2023 Rail Transit Session


Development and Implementation of a Water-Based Friction Modifier Train-Borne Dispensing System for Transit

Jackie Butterfield

Jackie Butterfield
L. B. Foster Rail Technologies, Inc.

Top-of-rail Friction Management (TOR-FM) is already well established in the passenger transit sector. Typically, Friction Modifier materials are applied to the WRI via trackside equipment although now, much like flange lubrication, there is a growing push to transition this technology to the vehicle. This presentation seeks to provide an overview of recent advances in developing on-board dispensing equipment to help to address the design and operational challenges of the Transit sector, namely:

  • A slimline, low-profile, and lightweight dispensing nozzle
  • A splitting manifold to utilize a single pump (reducing space claim and system cost)
  • Reformulation of a water-based friction modifier material for use in dispensing nozzles and across a wide range of operating temperatures.

The presentation will also cover field trial work performed in Switzerland to assess the effectiveness of the hardware development and new formulation of consumable. Working with BLS (Bern- LÓ§tschberg-Simplon-Bahn) this analysis looked at both traction and braking performance on one of their Bombardier RABe 535 vehicles. Furthermore, the impact on steering and lateral forces at the WRI were measured using an instrumented wheelset, a methodology which offers increased accuracy vs. more orthodox static strain gauge sites.