Recent research by the University of Huddersfield has led to the development of a methodology to estimate the level of adhesion at each wheelset more accurately. This will provide a better understanding of the available adhesion and how it changes due to the cleaning (conditioning) after each wheel passage and sanding effects.

The research was undertaken as part of the strategic partnership between RSSB and the University of Huddersfield, and utilised a mathematical model based on the wheelset speed and brake cylinder pressure.

The method developed through this project is a starting point for estimating adhesion in real time, while the train is in operation. If successful, it could allow in-cab display showing the railhead condition to drivers, or enhanced information flow to the centralised control room. It could also lead to applications such as adaptive wheel slide protection (WSP) that tracks the optimal adhesion level.

The research drew upon the data collected through RSSB project T1107 ‘Trials of sander configurations and sand laying rates’. The work is part of RSSB’s suite of projects to find ways to improve safety and performance in low-adhesion conditions.

The University of Huddersfield and RSSB are actively seeking partners to fit sensors and remote data logging to a train to provide in-service measurements of low adhesion on the GB rail network. If you are interested in this opportunity, please do get in touch.