Track and Train Studies

Improve Performance and Reliability with our Track and Train Studies

TÜV Rheinland train performance studies provide valuable insights into railway efficiency and performance. Having worked with some of the biggest train and rail companies in the world, the TÜV Rheinland team has unrivaled experience in evaluating and assessing train handling, fuel consumption, train make-up instructions, wheel profiling, signal spacing and more. Track inspections and rail grinding are other aspects of TÜV Rheinland's train performance studies, making sure your track and trains are running safely, smoothly, and efficiently.

Benefits at a Glance

With Train and Track Studies from TÜV Rheinland, You can

  • Increase the safety and quality of your company's railroad safety system
  • Benefit from our years of experience and expertise in measuring, calculating, programming and analyzing various types of train information
  • Make use of the extensive range of services available from one source
  • Benefit from our associations with a global network of railway technology experts, government agencies and manufacturers

Our Services for Track and Train Studies

Rail Grinding Consultation

Rail Grinding is a beneficial practice that allows the railroad to control the integrity of the rail surface by periodically re-contouring the rail surface with a rail grinder. Increasing wheel loads in the rail industry have a tendency to subject rail to excessive fatigue which can result in the deterioration and shelling of the running surfaces. Shelling on the rail gage corner can lead to fractures in the rail head and increase the potential for catastrophic failure of the rail under load.

Due to the potential impact of the re-contoured rail head, any grinding program should be closely monitored and controlled. Excessive, inadequate and/or imprecise grinding can lead to a sub-optimal wheel/rail interface and accelerated wear rates.

Track Inspections

TÜV Rheinland has a team of inspectors available to inspect yard tracks, terminals, sidings and main lines. Our inspectors can:

  • Review track conditions
  • Make and prioritize recommendations for repairs
  • Develop long-term maintenance schedules
  • TÜV Rheinland's Track Inspections can be used to classify track according to FRA standards. Rail Sciences can also make recommendations for upgrading track class.

During the course of a track inspection, TÜV Rheinland's inspectors review the condition of the Rail, Switches, Frogs, Crossings, Ties, Ballast, Drainage, Surfacing Gage, Crosslevel, Fasteners, and Joint Work

Fuel Consumption Studies

Fuel is a large expense for the railroad industry. TÜV Rheinland can help reduce fuel costs by helping railroads identify factors, through the application of scientific analysis, that affect their fuel consumption costs and help railroads make informed decisions. Factors that influence fuel consumption can be categorized into three groups: Equipment Type, Operating Procedures and Track and Terrain.

Signal Spacing Studies

  • Evolution of Signal Spacing
  • Traditional Signal Spacing Calculations
  • TÜV Rheinland's approach to Signal Spacing Calculations

Wheel/Rail Profiling

An optimized wheel/rail interface provides numerous benefits to railroads and car owners

  • TÜV Rheinland has been active in helping railroads optimize both the shape of the rail and the shape of the wheel for various railroad applications. TÜV Rheinland uses the most modern technology available, the Beena Vision LazerView profiling system, to measure and quantify the shape of the wheel. TÜV Rheinland collects and analyzes wheel/rail profile data under various operating scenarios. TÜV Rheinland uses this information to provide clients with the optimum shape of the wheel and/or the rail for different operating situations.

Train Handling Studies

TÜV Rheinland has extensive experience using computer simulations to analyze train handling for numerous railroads. Our train handling analyses help the operating departments of railroads to:

  • Minimize in-train forces
  • Maximize train speeds consistent with safety
  • Evaluate both dynamic and air brake operations
  • Develop tables recommending the minimum number of dynamic brake axles

Train Make-Up Studies

Train make-up rules dictate the tonnage distribution in trains. The tonnage distribution, in turn, directly affects the in-train forces that are developed as the train moves over the road. Excessive in-train forces can lead to unsafe operations and derailments. Proper train make-up is critical for efficient railroad operation and safety. TÜV Rheinland has performed computer simulated train make-up analyses for nearly all the major rail carriers in North America. These studies usually involve hundreds of simulations using several train consists, various train handling techniques and various draft gear systems. Many of the studies involved specific territories using actual track grades and curvature. TÜV Rheinland has also performed several intermodal train make-up studies evaluating the instructions for two connecting interchange carriers for consistency.

Our Track and Train Studies Projects

Train Make-Up Studies

  • Performed capacity planning for TFM in Mexico during initial start-up phase.
  • Performed Locomotive Fleet Analysis for TFM, and Alaska Railroad
  • Performed capacity assessment for major region of a western railroad in conjunction with the UP merger study
  • Performed capacity/scheduling study in conjunction with NS - CSX acquisition of Conrail. Performed capacity assessment for FSA Railroad in Brazil investigating use of Locotrol for improving capacity
  • Performed assessment of Locotrol Operation on the capacity of large iron ore railroad in South America
  • Developed Meet-Pass Planning optimization software as subcontractor to major control system supplier
  • Developed train make-up restrictions for several Class I railroads including simulation of different types of intermodal equipment designs
  • Performed Train Make-Up study for optimal placement of autorack cars, mixed train of roadrailer and conventional intermodal equipment, optimum placement of spent nuclear fuel cask cars within train, HAZMAT train in chemical corridor
  • Integrated and rationalized train make-up instructions for run-through trains between Canadian and U.S. railroad

Train Handling Studies

  • Performed an assessment of line change due to highway relocation on the dynamic performance of different trains
  • Slack action analysis of different intermodal car coupling systems and combinations performed for car builder
  • Optimum train handling strategies for Locotrol (Distributed Power) operations on bulk commodity and intermodal trains for western railroad
  • Computer simulation study of slackless drawbar system for multi-platform intermodal cars
  • Assessment of in-train forces due to braking for new EOT design.
  • Performed curve elevation assessment for major corridor of western railroad and heavy-haul railroad.

Signal Spacing Studies

  • Complete signal spacing analysis for over 6000 route miles of a major western railroad
  • Signal spacing study in heavy tonnage coal corridor of a western railroad, doublestack traffic in high-speed intermodal corridor, Heavy Axle Load (HAL) train, commuter rail line in a major Midwestern city
  • Developed braking parameters for heavy unit train, ATC type, control system
  • Assessment of High Speed AMTRAK passenger train stopping distances on western corridors
  • Signal spacing analysis on 2000-mile intermodal corridor for western railroad
  • Performed feasibility study for automated interlocking on industrial railroad in Jamaica
  • Developed braking algorithm for proprietary Positive Train Separation (PTS) product

Fuel Consumption Studies

  • Developed alternate train handling strategies for improved fuel consumption over a district of a Class I railroad
  • Locomotive performance assessment for different U.S. and foreign operations including fuel consumption, tonnage ratings, adhesion limits and running times

Rail Grinding Projects

  • Optimum rail grinding profiles for Canadian railroad. Included the measurement of over 100 worn wheel profiles and computer simulation of lateral curve performance for different proposed rail profiles. Also, calculated contact stresses for different combinations of wheel-rail profiles
  • Assessment of economic impact of increasing axle loads from 263K to 286K for large mining railroad. Project included simulation of rail/wheel wear factors