Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Keeping Europe's train axles in tip-top shape

Scientists are improving the safety of Europe's passenger train system with a focus on axles. State-of-the-art analytical and experimental methods should lead to innovative and cost-effective designs.
Keeping Europe's train axles in tip-top shape
A large European consortium of 23 partners initiated the EU-funded project 'Minimizing the risk of fatigue failure of railway axles' (Euraxles) to develop innovative, cost-effective and safer designs of railway wheelsets (the wheel-axle assembly of railroad cars). The approach encompasses development of risk analysis methods, enhanced corrosion protection, better non-destructive testing (NDT) methodologies and RAMS/LCC analyses. The latter refers to Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety Analysis together with Life-Cycle Cost Analysis.

The consortium first created a database of in-service axle loads. They used a survey as well as experiments to determine the distribution of loads on passenger coaches. They also selected state-of-the-art finite element method (FEM) simulation models, defined input geometries of axles and benches, and conducted analyses.

Extensive work was done to establish a standard test procedure for characterisation of new materials or surface treatments to ensure uniformity of data and the ability to draw statistically relevant conclusions. Materials include painting, coating and protection systems. Limitations, necessary improvements, national requirements and in-service conditions were all established via three questionnaires to operators and industrial partners. Testing will begin during the next project phase. In parallel, work on optimising coatings was begun and a RAMS/LCC tool was defined to compare innovative solutions.

Euraxles expects to have significant impact on the safety of the EU's passenger rail system. Lower costs and longer service lifetimes of wheelbed components will also further enhance the EU's competitive position in this field.

Related information

Record Number: 90575 / Last updated on: 2013-03-01
Domain: Industrial Technologies