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Rolling stock as critical as track


In response to Richard Bennett's article on the recent Hatfield derailment (NCE 26 October), the merits of rail grinding are worthy of note and have been under debate for many years in the UK.

However, these cannot be compared with procedures in the US where regular grinding is used to reduce propagation rate of rail head corrugation on predominantly low speed freight heavy haul routes.

Gauge corner cracking is normally found on curved track alignments with high lateral wheel loading and often high speed and is only one of a number of defects which need to be maintained during the life cycles of track.

It must also be noted that cracks in the rail head are exacerbated by rolling stock defects such as wheel flats and badly maintained wheelset tyre profiles.

Lessons learned from Hatfield must therefore cover rolling stock as well as track to minimise all aspects of rail head crack propagation. The 'big education process' referred to by Dr Grassie must cover not only 'the guys on the track' but also those responsible for track and rolling stock design and maintenance.

John Pearson (M), First Engineering, Manchester

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