North American freight car axle performance is affected by load and number of cycles, fretting corrosion resistance, mitigation of surface damage and repair practices once damage has occurred. Manufacturers also affect axle performance through chemistry balance, melting practice, forging, and heat treatment and machining techniques. In this investigation, the authors describe several ways axle life has been improved by manufacturers and an assessment of each technique using appropriate analytical methods, including evaluation of mechanical properties and finite element analyses.

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