Research on Braking Systems of Railway Vehicles

A special issue of Machines (ISSN 2075-1702). This special issue belongs to the section "Vehicle Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 August 2024 | Viewed by 1111

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Mechatronics, Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Kopernika 1, 85-074 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: technical mechanics; fracture mechanics; continuum damage mechanics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The most essential components of rolling stock are the braking systems that directly influence driving safety. Their main task is to control vehicular speed reduction until stoppage during the final braking phase with safe halting. In other words, the braking system is a set of mechanisms that enables a reduction in the driving speed and stops vehicles. Each brake system consists of two separate groups of associated together components, i.e., brake mechanisms and brake-actuating mechanisms (control mechanisms).

Brakes work by generating a force opposite to the direction of travel, which causes the vehicle to decelerate. This is possible through friction by pressing brake pads against the running surfaces of the wheels or dynamic braking using electrodynamic or hydrodynamic brakes.

Depending on the type of railway vehicle in question, there are various brake operation control systems and different brake types. However, each railway vehicle must be equipped with brakes to ensure the following functional properties: service brake function during operation for service and emergency braking and parking brake function when the train is stationary, providing braking force without onboard energy being available for an unlimited period.

Each brake control system of a given railway vehicle must have three control modes:

  • emergency braking: application of a specified braking force within a specified maximum reaction time to stop the train with a specified braking efficiency;
  • service braking: application of a regulated braking force to control the speed of the train, including stopping and temporary immobilization;
  • parking braking: use of a braking force to keep the train (or vehicle) permanently immobilized in a stationary position without transferring energy available onboard.

A structurally separate group consists of retarders (long-lasting brakes). Their construction is usually can be based on an engine structure or chassis. There are two design varieties of chassis retarders: hydrokinetic and electromagnetic retarders.

Both service and emergency braking can be controlled simultaneously, as well as parking and emergency braking. However, it is unacceptable to control the service and parking brakes together.

The development of braking systems for high-speed railways provides, among other things, brake control via electrical systems and digital technology alone, the replacement of classic distribution valves by local brake controllers, and the application of electric safety loops.

Authors who wish their research to be included in a Special Issue on "Research on Braking Systems of Railway Vehicles" on the topics indicated above are encouraged to participate.

Dr. Jacek Jackiewicz
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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  • railway braking system
  • emergency braking
  • service braking
  • parking braking
  • brake control system
  • long-lasting brake
  • braking system for high-speed railways

Published Papers (1 paper)

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18 pages, 8447 KiB  
Experimental Evaluation of Effect of Leaves on Railroad Tracks in Loss of Braking
by Nikhil Kumar, Ahmad Radmehr and Mehdi Ahmadian
Machines 2024, 12(5), 301; - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 765
This study aims to comprehensively assess the lubrication effect of leaves on wheel–rail contact dynamics using the Virginia Tech-Federal Railroad Administration (VT-FRA) Roller Rig, which closely simulates field conditions with precision and repeatability. Railway operators grapple with the seasonally recurring challenge of leaf [...] Read more.
This study aims to comprehensively assess the lubrication effect of leaves on wheel–rail contact dynamics using the Virginia Tech-Federal Railroad Administration (VT-FRA) Roller Rig, which closely simulates field conditions with precision and repeatability. Railway operators grapple with the seasonally recurring challenge of leaf contamination, which can cause partial loss of braking and lead to undesired events such as station overruns. Better understanding the adhesion-reducing impact of leaf contamination significantly improves railway engineering practices to counter their effects on train braking and traction. This experimental study evaluates the reduction in traction and braking forces (collectively called “adhesion”) as a function of leaf volume, using two leaf species that commonly grow along U.S. railroad tracks. The test methods rely on the chosen leaves’ transpiration characteristics while ensuring the result’s reproducibility. Leaves were symmetrically positioned on the wheel surface, centered around the mid-rib area within the wear band, and taped on the edges far from the wear band. The critical test parameters (i.e., wheel load, wheel velocity, and percentage creepage) are kept constant among the tests. At the same time, leaf volume is reduced from a maximum amount that covers the entire wheel surface (100% coverage) to no leaves (0%). The latter is used as the baseline. The percentage creepage is kept constant at an exaggerated amount of 2% to accelerate the test time. The results indicate a nonlinear relationship between leaf volume and the loss of braking. Even a small amount of leaf contamination causes a significant reduction in adhesion by as much as 50% compared with no contamination (i.e., baseline). Increasing leaf volume results in contact saturation, beyond which adhesion is not reduced. The minimum adhesion observed in this study is 20% of the maximum adhesion that occurs when no leaf contamination is present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Braking Systems of Railway Vehicles)
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