The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link (GRRL) is a rail transit system in South Africa that links Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as Johannesburg and the O.R. Tambo International Airport. Travelling at speeds of up to 160 km/h, the Gautrain system is the first of its kind on the African continent. This dissertation covers an investigation into the relationship between the vertical and lateral forces, speed and superelevation in a GRRL curve. The research described in this dissertation is based on an experiment which involved running a test train through a curve at various speeds, changing the cant of the curve by tamping and repeating the train runs. The cant was changed due to high wheel wear rates. The curve already had a cant deficiency, and this cant deficiency was subsequently increased by reducing the curve’s cant. Assessing the before and after tamping test data validated the existence of the expected relationships between the vertical and lateral rail forces, the speed and the cant. The change in cant had a minimal effect on the magnitude of the vertical forces, although a transfer of loading between the high and low legs did occur. The theory indicates that the 14 % reduction in cant in this curve given all of the other curve characteristics should have resulted in an increase in the lateral forces. There was however a roughly 50 % reduction in the maximum lateral forces after the cant was reduced that can be explained from a train dynamics point of view. In addition, there was an increase in safety due to a reduced derailment ratio at this curve’s normal operating speed of 85 km/h. It is not unreasonable to presume that a 50 % reduction in the maximum lateral forces could lead to a halving of the wear rate of the rail and wheels in this curve with similar results to be expected in other curves on the rail network.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2017.