Light Rail Transit Vehicles

Figure 2.5.2 Siemens power truck for a Combino 100% low-floor narrow gauge LRV

Figure 2.5.3 Bombardier Flexity Outlook power truck for 100% low-floor LRV


Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, Second Edition

Figure 2.5.4 Kinki Sharyo trailer truck for 70% low-floor LRV Non-Motorized (Trailer) Trucks Non-motorized trucks are typically located under the articulation joints of LRVs. On low-floor cars, the trailer trucks are located under the center section and don’t rotate relative to carbody. They will not have motors and gear units, but will usually have braking systems. Because of their reduced mass, plus the configuration of the LRV carbody with respect to the trucks, the nonpowered trucks frequently have lower axle loads than the powered trucks and hence apply less loading to the track. On high-floor cars, they will closely resemble the power trucks with the exception that they typically don’t have motors, but the axles rotate, thus promoting steering. On low-floor cars, the non-powered trucks will have appreciably different designs than the powered trucks on the same LRV. In almost all cases of low-floor center section vehicles, there will be no rotating axle and each of the four wheels will rotate independently of the others. Figure 2.5.4 illustrates a typical trailer truck used under 70% LRVs in several North American cities. It is equipped with the same resilient wheels, primary and secondary suspension, and track brakes as the power trucks on the same cars. Disk friction brakes are located outside the wheels. The wheels are of the independently rotating (IRWs) type and are installed at the end of the low profile crank axle. Figure 2.5.5 illustrates an axle assembly for a truck with independently rotating wheels. Note the configuration of the cranked axle, permitting the low-floor to pass between the wheels, and the position of the roller bearing races interior to the hub of each wheel.


Light Rail Transit Vehicles

Figure 2.5.5 Kinki Sharyo cranked axle for low-floor LRV trailer truck Load Leveling Both motorized trucks and trailer trucks typically include air bags as the secondary suspension. Leveling valves installed on the bolster sense changes in pressure between the air bags due to increases or decreases in the passenger loads and automatically inflate or deflate the air bags to restore the car floor level at the predetermined location in compliance with ADAAG. The adjustment necessary to compensate for the maximum of 1 inch [25 mm] loss of height due to wheel wear is accomplished by shimming under the primary suspension components, typically with rubber chevron springs. The accuracy of this type of adjustment is demonstrated during the vehicle acceptance tests. The orifice for the air access in the air bag is calibrated to provide the necessary damping precluding resonance. Additional rotary dampers are installed between the bolster and the truck frame. The carbuilder and the vehicle maintenance organization are largely responsible for ensuring compliance with ADAAG vertical tolerances for matching the elevation of the LRV door thresholds with the station platforms. This includes both the accuracy of car-leveling systems that compensate for variable passenger loading and the periodic insertion of shims in the truck assemblies so as to compensate for wheel tread wear. Vertical rail head wear is typically not accommodated by vehicle shimming as the amount of rail wear can vary significantly from station to station, particularly on a large and mature LRT network. Instead, the track maintainers will be charged with raising the track. Direct fixation track can be shimmed, and ballasted track can be raised. Embedded trackforms usually cannot be raised, and rail replacement might be necessary.


Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, Second Edition Inboard versus Outboard Bearing Trucks In its simplest form, a truck has two axles that are held parallel to each other by a truck frame. The points at which the frame is supported by the axles are called bearings. Typically, the bearings consist of a box enclosing roller bearing rings inside which the axles rotate. These bearing boxes can be located outboard of the wheels, on extensions of the axles that go beyond the outer face of the wheels, or the bearing boxes can be located inboard of the wheels. The majority of modern LRVs have trucks with inboard bearings, allowing easy access for replacement of the tires on resilient wheels without disassembling the bearings. The overall truck weight is also reduced since the axles are shorter. While outboard bearings are used on some standard gauge truck designs, they are more often found on trucks for tramways using narrow gauge track. A byproduct of the use of inboard bearings on a conventional solid axle truck is a reversal of the bending moments in the axles compared to an outboard bearings design. With outboard bearings, the moment loading on the axle between a bearing and the adjacent wheel creates tensile forces in the top of the axle and compressive forces in the bottom of the axle. Those forces are counteracted by the weight of the gearboxes, disk brakes, and other axle-mounted equipment so as to somewhat equalize stress in the axle. With inboard bearings, the moments are reversed as are the relative stresses in the axle. However, since the axle is rotating in both cases, these stresses are constantly cycling, setting the stage for possible metal fatigue. In either case, the axles must be designed to accept the stresses from the imposed loads and the cyclic reversal of loadings. However, since the axles are usually the heaviest single element within a conventional truck and since they are largely unsprung mass (with the exception of the minor cushioning provided by resilient wheels), carbuilders have made great efforts to reduce the mass of the axles to the minimum consistent with accepting the service loads within the appropriate factors of safety. Reducing the mass of the axles also reduces the amount of energy necessary to propel the LRV, which can have measurable life cycle cost ramifications. For this reason, many vehicle procurement specifications stipulate a maximum weight for the vehicle and include financial incentive/disincentive clauses for meeting or exceeding the goal. Where the track design gets into this issue is how the lateral loads from curving are applied to the track by the wheels. With inboard bearings, the lateral forces between the wheels and the outer rail of the curve result in a moment that tends to counteract the other applied moments and actually reduce stress in the axle. A possible problem arises when the track design incorporates restraining rails adjacent to the inside rail of the curve which, by design, share some portion of the lateral load with the outer rail. Any force between the restraining rail and the back of the wheels creates a moment in the wheel and axle assembly that increases the magnitude of the cyclic stresses in the axle. Because of this, many carbuilders and vehicle engineers stipulate that contact should never occur between the back side of a wheel and a restraining rail unless derailment is imminent, such as when the outer wheel has already begun to climb the outer rail. Exacerbating this situation is the fact that some resilient wheels are not designed to effectively transmit lateral forces applied against the back face of the tire. As discussed in Chapter 4, the use of restraining rail is a recommended practice with a long history of successful use in North America. However, most European track designers make comparatively little use of restraining rails (“check rails” as they are called overseas) and instead


Light Rail Transit Vehicles

rely on the contact between the outer rail and wheel to accept all curving forces. Therefore, European carbuilders and other international carbuilders schooled in European practice do not typically expect there will be any force acting against the back of the wheel from a restraining rail. BOStrab, the German Federal standard regulations for tramways, actually prohibits routine continuous contact between the back of the wheel and any part of the track structure. Because of this fundamental difference in design philosophy, if the track design on a project includes restraining rails, that fact must be identified to the vehicle engineers at an early date and clearly explained in the vehicle procurement documents. The carbuilder will likely resist the use of restraining rails since it could require him to use heavier axles, increasing the unsprung mass and overall vehicle weight and possibly triggering a contract disincentive clause. The track engineer must therefore be prepared to strongly defend the use of restraining rails. See Chapter 4, Article 4.3.5, for additional discussion of this issue. 2.5.6 Vehicle Dynamics—Propulsion and Braking Forces The following parameters establish the maximum forces along the direction of the rails. The amount of adhesion is the measure of the force generated between the rail and wheel before slipping. A typical 4.8 kilometer per hour per second (3 miles per hour per second) acceleration rate is equivalent to a 15% adhesion level, if all axles are motorized. For a typical LRV with four of six axles motorized, the adhesion rate is 22.5%, which may have some bearing on rail corrugation rate and wear. Increased wear and corrugation rate suggest using hardened rail in acceleration zones and on grades. Tolerances All acceleration and deceleration values also have tolerances that are due to many factors. The major factors for acceleration tolerance are traction motor tolerances, actual wheel diameter size, and generation and interpretation of master controller commands. This tolerance may range from ±5 to 7%. All actual deceleration values are dependent on friction coefficients as well as the above issues. The expected tolerance for friction and track brakes should be obtained from the supplier. Maximum Train Size Acceleration and deceleration forces are applied by all cars in a consist. Therefore, the total rail force per train will depend on the maximum train consist length. If more than one train can be on common rails at one time, this should also be considered. The tractive forces at the wheel/rail contact are independent of the number of cars for self-propelled cars under normal operation. More than one train in a track segment of interest is generally unlikely unless one train was inoperative and being towed or pushed by the other. In that circumstance, the inoperative train would be free-rolling (no power and no brakes) and would hence not apply any tractive effort to the rails. The pushing train might well be up at the limits of adhesion because of the drawbar forces, but that would be no different than the ordinary design criteria. Acceleration/deceleration rates would likely be less for trains with inoperative cars. Slip-slide control will also limit tractive contact forces in non-emergency situations.


Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, Second Edition Load Weight If the LRV has a load weight function, the acceleration and deceleration forces will be increased at car loadings above AW0 to some maximum loading value. These values should be defined to establish maximum longitudinal track force. Sanding Car sanders apply sand to the head of the rail in front of the wheel to obtain a higher adhesion coefficient. Sanding in specific locations has a fouling effect on track ballast that should be considered. Sand will also accumulate in flangeways and special trackwork in embedded track. If the wheel/rail interface is over-lubricated—a condition that makes use of sand more likely—the gummy mixture of sand and grease can become a significant housekeeping issue. Sanding may also have a detrimental effect on rail wear. Vehicle Procurement Documents The procurement documents for light rail vehicles will very often include appendices intended to illustrate the service conditions under which the LRVs must be able to operate. Quite often, this will include plan and profile drawings showing the right-of-way characteristics, including the location of stations, curves, grades, and civil speed limits. If the LRVs are being purchased for an existing route, those parameters will be known exactly. In the case of vehicles for a new LRT line, the preliminary track alignment drawings will often be used as the best available information. The transit agency’s manual of design criteria is often also included. In addition, the vehicle specification will stipulate the required vehicle performance characteristics and conditions under which the vehicle must operate, such as: • • • Maximum acceleration, typically 3 mphps [1.34 m/s2]. Normal service braking rate (typically the same as maximum acceleration). Minimum emergency deceleration, typically 4.5 mphps [2.01 m/s 2] considering a wheel/rail adhesion of 0.5. Higher levels of adhesion may raise the emergency deceleration rate to over 6 mphps [2.68 m/s2]. The most demanding service requirements, including routing between terminals, desired schedule speed, distances between station stops, dwell time at stops, passenger loadings, etc. Nominal line voltage and maximum line current.

The LRV manufacturer’s design team will then determine the equipment and systems necessary for the cars to achieve the specified performance over the route. Braking Forces Maximum braking forces during deceleration are determined for each track section based on grades and curves and are obtained with a combination of dynamic or regenerative braking (traction motor operating as generator), friction braking, and track brakes—all depending on the available adhesion. A contribution to the longitudinal forces and adhesion controlling is obtained with the load controlling system, sanding system, and slip-slide control system.