Latest wheel-rail interface guide available now

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The LRSSB has further expanded its online reference library to include an updated version of its guidance for Managing the Wheel-Rail Interface for light rail systems.

After receiving peer group comments from across the sector, it can be downloaded here ( and LRSSB Engineering Manager Craig O’Brien said the revised and revived guidance would help enhance safety across the sector.

Originally commissioned and published in 2008 by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the guidance is based on ‘line-of-sight’ operations only and offers advice based on best practice, rather than setting any mandatory industry standard.

“We don’t intend all of the guidance to be applied retrospectively to existing  tramways, but owners and operators should consider implementing it – and/or any subsequent revision – to ensure continual improvement, so far as is reasonably practicable,” said Craig.

This guidance is split into sections reflecting the life cycle of Light Rail schemes from initial specification to eventual operation. Topics include wheel-rail interface specification, the setting of standards, inspection and monitoring, maintenance, operational management, and a checklist for any system changes made which could affect the wheel-rail interface.

Recommendations include best practice for the reduction of derailment risk over the whole life of the Light Rail system.

The original 2008 guidance resulted from a collaboration between the ORR and the Rail Technology Unit (RTU) at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Since then, the unit has been re-established as The Institute of Rail Research and part of the School of Computing and Engineering at The University of Huddersfield and is seen as a world-leading centre in the field of railway engineering and safety.

Craig added: “Much of the original guidance was still very relevant today. Now with the recent revisions – followed by the completion of the industry peer review for the final version – we feel that this publication can only raise awareness and enhance safety among our member organisations, especially with the introduction of new wheel and rail profiles on UK networks.”

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