Field Validation of Inspection Gauges for Wheel Climb Safety at Switch Points

In Rail Safety IDEA S-23 project, four switch point inspection gauges were developed that each addressed a particular risk condition that might lead to wheel climb at the switch point: chipped point gauge, AAR 1B wheel contact gauge, severely worn wheel profile gauge, and gage-face wear angle gauge. The current project provides an implementation and field assessment of the IDEA S-23 activity, with the goal of providing railroads and transit systems with a set of practical and easily deployable measurement gauges for track inspectors to evaluate the condition of switch points. Field assessment of these gauges was performed in two steps: an initial assessment activity, after which modifications were made to the gauges to reflect the field experience, and a final assessment activity. In the initial assessment, 272 switches were inspected using the four gauges, with these measurements taken by five railroads/consultants. The results were analyzed by comparing the inspector evaluation of the switch point condition with the results of the measurement gauges (pass/fail). The results showed agreement ranging from under 50% to almost 85%, depending on the specific railroad. Based on these results, modifications were made to several gauges and a new set of field assessments performed by six railroads/consultants using the modified gauges. This second phase of field assessments reviewed 74 switches and the results showed an average agreement of 82%, with individual railroad agreements varying from under 50% to 95%. Feedback from the railroads and inspectors was very favorable. Based on the results of this program, the committee has recommended that these gauges be made available to the railroad industry and railroad standards organizations.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This Rail Safety-IDEA investigation was conducted by the University of Delaware.
  • Authors:
    • Zarembski, Allan M
  • Publication Date: 2016-11


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 36p
  • Serial:
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01643085
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Rail Safety IDEA Project 28
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 7 2017 10:44AM