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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Wheel Failure Investigation Program: Phase I

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Rolling Stock
Wheel failure, vertical split rims, VSR, shattered rims, broken flange, thermal cracking in flange, plate cracking, thin rim overload, working group, committee, rolling stock

In February 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Office of Railroad Safety (RRS) and Office of Research, Development and Technology (RD&T) established a multi-phase research program to better understand vertical split rims and other wheel failure modes with a focus on failure causes, detection and prevention, as well as an overall life cycle understanding to help mitigate the risk and minimize wheel failure-related derailments.  A key element of this program is the involvement of a Stakeholders Working Group (SWG) comprised of railroads, vendors and other industry researchers as active participants.  This report highlights the initial findings of the research team, including the industry’s current understanding of critical wheel failure modes, as well as future efforts intended to eliminate them.

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Last updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021