Out-of-round tram wheels – current state and measurements


  • Tomasz STAŚKIEWICZ Poznan University of Technology, Faculty of Machines and Transport, Poznan, Poland Author
  • Bartosz FIRLIK Poznan University of Technology, Faculty of Machines and Transport, Poznan, Poland Author




rail vehicles, tram wheel, out-of-roundness, accelerated wear, polygonization


Railway or tram wheel is never perfectly round and its surface is not ideally smooth, even at the very moment after manufacturing. This induces dynamic interaction between wheel and rail while rolling, which may result in accelerated wear, fatigue cracking, corrugation formation (both on wheels and rails) and intensified vibroacoustic emission. This paper is an attempt of summarising the current scientific achievements concerning out-of-round (OOR) tram wheels. The gathered research may provide an introduction to the broader analysis of this issue in tram technology. However there is still very little scientific works dedicated directly to light rail vehicles such as trams. The measuring methodology of out-of-round tram wheels is also described in this article. Appropriate measurements were made on the wheels of selected vehicles operated by municipal tram company in Poznań. The obtained results allowed to learn the characteristic forms of out-of-round tram wheels, among which, several forms of polygonization (ovalization, triangularization, etc.) were observed. Therefore we confirmed the thesis, that the method of fixing tram wheel rims in the lathe has a significant effect on formation of the unevenness of its rolling surface, both when new (just after turning) and, after some mileage of use, when even small irregularities become amplified. We observed also that the amplitude values from 5th up to 10th harmonic orders were increased during the operation. The initial out-of-round shape of the wheel should be likely present on the worn wheel, but with increased amplitudes of irregularities. Wheel out-of-roundness should be identified and removed at the soonest possible state to prevent its development and generating issues in the future operation, that are for example: rolling stock and infrastructure damage, impaired comfort of passengers and city inhabitants. It makes out-of-round wheels a serious problem to cope with for the vehicle operators, which can lead even to a catastrophe.


BARKOW, B. AND MITTERMAYR, P., 2008. ‘Identifying Causes of Out-of-Round Wheels: Measuring Field Experience Against Simulations’, Interface Journal, October. Available at: http://interfacejournal.com/archives/398.

BUREAU OF APPLIED MECHANICS AND MATHEMATICS (no date). Available at: http://www.bamm.at (Accessed: 25 May 2017).

CHUDZIKIEWICZ, A., SOWIŃSKI, B. AND SZULCZYK, A., 2009. ‘Zagrożenie bezpieczeństwa ruchu pojazdów szynowych spowodowane stanem toru’, Problemy Eksploatacji, 4, pp. 177–192.

CZECHYRA, B., FIRLIK, B. AND NOWAKOWSKI, T., 2015. The Case of Using a Vehicle-Track Interaction Parameters and Impact Test To Monitor of the Tramway, in Crocker, M. et al. (eds) Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress on Sound and Vibration. Florence, pp. 12–16.

EN 15313 - Railway applications. In-service wheelset operation requirements. In-service and off-vehicle wheelset maintenance (no date).

HAN, L., JING, L. AND LIU, K., 2017. A dynamic simulation of the wheel–rail impact caused by a wheel flat using a 3-D rolling contact model, Journal of Modern Transportation. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 25(2), pp. 124–131. doi: 10.1007/s40534-017-0131-0.

IWNICKI, S., 2006. Handbook of Railway Vehicle Dynamics. Edited by S. Iwnicki. CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9780849333217.

JOHANSSON, A., 2006. ‘Out-of-round railway wheels-assessment of wheel tread irregularities in train traffic’, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 293(3–5), pp. 795–806. doi: 10.1016/j.jsv.2005.08.048.

JOHANSSON, A. AND ANDERSSON, C., 2005. ‘Out-of-round railway wheels—a study of wheel polygonalization through simulation of three-dimensional wheel–rail interaction and wear’, Vehicle System Dynamics, 43(8), pp. 539–559. doi: 10.1080/00423110500184649.

LEWIS, R. et al., 2010. ‘Mapping railway wheel material wear mechanisms and transitions’, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 224(3), pp. 125–137. doi: 10.1243/09544097JRRT328.

MARTINEZ-CASAS, J. et al., 2014. ‘A comprehensive model of the railway wheelset-track interaction in curves’, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 333(18), pp. 4152–4169. doi: 10.1016/j.jsv.2014.03.032.

MARTINEZ-CASAS, J. et al., 2015. ‘Dynamic model of the track-vehicle interaction on curves’, in Rosenberger, M. et al. (eds) Proceedings of the 24th Symposium of the International Association for Vehicle System Dynamics (IAVSD 2015). CRC Press, pp. 1085–1092.

NIELSEN, J., 2011. ‘Out-of-round railway wheels’, in LEWIS, R. AND OLOFSSON, U. (eds) Wheel-rail interface handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp. 245–279. doi: 10.1533/9781845696788.1.245.

NIELSEN, J. AND JOHANSSON, A. (2000) ‘Out-of-round railway wheels-a literature survey’, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 214(2), pp. 79–91. doi: 10.1243/0954409001531351.

PALLGEN, G., 1998. ‘Unrunde Raeder an Eisenbahnfahrzeugen’, Eisenbahningenieur, 49(1), pp. 56–60.

PN-K-92012 Tabor tramwajowy. Zestawy kołowe. Wymagania i badania (no date).

PN-K-92016 Tramwajowe zestawy kołowe, elastyczne. Obręcze obrobione. Wymagania i badania (no date).

THOMPSON, D., 2009. Railway noise and vibration. 1st edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier Ltd. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004.

THRON, T. AND HECHT, M., 2010. ‘The sonRAIL emission model for railway noise in Switzerland’, Acta Acustica united with Acustica, 96, pp. 873–883. doi: 10.3813/AAA.918346.

VAKULENKO, I. et al., 2016. ‘Influence of Hot-Reduction Parameters on the Steel Austenite Structure of a Railway Wheel’, Scientific Journal of Silesian University of Technology. Series Transport, 93, pp. 141–148. doi: 10.20858/sjsutst.2016.93.15






Original articles

How to Cite

STAŚKIEWICZ, T., & FIRLIK, B. (2018). Out-of-round tram wheels – current state and measurements. Archives of Transport, 45(1), 93-103. https://doi.org/10.5604/01.3001.0012.0946


Similar Articles

1-10 of 208

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.