background of this issue, as well as the development and implementation of the study. The results of the test program, also detailed in this report, allowed for the identification of the Knorr brake disc as an acceptable alternative to the WABTEC/SAB-WABCO supplied disc, enabling Amtrak to return the Acela fleet to service.
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