Do steel bridges prevent rail corrugations?


  • Peter Meinke Ingenieurgesellschaft f¨ur Angewandte Technologie GmbH, Gauting Author
  • Johannes Stephanides O¨ BB O¨ sterreichische Bundesbahnen, Wien Author



rails, corrugations, slip


Rail corrugations (germ. "Schlupfwellen") are wear pattern, which emerge during the transits of railway vehicles at narrow railway curves (R?250 m) and they are a menace to railway operators, especially if their railroad network exists in mountains. Therefore 6BB started recently a research program "OBO" (Optimierter Bogenoberbau) for better understanding and avoidance of "Schlupfwellen", which is mainly experimentally oriented. As a representative test track was the extended famous narrow curve at the valley of Brixen close to Kitzbühl chosen, and two Measurement sites where there established, one embedded in the ballasted track bed and another one on a steel bridge, situated in this curve. Measuring the passing trains, a rearly astonishing fact was discovered: Whereas in the ballasted track all well known typical features occur (vibration, bending and torsion of the rail, ... ), which produce the wear created Schlupfwellen and the dedicated grumbling noise, the wheelsets run properly on the steel bridge track and pass "friendly" the associated curve segment! Dicussing the ascertained fact, it was realized that on many European steel bridges such phenomena happens! The paper ends assuming that a broad-band vibration of the rail heads upon the steel bridge reduces the friction coefficient in the wheel/rail contact area ("Flange oilers"). This can be the reason for the smooth travel at the bridge. This may also be the basis for a technical application to overcome the generation of Schlupfwellen?


Bergander B., Blenkle C., Meinke P., Stephanides J.: Ober die Stabilität enger Bogendurchfahrten von Eisenbahnradsätzen, Der Eisenbahningenieur, Heft 2 (2001).

Eickhoff B, Scott G.: Fahrzeug und Gleis als gemeinsames System, ETR 45, Heft 7/8 (1996).

Thomsen J.J.: Using fast vibrations to quench friction induced oscillations, Technical Universität of Denmark, Lingby/Kopenhagen.

Popov V.L.:Kontaktmechanik und Reibung. Springer Verlag (2009).






Original articles

How to Cite

Meinke, P., & Stephanides, J. (2010). Do steel bridges prevent rail corrugations?. Archives of Transport, 22(1), 109-118.


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