Document Type

Steel and timber structures paper

Publication details

Jiao, H & Wood, D 2014, 'Failure of a low rail in a curved railway track subject to long term rail-wheel interactive wear', in ST Smith (ed.), 23rd Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM23), vol. I, Byron Bay, NSW, 9-12 December, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, pp. 595-600. ISBN: 9780994152008.

Peer Reviewed



This paper investigated the failure of a rail that had been in service for approximately 25 years in Tasmania, Australia. A segment of the rail was taken from the site on a curved railway track. From its service history, it was found that the maximum train speed over that period was around 35km/h. However, approximately one third of the movements were at a speed less than 20km/h due to the fact that the rail was located on the steepest section of the line. Visual examination on the rail sample revealed that the rail had experienced mixed traffic conditions during the service history. Mushrooming shaped plastic flow occurred in the railhead. The chemical composition of the rail was analysed using the optical emission spectroscopy method. Metallurgical observation on the rail sample and a hardness test were conducted, aiming to investigate the root cause of the failure. The aim of this study was to conduct the failure analysis of the rail and to provide knowledge regarding the selection of a sustainable type of rail for this application.