This paper compares the lateral stability and steady-state curving performance of radial and conventional rail vehicle trucks. The radial truck has two unique features, it allows direct elastic coupling between the wheelsets and it allows greater total truck shear stiffness for a given bending stiffness. It is shown that the first property allows the radial truck to achieve up to a 40 percent higher critical speed than the conventional truck for equivalent truck total shear and bending stiffness since the direct coupling between the wheelsets allows decoupling of the truck mass from the hunting wheelset masses. The second feature, i.e., greater shear stiffness capability, allows the radial truck to have improved wear properties during the negotiation of tight curves. It is shown that the high shear stiffness property combined with a low bending stiffness reduces the lateral flange force and wheelset angle of attack during flange contact. It is concluded that for routes where the majority of curves are less than 4 deg (greater than 400 m radius) the truck optimized for off-flange performance should have intermediate values of shear stiffness, bending stiffness, and conicity. On the other hand, for routes where the majority of curves are greater than 4 deg, the truck optimized for on-flange performance should have a high shear stiffness and low values of bending stiffness and conicity.

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