Field Testing of High Degree Revenue Service Track for Buckling Safety Assessment

This report presents the results of a field study of high degree curves in continuous welded rail (CWR) territory. This program was conducted at two test sites: a 10 degree curve on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (ATSF) Railroad near Santa Fe, NM, and a 12 degree curve on the Norfolk Southern (NS) Railroad near Bluefield, WV. The work presented here is part of a major investigation carried out by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), on thermal buckling of CWR track, with the objective of developing guidelines and recommendations for buckling prevention. The field data collected included rail strain and temperature, rail radial movement, and tie lateral resistance in winter, spring, and summer conditions. Based on strain and temperature data, variations in rail neutral (zero force) temperatures are calculated. Seasonal neutral temperature shifts on the order of 20°F and diurnal shifts on the order of 5°F were typically recorded. The neutral temperature variations due to the rail radial movement (radial breathing) are evaluated. The lateral resistance test results indicated an increase in resistance as a function of traffic volume. Using the neutral temperature data and the track lateral resistance measured in the field tests as inputs, the track buckling potential has been evaluated using the Volpe Center's computer model. The predicted buckling response has been correlated with the observed buckling incidents on some of the track sections.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Foster-Miller, Incorporated

    350 Second Avenue
    Waltham, MA  United States  02254

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Research and Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Thomson, D
    • Samavedam, G
    • Muir, W
    • Kish, A
  • Publication Date: 1995-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 103p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01678130
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT/FRA/ORD-92/02, DOT-VNTSC-FRA-95-2
  • Contract Numbers: R5011/RR519
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 6 2018 12:29PM