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Citation Information : Transport Problems. Volume 10, Issue SE, Pages 15-27, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/tp-2015-058
License : (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Published Online: 21-April-2017
Steam locomotives are preserved on heritage railways and also occasionally used on mainline heritage trips, but since they are only partially balanced reciprocating piston engines, damage is made to the railway track by dynamic impact, also known as hammer blow. While causing a faster deterioration to the track on heritage railways, the steam locomotive may also cause deterioration to busy mainline tracks or tracks used by high speed trains. This raises the question whether heritage operations on mainline can be done safely and without influencing the operation of the railways. If the details of the dynamic interaction of the steam locomotive's components are examined with computerised calculations they show differences with the previous theories as the smaller components cannot be disregarded in some vibration modes. A particular narrow gauge steam locomotive Gr-319 was analyzed and it was found, that the locomotive exhibits large dynamic forces on the track, much larger than those given by design data, and the safety of the ride is impaired. Large unbalanced vibrations were found, affecting not only the fatigue resistance of the locomotive, but also influencing the crew and passengers in the train consist. Developed model and simulations were used to check several possible parameter variations of the locomotive, but the problems were found to be in the original design such that no serious improvements can be done in the space available for the running gear and therefore the running speed of the locomotive should be limited to reduce its impact upon the track. The developed theory and calculation model allows an assessment of locomotive's current design running behaviour, and can be used to evaluate possible improvements to steam locomotive dynamics.