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Effects on increased axle load for heavy freight trains

Published: 26 June 2015

The goal is to investigate and understand the consequences for increasing the axle load on LKAB:s ore trains from 30 to 32,5 tons.

Sponsors: LKAB

Researchers: Thomas Nordmark (PhD candidate), Jan Lundberg (PL)

Duration: 2014-2021

The mining company LKAB uses IORE electrical locomotives to haul their iron ore trains. During 2001 – 2005, the technical wheel life length was found to be 917,000 km. From around 2006, the wheel life started to decrease because of increased rolling contact fatigue (RCF), dropping to around 300,000 km. A serious of actions was undertaken to restore the wheel life up to present date. These actions include field tests with revised wheel profile, a new better wheel steel grade and a combination of new steel grade and revised profile, limitation of electro dynamic breaking, lower axle load and use of top of wheel thread lubrication. This case study will present and analyse the results from the different actions tested in the field on the Iron Ore Line. The most important finding is that a better steel grade will not give any benefit if not the wheel profile is optimized first. The present wheel life length has increased to 594,704 km for four of the locomotives with revised wheel profile and a better steel grade.