The primary intent of this study is to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of using roller rigs for engineering issues of importance to the railroad industry. Roller rigs have been in existence for more than a century for studying railway vehicle behavior. In contrast to field testing, roller rigs offer a controlled laboratory environment that can provide a successful path for obtaining data on the mechanics and dynamics of railway systems for a variety of operating conditions. Their use, however, imposes discrepancies from the field environment due to the nature of the commonly-used roller design. This study describes different rig configurations, including scaled and full-scale rigs. It includes the potential advantages and limitations of various rigs for conducting a wide range of studies concerning the dynamic stability of railcars, wheel–rail adhesion, wear and fatigue mechanisms, braking systems, and locomotive power.

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