What’s the degree of curvature?

… or – How to convert a curve into an angle? In the track design handbook we have a too complex formula that refers to “degree of curvature”. Before discussing about the equivalent gradient, let’s see first what this is – what is the degree of curvature? This measure is used in United States in…

How do the rails buckle?

Disclaimer – this includes a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Take it with a pinch of salt. If a steel beam is exposed to an increased temperature, it will tend to expand. If there is nothing to oppose that expansion, then the beam increases in length by ΔL. If, however, the beam’s ends don’t allow this expansion then…

Which is better – S&C or plain line?

Thank you for visiting this page. I would really appreciate if you could spare a minute and answer the few questions below. I’ll publish the responses with a few comments as soon as enough answers are collected. If you don’t see the form below, please go to this link: Which is better – S&C or…

Is the surveyed cant the actual cant?

One of the instruments used to survey the track is the rail shoe – an L shaped device placed horizontally on the rail head, that touches laterally the running edge at 14mm below its horizontal arm – see figure 1. The horizontal placement of the shoe is checked using a spirit level. There might be…

Versine artefacts?

Motto: If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. (Easy for you to say…) Einstein Well, hello again, dear reader! Before moving on from the TGSD Calculator allow me to explain what it measures, without any reference to waves and filters, without frustration or passive-aggressiveness (is that an actual word?) ,…

Stress transition zones within CWR

The location of the stress transition zone is not only limited to the extremities of a continuous welded rail (CWR) track, the case presented in a previous article – CWR stress transition zone.  A stress transition zone may also be present between two fixed zones, inside the CWR. These internal stress transition zones are shorter…

Thermal forces and broken rails

Rail steel has a considerably higher carbon content (0.7-0.8%), and hence is more brittle than mild steel. A variety of stress concentrating defects in rails, combined with the alternating loads from the passage of traffic, can produce slowly propagating fatigue crack. When this crack attains a critical size it causes an almost instantaneous brittle fracture…

CWR stress transition zone

(prelude to a new PWI Journal article) A stress transition zone is any section of continuous welded rails (CWR) where the thermal force is variable, the longitudinal resistance (p) is active and rail movement occurs due to rail temperature variations. The most common (and well known) location of the stress transition zone is at the…

The rectangular coordinates of the Bloss transition

(Quickly but nostalgically written, remembering the good old days when Taylor was not yet known as the name of a beautiful singer but as the laborious math trick used to solve rather painful Mathematical Analysis problems …) The  deflection angle (θ) of the Bloss transition is: The rectangular equations (x and y) of the curve are…

A day in the life of a jointed track

ΔG = αLΔT°. Free expansion For a free thermal expansion jointed track the rails expand and contract freely and the track components do not provide any resistance to oppose this rail length variation. The joint gap varies linearly relative to the rail temperature. The figure below presents the joint gap variation for a jointed track formed…