2022 Rail Transit Session


Noise control on heavy and light rail transit systems using Top-of-Rail Friction Modifiers, Gauge Face Lubrication, and Restraining Rail Lubrication

Davey Mitchell

Davey Mitchell
L.B. Foster

Top-of-Rail (TOR) Friction Modifier (FM) trackside application has been well-documented as an effective way to control noise emanating from the wheel-rail interface, as well as to reduce corrugation growth rates and lateral forces. Gauge Face (GF) Grease trackside application, on the other hand, has been well-documented to reduce wear at the gauge-face / wheel-flange interface, but has not been particularly successful at controlling noise, nor at reducing corrugation and lateral forces. Yet despite these findings, railroads continue to implement gauge-face trackside grease application with the expressed goal of controlling noise. So how effective is GF grease application at controlling wheel-rail noise? This presentation will look at recent work done to investigate and better understand this question. In particular, it will look at noise measurements taken in a relatively controlled and repeatable environment in a heavy rail subway operation where TOR FM and GF Grease were applied both individually and together to the running rails. It will also look at the relatively unstudied contribution to noise from restraining rail (RR), and the relative influence of running rail TOR FM application and RR Grease application on this noise. Finally, the presentation will touch on recent work where TOR FM was used to successfully control noise associated with corrugation on a light rail transit system, with benefits including both noise reduction and reduced grinding frequency.