Technical Reports

Wheel Load Cycle Tag for Rail

  • 01
  • Dec
  • 2015
AUTHOR: L. Howarth, E. Leiss, J. Madera
SUBJECT: Facilities & Test Equipment, Passenger Rail
ABSTRACT: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has determined that there is a research need to collect and analyze statistical usage data to help ascertain the cumulative load-induced fatigue on rail track segments. The estimation of rail segment burdening through the determination of loaded or unloaded wheel passages is aided by obtaining totalized statistical counts that can serve as an early indication of potential track failures. This research focused on designing and extensively testing a small, self-powered track assessment gauge (TAG) device that was installed directly to the web of the track rail. This device was designed to tabulate train wheel passages and associate an “empty” or “loaded” status with passage of rolling trains. The measured statistical data was stored internally to the device and was field accessible for recovery via a non-contact hand-held unit. Additional testing is needed to confirm the actual power consumption during operation and sleep modes, and verify the operation and accuracy of the TAG unit in varied track/roadbed conditions.