Impact wheels and their effects on track have been studied extensively and used to justify the wide-scale deployment of wheel impact measurement systems to improve management and prevention of impact related damage to the infrastructure. Impact data has also been found to correlate with car failures including brake beams and bearings. While it is true that a disproportionately high percentage of catastrophic bearing failures have been associated with high impact wheels, it is also true that there are thousands of high impact wheels that do not result in catastrophic bearing failures. This paper examines both the effect of high impact wheels on roller bearing temperatures throughout their service life as measured using wayside bearing temperature detectors and the idea that a ‘braking event’ may start the long process of wheel deterioration.

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