The attempt to develop a railway vehicle that can operate in the 150 to 300-mph(240 to 480-km/h) speed regime is seriously hampered by the problems of ride comfort, curve negotiation, and “hunting.” This latter phenomena involves sustained lateral oscillations that occur above certain critical forward velocities and cause large dynamic loads between the wheels and track as well as contributing to passenger discomfort. This paper presents results of an initial effort to solve these problems by utilizing optimization procedures to design a high speed railway vehicle. This study indicates that the problem is more easily treated as a constrained optimization problem than as an unconstrained problem with several terms in the objective function. In the constrained optimization problem, the critical “hunting” speed was maximized subject to constraints on 1) the acceleration of the car body, 2) the suspension stroke length, and 3) the maximum suspension stroke while negotiating a curve. A simple, three degree-of-freedom model of the rail vehicle was used for this study. Solutions of this constrained problem show that beyond a minimum yaw stiffness between truck and car body the operating speed remains nearly constant. Thus, above this value, the designer may trade off yaw stiffness, wheel tread conicity and stability margin.

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