Technical Reports

Top-of-Rail Lubrication Energy Test

  • 01
  • Feb
  • 1998
AUTHOR: Richard P. Reiff, Scott Gage, Sudhir Kumar
SUBJECT: Track/Train Interactions
KEYWORDS: Rail, Lubrication, Energy, Lateral Forces, Creep, Friction, Power, Railroads
ABSTRACT: This report presents the test results of SENTRAEN 2000™, a new top-of-rail lubrication system developed by Tanergy Corporation. The system was evaluated the week of June 2, 1997, at the Federal Railroad Administration's Transportation Technology Center (TTC) near Pueblo, Colorado. The concept of top-of-rail lubrication has demonstrated that it significantly reduces both the energy needed for trains, as well as the lateral wheel/rail loads on curved track. However, it was not possible to determine the exact amount of energy saved as the lubricant application rate left a residue on the rail which eventually led to locomotive wheel slip in the following trains. Electrical energy savings with this system, not including energy generated in dynamic braking, ranged from 23 percent to 30 percent. The average of maximum lateral forces developed in a 7.5-degree curve showed a reduction of 68 percent on the high rail, and 48 percent on the low rail, compared to dry conditions. For the 7.5-degree curve, this lubrication increased the maximum angle of attack from 9 milliradians to 19 milliradians. In dry-rail conditions, lateral forces increase with the angle of attack. However, the increased angle of attack with top-of-rail lubrication did not result in increased lateral forces. It is recommended that evaluations be repeated after modification to the lubrication application rate have been made. This would allow continuous operation without the buildup of residue behind the train.