Many of the engineering problems of particular importance to railways arise at interfaces and the safety-critical role of the wheel/rail interface is widely acknowledged. Better understanding of wheel/rail interfaces is therefore critical to improving the capacity, reliability and safety of the railway system.

Wheel-rail interface handbook is a one-stop reference for railway engineering practitioners and academic researchers. Part one provides the fundamentals of contact mechanics, wear, fatigue and lubrication as well as state-of-the-art research and emerging technologies related to the wheel/rail interface and its management. Part two offers an overview of industrial practice from several different regions of the world, thereby providing an invaluable international perspective with practitioners’ experience of managing the wheel/rail interface in a variety of environments and circumstances.

This comprehensive volume will enable practising railway engineers, in whatever discipline of railway engineering – infrastructure, vehicle design and safety, and so on – to enhance their understanding of wheel/rail issues, which have a major influence on the running of a reliable, efficient and safe railway.

Key Features

  • One-stop reference on the important topic of wheel rail-interfaces
  • Presents the fundamentals of contact mechanics, wear, fatigue and lubrication
  • Examines state-of-the-art research and emerging technologies related to wheel-rail interface and its management


Railway engineers

Table of Contents

Part 1 State-of-the-art research: Introduction to wheel-rail interface research; Basic tribology of the wheel-rail contact; Wheel-rail contact mechanics; Friction and wear simulation of the wheel-rail interface; Rail materials; Railway wheel wear; Fatigue of railway wheels; Out-of-round railway wheels; Rail surface fatigue and wear; The evolution and failure of pearlitic microstructure in rail steel: Observations and modelling; Rail corrugation; Rail welds; Squats on railway rails; Effect of contaminants on wear, fatigue and traction; Effect of damage on railway vehicle dynamics; Noise and vibration from the wheel-rail interface; Adhesion and friction modification; Wheel-rail isolation; Airborne particles from the wheel-rail contact; Maintenance of the wheel-rail interface; Models for infrastructure costs related to the wheel-rail interface. Part 2 Industrial context – managing the wheel-rail interface; Managing the wheel-rail interface: Railway infrastructure maintenance in a severe environment; The Swedish experience; Managing the wheel-rail interface: Europe Metro (London Underground) experience on the London Underground Victoria line; Managing the wheel-rail interface: The Canadian experience; Managing the wheel-rail interface: The US experience; Managing the wheel-rail interface: The Japanese experience; Managing the wheel-rail interface: The Australian experience; Managing the wheel-rail interface: The Dutch experience.


No. of pages:
© 2009
Woodhead Publishing
eBook ISBN:
Print ISBN:

About the editors

R. Lewis

Dr Roger Lewis is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield, where his main research interests include railway and automotive tribology, and design of tools to solve wear and failure problems in industry.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Lancaster, UK and Neurope Lab., Archamps, France

U Olofsson

Professor Ulf Olofsson is Head of the Department of Machine Design and research leader of the tribology group in the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. His main research interests include interfaces and especially simulation and prediction of friction and wear, mainly applied to problems in railways and mechanical engineering.

Affiliations and Expertise

Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden


State-of-the-art is an overused term, but in this case it is well used, Materials World
The authors of the reviews are all experts in their areas with established records of research. The reviews are authoritative and miss little., Materials World