The Wheel Defect Prevention Research Consortium (WDPRC) has conducted a review and analysis of existing literature and existing data related to brake shoe force (BSF) variation in freight car brake rigging. This work was conducted to explore the sources of BSF variation, define the expected amount of BSF variation, and describe some of the existing brake system designs that may help reduce the amount of BSF variation. Wheel temperature is related to BSF due to the use of the wheel tread as a brake drum. Variation in BSF within a given railcar is one potential source of elevated wheel temperatures and thermal mechanical shelling (TMS) damage to the wheels. At elevated temperatures, wheels become less resistant to fatigue damage due to changes in the material mechanical properties and relief of beneficial residual stresses. Data recorded by a wayside wheel temperature detector shows that eliminating wheel temperature differences within individual cars could reduce the number of wheels reaching temperatures of concern for TMS by a factor of eight.

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