The research described in this paper 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 had been reduced, which 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.