Welcome back to Interface, the Journal of Wheel/Rail Interaction. This web-based journal is devoted to examining issues associated with wheel/rail interaction and ways in which technology is being used to resolve them on railroads and transit systems around the world. While we provide theoretical information, our primary focus is on practical application of the tools, technology, products and services that are used to manage wheel/rail, vehicle/track interaction.
Why limit the scope of the journal to wheel/rail interaction?
My experience, which includes working in the Operating Department of a Class 1 railroad, editing a technical railway magazine and management of railway supply companies, tells me that the most significant developments in railroading today are in the realm of wheel/rail interaction. There’s a lot riding on that contact band between the wheel and the rail. And there is a wealth of research and supplier-driven technology in place and on the horizon that is aimed at improving wheel/rail interaction.
The wealth of information and technology now available has placed the industry on the verge of making a philosophical—and practical—leap from reactive to predictive maintenance and planning. It’s going to take investment in technology to do it, but, as evidenced by several articles appearing in this journal, much of what’s needed is available. Onboard and wayside measuring systems that provide snapshots of dynamic wheel/rail interaction are in place on railroads and transit systems around the world.
Integrating the mass of data that these systems generate about individual wheels and rails, vehicles and track—and their dynamic responses to each other—represents the next frontier in the railway industry. Interface will be mapping the inroads and the progress the industry is making. We’ll also be doing our part to help steer it.
We will try to notify you as new articles are added each quarter, but we hope you’ll become a regular visitor to the Interface site. We’ve improved the search engine, grouping articles by topic, making it easier to search the Interface archives.