One of the important tools needed to assess the severity of various braking cycles and quantify the capacity of braked wheel treads to resist thermal spalling is a reliable and easy to use computational method for predicting the associated tread temperature rise. Such a simple analytical procedure is developed and satisfactorily correlated with available experimental results in this paper.

It is based on a transient one dimensional thermal solution for surface and near surface temperature histories and takes into account tread heat transfer losses to the rail as well as to the air stream. The procedure is implemented in a spread sheet computer program that accepts any train operation and air brake system input history and computes the resulting train speed and tread temperature histories.

Correlations and comparisons are made to published results as well as some previously unpublished test data obtained by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The method proposed is well suited to predict the results of stop braking and short time drag braking histories but its analytical assumptions are less satisfactory for long time drag braking simulations.

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